Introduction – #1 Customer Personas
The following blog is the start of a series that aims to provide senior recruitment leaders with some simple tools and techniques to create a robust marketing process. There is something for everyone, so it doesn’t matter if you’re self employed or run a global agency!
Today I wanted to introduce customer personas. My aim is to touch on the benefits and limitations, along with looking at why they are important in Recruitment Marketing. Finally, the blog will close by providing you with a simple framework to understand your own target customer personas. My aim is to help senior leaders and marketing teams across the Recruitment industry to ensure that all marketing activities target the right contacts, leading to either candidate or client attraction.
I first learnt about the importance of customer personas in my previous role. I found myself having great conversations off the back of my marketing activity but often this was with the wrong contacts – meaning that time was being wasted building relationships that would not have a return on investment.
What are customer personas?
The easiest way to describe customer personas would be to visualise a series of fictional characters that share characteristics and behavioural traits with your ideal customer.
For example, at Bristow and Hardy we only work with customers in the Recruitment industry. We know that the key decision maker in these organisations is often at Director level. Ideally, they’d be headquarter (HQ) in the UK and sized between 1-1000 employees. This information is so important as it helps us to understand more about the behaviour of this person. For example, most people across the Recruitment industry spend a lot of time on LinkedIn so if we contact them or share content via that platform, they are likely to see it. Secondly, it helps you to understand what content they like e.g. do they like videos, blog’s, whitepapers etc? Again, this is really important as if we get our content wrong then it’s unlikely that we will get a response or any engagement from our target customer.
In short customer personas are critical as they ensure that any time spent marketing and developing business is time well spent. If not, you run the risk of doing what I did in my previous role and spending time having great conversations with the wrong contacts. Alternatively, you may get no engagement whatsoever, which is also likely to be down to getting personas wrong.
One thing to be aware of when building customer personas is to not restrict yourself to one. Ultimately, you can have as many personas as you like – I have around 3-4. For example, the content I share when trying to target a larger agency compared to a one-person band is very different.
How to build your own customer personas in a Recruitment Agency?
This is a client example but you can tweak it to make it relevant for candidates too.
· What role are they likely to have? (e.g. Managing Director, Head of HR etc)
· Where are they located? (e.g. Manchester only or UK wide)
· What size business are they likely to be? (one person bands, SMB’s, corproates)
· What social media platforms are they likely to use? (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc)
· What time of day are they likely to be on socials? (Morning, day time, evening)
· What content do they digest? (Blog’s, videos, webinars etc)
· What challenges do they face in their role?
· What are their goals?
· Personality type?
Personal Interests (optional but very helpful and may vary dependant on individual):
· Do they have any hobbies?
Once you have this information it is then important to adjust your marketing and business development strategy to reflect these personas.
For example, you may run an email marketing campaign with the objective of attracting candidates working in IT and based in London. From your persona research you know that these people often spend time on LinkedIn during their lunch hour. Therefore, you would use this information to ensure that you share all social content between the hours of 12-2pm. That’s just a quick example of how it could work in practise.
Almost all of us already have an idea of our target customer persona(s) but usually this only exists in our mind. However, it is really useful to get this down on paper and visualise – you’ll also find this will help your existing team and new hires too.
Please comment with any questions or feedback. This is the first in a series of blog’s that I’ll be putting together on SIMPLE recruitment marketing techniques that will help you to attract clients and candidates.
Business Development Manager