Why doesn’t marketing work?

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So where do you start a blog on innovative marketing ideas and best practices?

Well, to kick things off, let me tell you about a meeting our team at Haley Marketing (http://www.haleymarketing.com/AboutUs/team.html).

The point of the meeting was to initiate a process of seeking new and innovative ways to market. To get the ball rolling, our first step was to brainstorm the question: Why don’t more people respond to the staffing industry’s marketing?

Here’s what we came up with:

  • There’s too much clutter from firms selling to HR (not just staffing)
  • “Me too” design, copy and value propositions
  • The product is boring (sorry, but staffing doesn’t get people excited)
  • HR managers already have too much to read (and no time)
  • Almost every marketing piece uses the same style imagery
  • Staffing is not perceived as a core problem and/or HR managers don’t believe staffing firms can really solve staffing issues
  • Ego’s of HR managers (they think they already know everything about staffing)
  • Too corporate of an approach (i.e., b-o-r-i-n-g creative!)
  • No “wow” to the communications, nothing outrageous
  • Staffing firms are afraid to take risks in their marketing
  • There’s no compelling reason to respond, offers are weak if used at all
  • Recipient’s don’t see the communciations as being worth their time
  • Not enough fun, not intriguing
  • It’s all focused on business and rational appeals, not emotional connections
  • The materials don’t engage people mentally
  • The packaging of the marketing is dull
  • The materials are not personalized enough
  • The materials are not targeted enough
  • Many campaigns are targeting the wrong people
  • Most campaigns don’t address specific problems or offering a specific value
  • There’s no immediate need for staffing or a new staffing vendor; if the company uses staffing, they already have a preferred vendor (or two)
  • The materials don’t offer any “What’s in it for me” for the recipient
  • There’s no real product differentiation

While we didn’t uncover any “earth shattering” revelations, the simple truth is that the staffing industry faces a daunting marketing challenge. Staffing firms are almost universally using the same methods and similar messages to market a service this is generally undifferentiated to an audience that’s over-marketed and not overly interested in the message being delivered.

So is this a recipe for certain marketing failure?

No, but for marketing to work in this industry, we have to find ways to:

  • Differentiate the product
  • Differentiate the message
  • Differentiate the delivery (truly capture attention)
  • Target more effectively
  • Connect with HR managers (and hiring managers) more effectively
  • Give people real reasons to respond

Oh yea, and all this has to be done credibly…without excessive hype.

My question to you:
Why else doesn’t marketing work for staffing firms?

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