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What Can Staffing Firms Learn from NBC and the 2016 Rio Olympics?

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Ratings for the 2016 RIO Olympics were much lower than anticipated for NBC. So much so that NBC provided advertisers with free airtime to make good on promises to reach a certain number of viewers.

Here are some of the underwhelming statistics:

  • Primetime viewership dropped 17% compared to the summer games in London four years ago.
  • Viewership in the 18-to-49-year-old age group dropped a massive 25% compared to London.

Who does NBC blame for the flop?


Being a millennial myself, I can say with confidence that if Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt weren’t competing, I probably wouldn’t have even known about the Olympics. I’m probably not alone when I say that.

Is that my fault or NBC’s fault? Probably both, but that doesn’t mean that NBC did all they could to reach their most important audience for advertisers. A generation that lives on social media and Snapchat needs to be reached on social media and Snapchat. Plain and simple. NBC fell short this time around (with the exception of one super cool Snapchat filter), but I’m sure they’ll make some adjustments for next time.

There are certainly other factors at play for the decline of the Olympic games, but there is still an important lesson to learn here:

Know your audience. You need to know what they want, where they are, and the most efficient ways to reach them.

One business model that is alive and well is staffing and recruiting, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not evolving. We spend a lot of time at Haley Marketing trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing methodology. Our best ideas and strategies come from simply listening to the crowd. Listen to what people want, even if they don’t say it directly, and provide them with a solution.

Here is a short list of what millennials want when searching for jobs:

  • Be creative. Don’t use the same boring message that everyone else is using. Make your message different.
  • Emphasize what your staffing and recruiting firm can provide to a candidate. Millennials aren’t only interested in jobs, but we want to know what it would be like to work with you. What’s in it for us besides the salary.
  • Provide users with interesting and engaging content, and use social media as a hub to distribute that content. This builds brand loyalty and trust with potential clients and candidates.
  • Reach us on social media. That’s where we are. If your staffing firm isn’t active on social media, you’re half a decade behind schedule already. No time? No problem. Check out our blogging and social media services. We’ll write the content for you, build your targeted audience, and keep them actively engaged.
  • Shorten your application forms. Only ask for what you need to get a candidate’s basic information along with their resume. Long forms, while they may save you (the recruiter) time, it will come at the cost of applications. Candidate abandonment rates skyrocket on long forms.
  • Make sure your online reputation is in tip-top shape! One of the first things millennials will do when they’re unfamiliar with you is read online reviews. Don’t let one or two detractors ruin an opportunity for you to earn new business. Our reputation management service allows you to gain honest feedback and positive reviews in the most important places: Facebook, Yelp, Google, etc.

Failure to adapt can sink any ship. Whoever your primary audience is, find a way to reach them effectively, even if it means leaving your comfort zone.

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