When reaching out to a new talent market, your existing recruitment marketing strategy may not cut it. New markets bring new competitors, new biases, and new questions to answer with your messaging. How can leaders in recruitment marketing and employer branding do it? That’s what Appian and its Recruitment Marketing Strategist, Chris Fitzner, are figuring out.
Appian, a US-based tech brand that offers an automation platform to businesses, recently acquired a small company in Seville, Spain. Rather than simply absorb the Seville team, Appian decided to grow its presence in Seville—“to capture that spirit there, and capture that culture,” as Fitzner puts it.
That meant Fitzner’s recruitment marketing team needed to learn everything it could about a new market and come up with a strategy for reaching them. The key, they learned, was leaning on data and adapting tried-and-true marketing principles to spread the word about Appian.
Fitzner’s team started with the facts: They researched tech professionals in the Seville area to build data-centered profiles of who they needed to reach. Using LinkedIn’s Talent Insights platform, Appian identified the market’s main hitters, broken out by title, industry, and experience.
The recruitment marketing team then took this talent market snapshot to senior leadership and key stakeholders, offering them a reality check against which Appian could evaluate its expansion dreams. In the acquisition, Appian absorbed about 20 Seville-based employees. Its goal was to grow that number to 80.
Appian’s approach to sketching out its growth challenges provides a useful framework for other teams hoping to enter new talent markets. First, using the list of major players they’d built when researching their new talent market, Fitzner’s team categorized their competitors: home-grown Seville companies, companies (like Appian) that had recently acquired Seville companies, and large consultancies that hire remote talent from Seville.
Then, to understand their biggest recruitment hurdles, Fitzner’s team returned to their data, specifically location data. Their website analytics revealed almost no visits from local talent, and Appian’s only Seville-based LinkedIn engagement was from the local employees they’d just acquired. They also uncovered a surprising nugget of information: Many Seville residents choose to work for companies based in the UK, given their relative proximity.
These data points told the story that most of Seville’s talent market wasn’t aware of Appian, and for an expansion to be a success, the company would need to distinguish itself from competitors with more established presences. From this story, Fitzner’s team identified two questions their recruitment marketing strategy would need to answer: “Who is Appian?” and “Why should I jump to this company I’ve never heard of, rather than one I’ve already seen around Seville?”
When entering a new talent market, posting a job listing to Glassdoor or Indeed isn’t enough. “You have to get into where they’re actively looking,” Fitzner advises, which means devoting more attention to local job boards.
“Who is Appian?” was still an obstacle for Appian’s recruiters on LinkedIn, so they began serving ads to targeted audiences in advance of reaching out via InMail, which earned them higher open rates. For Appian’s other social channels, the team spotlighted its new Seville-based employees with dynamic quote cards sharing what those employees enjoyed most about their new workplace. The team united these efforts under the “We Are Appian” campaign and encouraged employees to share campaign content to their own channels as much as possible.
Outside of social media and job boards, Appian is also sponsoring a local conference in Spain to get its name in front of even more prospective candidates and become a more involved community member. The recruitment marketing team also built a Seville-specific landing page to serve as a micro-career site for their new leads.
When building a recruitment marketing strategy, innovation is great, but Fitzner cautions against reinventing the wheel, especially for those coming from a recruiting background. “There are already a lot of existing resources out there,” he says. “Look at existing marketing principles. Learn email marketing. Learn content marketing. Learn the basics of SEO. Learn how to establish a good PR/media program.”
For those coming from a marketing background, Fitzner recommends starting with what you know but swapping out your company’s “product” or “service” with “culture” to get into the correct frame of mind. Then, he says, “Really listen to your recruiters”—the ones talking to candidates all day, every day. Shadow recruiters’ calls with candidates, and listen to how recruiters answer common questions.
“View it as an alliance with your recruitment team, and look to aiding them as much as possible.” By combining a recruiter’s sensitivity to candidate needs and employee experiences with proven marketing principles, “You’re going to have a lot of success.”
Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.