This article has been submitted by the Recruit Venture Group
It’s always up for debate but probably the best definition for marketing is this – ‘Marketing is the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably’.
That means it covers a vast range of activities including research, planning, product development, media selection, advertising, creative writing and design……it’s big.
But, no matter how sophisticated the process is there are some fundamentals that apply, and ones that you should adhere to when starting up a recruitment business.
Those essential principles centre on asking yourself the ‘5 W’s’.
Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Who? Who is your target audience? Who will you be selling to? As a recruitment business you’ll typically have two key audiences – recruiters and candidates. But are they industrial, logistics, or commercial? Are they permanent or temps?
And, ask yourself who are we? What’s the nature and personality of your business?
What? What is it we’re selling? Recruitment, obviously, but what precisely are you offering? A full service including interviewing and CV advice? A consultancy for large corporate clients? You need to be clear about what your offering is because it will not only help establish your business plan, it will have a direct impact on your advertising and promotion.
When? Seasonality has more impact on some businesses than others. Without Valentines Day and Mothers’ Day most florists would have a different set of problems. In recruitment it’s perhaps not so directly impactful but you need to think about the seasonality of your clients’ workforce demands. That of course is something you’ll know because you’ve answered the ‘Who?’ question. When are people most likely to need your services? When is it best to promote your business, ahead of those predicted peaks in demand? Timing is key.
Where? Geography is the first issue here. How far are you going to spread your target market? Where are the key centres of employment and recruitment in your region? Where do candidates live, and travel to for work?
Closely linked to this is the question of where you need to promote your business. It’s the media selection question. Do you need local radio, local press or e mailers? Which online media reach your target audiences?
Why? In many ways this is the big one. Why should people come to you rather than any other agency or consultancy? What makes you special?
This is about defining your USP – the Unique Selling Proposition.
To analyse this fully you need to, rigorously, examine your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest about them. Look at your competitors and measure yourself against them. What have you got that they don’t?
If you can accurately and candidly define your USP and then promote it, to the right audiences, in the right place, at the right time you’re implementing a marketing strategy.
And one final piece of advice. It will pay you to have the input and opinions of experts. Whilst the ‘5 W’s’ bring the marketing process into sharp, grounded, focus it’s still important to accept that there are people who know as much about marketing recruitment agencies as you do about running one.
Serious, strategic guidance at the outset will pay enormous dividends in the long run. And let’s face it – if you’re starting up you’re planning on being in it for the long run.