Over the past few months, I’ve been talking with startups about their businesses. When I ask them to define their target customer, the responses I get are things like “everyone who needs training” or “everyone who uses the Internet.” I hate to be the contrarian, but everyone is not your customer.
It reminded me of a project I did years ago where I was writing a customer service training program. We conducted some focus groups with employees, managers, and even customers. No one could agree on their targeted audience. They kept trying to define it as “everybody.”
I wonder if organizations feel that, if they identify a target audience, they’re implying that individuals outside of that target group won’t want anything from them. When, in fact, there will always be people outside of your core audience that will have an interest in your product or service. Those customers are perfectly okay with being outside of your target demographic. And businesses should be as well.
“If your target audience is everyone, you do not have a target audience.”
The reason I’m bringing this up is because it applies to the recruiting process as well. Not every job seeker is your targeted audience. That doesn’t make the job seeker bad or unqualified. It does mean that, when you’re putting together your recruitment marketing strategy, you have to consider your targeted audience and the best way to get their attention. Here are some examples:
Niche job boards. It’s perfectly acceptable to use more than one job board based upon the positions you’re recruiting. Some job boards specialize in catering to certain audiences. For example, there are hospitality job boards. And there are talent acquisition solutions like Findly, that focus on hourly talent.
Mobile recruiting. I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions the stats from Pew Research about the number of people who have mobile phones. The question for organizations is how many of their targeted candidates have mobile devices and are they capturing their interest. That means developing a way for job seekers to use mobile to search and apply for jobs.
Social recruiting. We’ve already established that social media isn’t a fad. But each social network is unique and attracts a unique audience. That’s what makes social media awesome. But it also means that we have to tailor our message to the platform we’re using. The demographics for each platform should be researched.
Talent networks. And we can’t forget passive job seekers. The ones who want to stay in touch with the organization and either 1) wait for an opening that interests them or 2) check the company out for a while to see if they want to apply. Recruitment messaging needs to keep those individuals engaged so that, at the right moment, they do take action and apply.
Everybody is not our ideal customer (or candidate.) Targeting messaging will help us though, to attract our ideal customers and candidates.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby while at the SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit1