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The Media Placement Game: Big Results on a Small Budget

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When companies have a huge recruitment advertising budget to work with, they can often afford to take a “brute force” approach to their recruitment efforts, advertising in every available media placement option with little regard to strategy or creative approaches. This approach might even include buying a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl for an eye-popping $5 million. [1] However, most of us don’t live in a fantasy land of unlimited resources or limited accountability for how we spend our companies’ money. For most companies, recruitment resources are limited, and we have to make a small budget produce the recruitment results our businesses need to thrive and grow. We can’t afford to “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks;” we need a strategic, targeted and creative approach to media placement that maximizes the impact of limited recruitment budgets.

Media Placement Strategy:
The Importance of a Plan

One of the best ways to get the most out of your recruiting budget is to have a well-designed plan for where to place your recruitment advertising over the long term. This strategy should be proactive, rather than reactive, taking into account the amount and type of open positions you will likely have to fill over the course of the next few months or even the next year or two. By having a clear sense of your likely recruitment needs, you can plan ahead and take advantage of cost-saving elements such as media placement contracts based on frequency or volume.

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When you work with a recruitment marketing partner like Mary Pomerantz Advertising, we can help you identify the contracts and other special offers that might work best for you as part of an overall recruitment strategy. However, this requires you to work with us to develop an overall recruitment strategy, instead of just reacting in crisis mode whenever you have a specific open position. And, it usually means using a variety of media instead of just one standard option. In the words of veteran media professional Jim Surmanek, “Specializing in one medium, to the exclusion of others, breeds narrow thinking.” [2] If you give us a sense of your needs and potential budget, we can help you craft a proactive recruitment strategy that will work best for you, filled with an array of cost-effective media placement options from which to choose.

Media Placement Targeting: Pinpointing your Audience

The first step in any successful recruitment strategy is identifying your target audience. At Mary Pomerantz Advertising we work closely with our clients to pinpoint exactly who their ideal job candidates are before developing a plan to attract and persuade them to work for our clients’ organizations. Once we have clearly identified your target audience, we are then able to propose a mix of media placement options that will best reach the qualified individuals you need. This list of options often includes components from different types of media resources, such as:

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Print publications

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Internet job postings

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Social media advertising

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Outdoor advertising

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Broadcast options including radio & cable TV

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And more

With today’s diverse array of media placement options, you can often hyper-target your selected audience to an amazing degree. Certain print publications and Internet web sites cater to extremely specific audiences, based upon professions, geographic areas, ethnicity, gender and more. If your business is seeking to, for example, reach out to and recruit underrepresented populations in your field, you could select specific publications and websites that do just that. Social media advertising enables you to narrow the focus of your advertising based upon a checklist of options based on an individual’s social media profile or history.

Outdoor options can geo-target the areas around your company’s locations or even demographically target certain audiences based upon your choice of advertising type. For example, the train-riding audience differs significantly from the bus-riding audience in many metropolitan areas. Even broadcast options can be targeted based upon the demographics of the audiences that watch or listen to specific programs during the broadcast day and different channels on the dial. Once you have identified your target audience of job candidates, a recruitment advertising agency like MPA can compile a list of options that will work to reach them. The more specific your audience, the more we can help you narrow down your media placement focus, ensuring you spend your recruitment budget on the ideal audience for your message.

Media Placement Creativity:
Trying Something New

After you have developed a media placement strategy that targets the specific audience of job candidates you seek to recruit, the implementation of that strategy is usually successful, particularly when you work with an experienced recruitment advertising agency such as Mary Pomerantz Advertising. However, every once in a while even the best laid plans can go awry, especially when you are recruiting for hard-to-fill positions in a tight employment market. In these rare cases you may need to come up with creative solutions to media placement and message that are outside of the traditional approaches. Although you might not want to go as “out-there” as some of the approaches such as manhole cover advertising featured in this Ad Age article, creativity never hurts. In these unique situations having a recruitment advertising partner with expertise in precisely this situation can make all the difference. [3]

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In our decades of recruitment advertising experience, Mary Pomerantz Advertising has encountered this situation with a number of different clients and responded with creative solutions that generated the candidates our clients needed in spite of challenges in the labor market for their organizations. One specific example from our history may serve to illustrate the creative ways we have responded to especially difficult recruitment challenges on behalf of our clients. One of our longtime clients, a company we’ll call XYZ Corp experienced an applicant shortage that they needed to address. At the time an economic boom had increased the demand for the main position they were seeking to fill while the supply of candidates with the relevant qualifications and licensure was shrinking. We had worked with them to develop a media placement strategy that targeted their specific audience that was producing results, but just not producing them fast enough. We needed to get truly creative to overcome the structural supply and demand problem facing this company.

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After speaking with our client at some length on who exactly their most successful and dependable employees were, we were able to discern a pattern among their recent successful new hires: many of them were recent immigrants to the country. This enabled us to develop a new “out of the box” approach to enhance their existing recruitment strategy with recruitment advertising focused on all of the significant immigrant enclaves surrounding their individual locations.

To reach these job candidates, we compiled a list of specific ethnic publications (some of which were extremely small in circulation) and designed an advertising message for each one that would resonate specifically with that ethnic community. In some cases this involved translating ads into other languages for publications in the “mother tongue” of these groups. In other cases, we placed ads that featured current company employees who hailed from that community. While each of these individual publications yielded only a small amount of applicants due to their small circulation numbers, the overall approach was quite successful in helping XYZ Corp build a stable and dependable workforce under the most challenging of recruitment conditions.

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