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Measuring marketing’s effect

MARKETING plays a vital role in the tough, competitive world of human resource consulting and personnel recruitment, and many businesses are wondering if they’re getting enough bang for their marketing buck.

While most HR/ personnel companies agree that marketing is essential to their operation, it is also a function some wish they could do without.

Marketing can be time consuming, particularly if a company does not employ a dedicated marketing professional, and the results are often questioned and hard to measure.

General manager of Perth-based HR consulting and personnel company Beilby, Rick Dunn, argues that the cost of HR services are higher than they should be because of the increasing time and money spent on marketing services.

“Most consultants spend half their week marketing a service or product,” Mr Dunn said.

“If you could cut that back by 50 per cent it would reflect in the price of services.”

He said the time some companies spent marketing their services often did not reflect the quality of service being offered.

Specifically, Mr Dunn targets executive recruitment as an area where there is a trend towards less rigorous sourcing of candidates.

Contingent, or non-retained, recruiting – where a recruitment company is not paid for their services unless they source a recruit who is eventually hired – is one area where companies looking for staff can keep costs down.

“This often results in not the best available people being recruited for the job, only the people who have made their resumé available in the last few months,” Mr Dunn said.

But Chandler Mcleod national marketing manager Abigail North said marketing was critical at her company.

“For HR companies that don’t take it [marketing] seriously, I think, as the industry becomes more and more competitive, then they are the ones who will fail,” she said.

However, with just one other full-time marketing person and 54 offices around Australia, Ms North said it was a constant battle to get more marketing staff.

As a non-visible revenue raiser, marketing got a bad name, she said.

Marketing’s “legacy of criticism”, Ms North argues, arises from smaller companies spending money on marketing without correct measuring devices in place to gauge the return on investment.

Ms North said having the correct measures in place before launching a marketing campaign was the key to success.

She said marketing campaigns that generated their own income were a good ploy.

Gerard Daniels Australia general manger executive recruitment, Paul Duffy, said although they did not employ a dedicated marketing manager, it was a crucial aspect to their business.

“We are in the business of selling professional services – that is not something that sells itself,” he said.

The 17-year-old Perth-based executive recruitment company runs limited “above the line” marketing campaigns, but Mr Duffy said most of the company’s marketing was carried out by its sales staff.

“In the delivery of services you understand what is being delivered and what a client needs, as well as being able to sell them that product,” he said.

“Clients have a right to deal with the people who actually know what they are talking about.”

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