The True Cost of Recruitment Marketing

The True Cost of Recruitment Marketing

Recruiters are buying into the value of marketing, but how much does it actually cost?

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How much does marketing cost?

Understanding how much budget to allocate to marketing can be confusing, with no official benchmarks or guidance

It is also confusing to understand what you should allocate to the marketing budget. While advertising, marketing agency support, creative design and website may be the obvious, you may wonder whether things like job boards and/or LinkedIn Recruiter/Sales Navigator licenses would fall to marketing or operations. By focusing on your metrics and KPIs like cost per acquisition by channel, you can quickly see what investment is yielding the highest return

Unfortunately for many recruitment agencies, there is a perception that marketing should be ‘free’, with many recruiters exclusively focusing on posting organic content to social media and expecting a return. Social media can be an effective customer acquisition channel, when purposeful content is supporting key marketing objective – whether brand awareness, reputation building or sales enablement – but for the most part, serves as brand awareness with minimal performance – and particularly performance metrics – associated

Developing a marketing programme therefore does come at a cost; whether that’s a dedicated internal marketing resource, agency spend, advertising or related costs. To see ROI from this expenditure, it’s important to have a target or goal, a strategy and plan to reach this and the knowledge and insight to not only execute but to analyse and interpret results.

As marketing should drive customer acquisition, you may find that resource that was previously allocated to sales headcount can be reattributed to marketing – with greater reach and potentially greater results

How much to budget for marketing

There is no official ‘rule’ to how much should be spent on marketing, however, across wider industries, there has been an unofficial benchmark that 5+10% of revenue should be allocated t

According to CMO Survey, marketing budgets for 2019-20 across industries were reportedly 8.6% of total revenues, while marketing budget as a percentage of firm budget rounds out at 11.3%

For most recruitment agencies, these figures seem unattainable and possibly daunting. The good news is that even for the largest agencies, most do not attribute such a large percentage to marketing

This is largely due to the fact that recruitment is still based on a heavily sales/business development focus, however, with the rise of technology and marketing automation tools, it should be considered whether some of the budget that is currently attributed to headcount costs could/should be diverted to marketing and digital customer acquisition channels

To determine what marketing spend is right for your business, you need to first consider what your business growth goals are for the future, then work your way backward to what acquisition goals and targets marketing needs to deliver to help achieve this growth

For example, if you are looking to grow your revenue by 20%, it is important to work your way backward to understand what metrics contribute to this. For example, how many placements does this mean? How many job orders will yield those placements? How many leads to yield those job orders? How many CVs/registrations to meet these targets? Depending on this figure and looking at your wider marketing strategy and programming, you can determine what budget needs to be allocated to achieve these goals.

What marketing strategies and tactics are yielding the best results?

According to a Global Benchmarks report, 53% of marketers consider email marketing as good or excellent at providing ROI

This is followed by 50% who rate social media, 46% who rate SEO, 43% who rate content marketing, social advertising 42% and PPC 34% as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’

Overall, at Thrive we espouse inbound marketing strategies partnered with automated email nurture sequences. As recruiters, we have some tremendous assets at our disposal – typically a fairly large database of candidate and clients and the ability to attract customers through job postings or client prospecting. The opportunity therefore is how we can continually engage and nurture contacts through the sales funnel through to point of sale.

How much does a recruitment marketing agency cost?

When selecting a recruitment marketing partner, it is important to be focused on what you want marketing to achieve – are you just looking for some brand awareness through social media posts or a more robust, performance-driven programme?

There is no right or wrong answer as it will be completely situational and dependent on your business and growth goals

At Thrive, we leverage our deep recruitment industry and marketing knowledge to develop a marketing programme that’s tailored to your business and needs

We don’t try to sell you things you don’t need and expect that most recruitment leaders will come with a strong vision of where they want to take the business but perhaps not the marketing nor technical knowledge and experience to be able to see how best to achieve it

Thrive works with you to understand your business goals, what (candidate/client/internal recruitment) acquisition goals will yield those results and develop a bespoke, multi-channel programme that yields results

Our pricing starts at £2000 per month and is deliverables-based – providing you a marketing strategy and statement of work that is completely bespoke to your business, budget and focus areas

For this, our clients get strategic marketing consultancy and delivery that, leverages years of experience, for less cost than employing a junior marketing resource internally

The result? Marketing strategy and delivery that actually yields more candidates, more clients and more internal hires, helping you grow your business

How much does social media marketing cost

For most recruiters, social media marketing is primarily focused on LinkedIn, with organic posts ranging from posts about open job adverts, blog posts, key business messages and related promotional messaging commanding the majority of the focus

Costs are most often managed in-house, with junior marketers overseeing posting and editorial calendars

It’s important to think about the purpose of the content and posts, ensuring that initiatives contribute towards larger business/marketing goals and customer acquisition targets; too often social media is focused on vanity metrics instead of marketing measures that drive ROI

Social media marketing goes beyond organic LinkedIn, however, with some very clever paid options, providing targeted promotions to key audiences. Moving towards a more performance-based programme that drives tangible leads should be a key goal of social media, however, this comes at a cost.

According to : CMO Survey, spending on social media was projected to increase to 13% of total marketing budgets, with this cost expected to rise to 21.5% in the next five years

How much does email marketing cost

The primary cost of email marketing is the technology platform, with many providers charging based on the number of records in the database

For example, while Mailchimp offers a free model, this is limited to 2,000 contacts which can be quite low for most recruitment businesses that tend to have large databases

If you’re looking for their Standard Plan with basic functionality, and you have 40,000 contacts, this cost quickly rises to $269 USD per month

For some of the more sophisticated marketing automation and prospecting software, costs can range from $31,800 USD a year for HubSpot (including the CRM which is typically not relevant for recruiters with more bespoke recruitment-specific needs) and £27,600 for Salesforce Pardot, with an additional fee for the CRM tool

In contrast, we work with a tool called Zymplify, which offers prospecting, demand, marketing and sales automation for £6881 USD per year, with discounts offered to Thrive customers

While email marketing can be managed by internal resources, it is important to ensure that the communications provide value, focusing on the client pain points and needs versus being self serving or overly sales driven

Email messages can take many forms including newsletters, key milestones including placements or check ins, promoting thought leadership like eBooks or reports, job alerts, hot candidate profiles or more promotional information like case studies and testimonials

It’s important that whatever communications you provide, that it has the customer at the heart and focus on their pain points versus self-serving messages

Creating nurture sequences that are automated and based on the customer journey and behaviour-driven customer actions will allow you target your communications and turn your marketing into an extension of your sales and business development function.

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