How to plan a good campaign
By Zoltan Ferenczy
Another busy autumn period has come to an end for graduate & early careers recruitment. You might be thinking – or even planning – next year’s campaign already, but it’s important to take a step back, to look at what’s worked best over the past few months so you can get an idea of your next steps. Here’s some of our handy hints & tips to help take your attraction strategy to the next level.
What we saw work best
Looking back at the past few months, there were a few changes in top-performing channels in the early careers attraction sector. Whilst there have been some great new entrants in the market, a lot of these have focused on apprentice & school-leaver audiences, which have traditionally been a lot harder to reach and engage with compared to their university and graduate counterparts.
The top performers for graduate recruitment continue to be the early careers-specific job boards due to their huge active audiences and strong reach into pretty much all industry sectors, with a handful of key players dominating the landscape and accounting for significant portions of applications.
Digital channels, such as search, social and programmatic, have also been consistently strong performers – and allow for quite sophisticated campaign structures. They also deliver a range of awareness, engagement and conversion-led messages throughout different stages of the campaign.
However, with competition becoming more and more fierce – and growing diversity challenges in recruitment for many big players – it’s important to consider other platforms as well and the role data plays in the marketing process to help meet your recruitment goals.
Hints & tips
In addition to the already tried-and-tested digital channels, do consider the wider media landscape. Don’t be afraid to invest in more traditional formats, such as audio and video broadcast, cinema and outdoor.
Whilst it’s arguably more difficult to track ROI from these channels, they do provide important touchpoints in the overall decision-making process. It means you can take advantage of formats to really amplify your brand message and reach audiences at scale.
With more and more people using ad blockers, developing “banner blindness” and getting their inboxes filled with emails on a daily basis, these channels can provide important platforms to help you cut through the noise and drive engagement. They will also offer great opportunities to showcase your all-singing, all-dancing creative.
Developing deeper partnerships with key media players will also allow you to go above-and-beyond using listings, banners and emails to get your message across – and can present more creative ways of engaging with your future talent. Events organised by media partners are a particularly good approach to take here but aren’t necessarily used by advertisers as much as they should be.
Last but not least, don’t forget integrated planning. You should consider every touchpoint within the overall decision-making process – from your on-campus teams, your CRM comms, to job board presence. Make sure that candidates get a consistent message and experience.
Most organisations also have great content at their disposal and do some pretty awe-inspiring stuff. Yet they aren’t necessarily the best when it comes to storytelling and actually making use of this content for attraction purposes. Anything that can help create more meaningful connections with your audience while also showcasing your business, will help make sure you attract the right kind of talent.
Agility, and data, are still key
With investments in digital channels, particularly managed digital platforms (search, social, programmatic), showing an upward trend, it’s important to retain agility in the campaign planning and management process rather than sticking to budgets allocated at the start of the cycle.
Make sure you keep an eye on performance throughout the campaign, tweak and experiment as you go along. If something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to shuffle things around!
As we know, data is king, and with increasing pressure on businesses and marketing teams to maximise ROI, we need to make sure that wastage is minimised and you’re only reaching the high-quality and relevant audiences.
Segmentation projects are a great way of achieving this and equipping you with a deeper, data-backed understanding of your audience – potentially even uncovering growth markets you didn’t know you had! Integrating this insight throughout the campaign, from digital to offline channels, should in turn help drive more quality traffic to your website and increase your conversion and progression rates.
So, in conclusion, before you start planning your next campaign, take a look at your previous work. Assess what worked, and what didn’t, and build off from there. Don’t be afraid to invest in more traditional formats, they will provide important touchpoints.