My CMO 2.0 Conversation with Ted Gilvar, who is the global CMO at Monster (and also a customer of ours), was a really interesting one as I have a fairly high level of familiarity with their business. It is also fascinating to see how some themes, even though they are sometimes called by different names, are recurring among CMO’s – even when they are operating in very different lines of business.
As is customary with CMO 2.0 Conversations, Ted started off by talking about his background and the business challenges he is facing. In his case he had a life-long career on the agency side before taking on the role of CMO at Monster 2 years ago.
Having come into existence by being a classic business model disruptor, we quickly started talking about where the next disruption might come from and how to leverage innovation to get prepared for it. Not surprisingly, the biggest shift on the horizon is the advent of social media and how this allows “the social” to become part of the talent acquisition and development process again.
When they think of innovation at Monster, they think about it both from a product point of view as well as from a marketing point of view, says Ted. The biggest recent innovation on the product side was to add semantic search to refine searches – and that innovation came to Monster through an acquisition. On the marketing side, one of the more recent innovations was getting people to trial the service – even though Ted did not really call it that. That happened when they organized the “Keep America Working” tour, which offered a a free career fair to any employer who had jobs. In marketing, Ted believes that success cannot be predicted based on what happened in the past – and so you need to be willing to innovate all the time, even when looking at traditional marketing programs.
After this we spent a fair amount of time talking about the impact of social media on the talent acquisition and development process – a process that is inherently social to start with. One of the cornerstones of their social media strategy, community-based talent acquisition and development, happened through the acquisition of Affinity Labs. They host affinity-based communities centered around professions – where members can network with like-minded professionals and get inspiration to help one another further their careers. With this community-based approach, they are transforming the relationship that they have with professionals from an episodic transactional-based relationship, where you interact with them only when you are looking for a job, to an ongoing peer-to-peer community-based relationship. With the most recent recession, and people being forced through painful job/career transitions, the reciprocity that powers those communities – people wanting to help others and be helped – has been very strong. Other benefits of this community-based approach include:
- The fact that people’s profiles will not just have static career/job information but will now also contain some social context – which is very powerful.
- The fact that besides search based-matching, the process of matching people to opportunities now has an added social filter.
Another important lesson that we can take from Monster is that while they have a destination site, they also realized that they need to supplement that by being other placdes job seekers are, and so they syndicate their content to other sites. A federated approach like that allows them to get a larger share of attention from job seekers – and especially from the coveted passive seekers.
Next we talked about the impact of Monster audiences becoming increasingly digital on market segmentation and marketing programs in general. Not surprisingly, most marketing budgets at Monster are focused on digital marketing – giving you a quick and accurate sense of what works and doesn’t. Moving forward, community based marketing is expected to play an increasing role in the marketing mix.
Ted also spoke about the importance of social media monitoring and engagement as part of their marketing strategy. Seeing the fusion of marketing and customer service in social media was one of the most interesting learnings from engaging in those conversations, he said. If done properly they see social media based customer service as an opportunity to diffuse an issue before it becomes one.
We also talked about the importance of content in all aspects of marketing. When peer-to-peer communication is becoming the most important form of communication, companies like Monster need to think differently about content – developing it so that it travels in the networks that matter.
Ted also pointed to the fact that marketers should spend more time monitoring the quality of the content that they put out, not just the strategic fit. People vote on the quality of your content with their time and attention, and that is why you need to produce content worthy of consumption. It will be interesting to see the increasing role of user generated content as they go further into community-based marketing.
Other things that we discussed include:
- How they connect their traditional marketing programs with social media
- The halo effect of social endorsements in the recruiting process
- The potential benefits of adding hyperlocal community activities to their affinity-based communities
- The challenges of segmentation when you have a mass appeal and limited budgets
- The think locally act globally strategy for international markets
- The changing profile of people who staff successful marketing departments
- The dynamics of the emerging Gen Y workforce
As usually you can listen to the podcast on the CMO 2.0 site and soon we will be publishing a transcript as well.