Q: I recently read that social media and SEO are the keys to marketing my staffing firm, what do you think?

A: I must forewarn you, this is a rant.

To put it mildly, I’ve had it with all the “marketing experts” who are running around preaching “the sky is falling” and touting their one-dimensional marketing solutions (and they are not just in staffing).

I’ve had it with experts who say, “If you’re not doing social media marketing, you’ll be outdated and out of business in months.”

I’ve had it with SEO (search engine optimization) gurus who pitch, “SEO is the great salvation, and if you’re not at the top of the Google rankings, you don’t stand a chance.”

And I’ve really had it with the new age marketers who use the mysterious cloud of Web 2.0 to convey the impression that if you’re not on the leading edge of communication, then you might as well fold up the tents.

These are the snake oil salesmen of the 21st century.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer in social media, SEO and many of the Web 2.0 tools, but I am 100% not a believer that any one tool will be your savior…especially for a staffing firm in today’s market.

Great marketing is about strategy.

  • It’s about having clear differentiation.
  • It’s about picking the right people and businesses to target.
  • It’s about offering the right solutions and value-based pricing.
  • It’s about crafting messages that appeal to the decision maker’s rational and emotional beliefs.
  • It’s about developing a communications strategy for getting your message seen, understood, and trusted by the people you want to influence.
  • It’s about making offers that will motivate people to take action.
  • And it’s about nurturing relationships and keeping your firm top-of-mind in a way that reinforces your positioning.

The bottom line? No single tactic alone is a strategy.

When it comes to your marketing, there are dozens of tools you can use. And at the right time, any of them can be effective. Sometimes cold calling works best. Other times PR. And at times social media and SEO. But no tool is a strategy.

If you are seriously interested in using marketing to grow your business, don’t listen to the snake oil salesmen. There is no miracle cure. Instead, think strategically. Start with your business model. Find ways you can outperform your competition and solve new problems for your clients. Figure out exactly who you want to target, the value you can deliver, and how to best get your message to the right decision makers and decision influencers. And then pick the marketing tools and tactics that will be most persuasive and cost-effective for delivering your message.

Thanks for letting me vent, and I hope you find these quick ideas on marketing strategy useful.

Best Regards,

David Searns
Haley Marketing Group

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0 thoughts on “Ask Haley: Staffing Marketing: Don’t be one dimensional

  1. I am interested in all things “staffing marketing”, as it related to “old” and “new” school approaches, be it SEO or cold calling. It’s tough enough in this market, but I do believe there will be opportunities created by some weaker firms bailing out.

  2. David, this was a great post. It’s about time someone called out these “experts” who offer single service items like they’re the be-all, end-all solutions to every individual company.

    It’s sad to see companies taken advantage of by buzzwords. All too often, less tech-savvy companies/individuals fall for a cookie-cutter approach to SEO. Why pay good money for the same thing they just gave your competitor?!?

  3. David,
    Thanks for the post over on my blog (http://blackbirdesolutions.com/elife/)! Unfortunately, the experience you had is not as uncommon as I would like, and yes it does give bad name to those of us in the industry that are using our knowledge to really help people.

    It’s interesting that you use the term “gurus”. This is something that often bothers me. I see so many people claiming to be “SEO gurus”. They write ebooks and sell systems, make videos, but if you really check their credentials most have never been part of a real SEO project. Well, they have supposedly “optmimized” their site and maybe can be found in the search engines…If you’re lucky. But ask them about real SEO projects for real companies…. yep, you guessed it nothing. The funniest part is when they try and sell to me. Clearly they didn’t do their research.

    You bring up a another good point about being one dimensional. There are a lot of enthusiasts and doubters on both sides of the fence, but you’re right the best strategy is a combination of “old” and “new” tools. Those that think SEO, Social Media, Twitter, etc.. are the end all to marketing are short sighted and those that think that new media has no merit, risk being left behind.

    It’s great to see a marketing company evolving and adding new technology and tools to their toolbox in order to better serve their clients.


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