The Marketing Rules in Writing: Glenn Southam

Why, how and what we measure in marketing has always been a point of contention. More than often marketing KPIs are set from high above and have little to no relation to the day to day efforts and success of a marketing department.
So, are KPI’s dead and should we bother measuring anything at all?
Join James Whitelock this week to discuss this is Glenn Southam. Glenn is a vocal proponent of the role of marketers and community managers for the influential Lonely Marketers group.

The Episode Transcript:

00:00.60
thinkincircles
Welcome back, everybody to the marketing rules podcast and today I’ve got everyone’s favourite marketer everyone’s favourite recruitment marketer glen self and with me um, Glenn it’s a pleasure to have you on the podcast I know I’ve been on on the yours. The lonely market here and I promised at that point that we definitely get you back on to hear because. Um I think ah you know there’s not many you have your kind of reputation within the recruitment marketing space. So it is good to have you on because I think you’re going to kind of add a lot and ah and as a lot of our um listeners are in that in that area are in kind of ah the marketing space and recruit marketing space I think it would be absolutely valuable to have you on. However, before we get on talking about a bit about kind of measuring marketing. It would be good to just kind of get a little bit about your background because I’ve known you for a few years now and I know a little bit kind of how you kind of come into the industry. But for anybody who’s not kind of familiar with your work as it were. Ah, can you kind of give us a little um, kind of update on on how you get to where you are stay. So.

00:58.20
Glenn
Yeah, of course. Um, thank you for the kind words reputation can go one way or the other. um um I’m glad you? Yeah I noticed you didn’t say good or or bad on there. But ah yeah, just as a you know as ah as a whistle stop if you like um like most people within this wonderful world of recruitment I I fell into it. I graduated back in a very long time ago now back in 2004 applied for every job under the sun. It’s a lot harder to apply for jobs back then as well than it is now. Um and and I ended up. Um you know, but applying to a marketing assistant role. A financial recruitment firm in London called Mark Satin um and I’ve joined their marketing assistant done. Absolutely everything from a marketing perspective even Print Advertising Back in the day um and and that’s where my journey journey started and you know I’ve been in the industry. Ever since? um, quite long stints in in businesses usually high-g growth businesses where a lot of change happens. So I never really had the chance to to get bored. Um, started up teams from 0 where I was number 1 grown those teams internationally as businesses have have grown. Um. And then the last business where I was kind of a proper employee if you if you like that got sold and then I made the decision to um to come out and do some some consultancy work and you know over that period of time probably works with. Thirty thirty five recruitment businesses on their marketing efforts as well as over the past couple of years supporting individual marketers in terms of you know, growing their careers if you like and you know my passion is always to get marketers. Ah. Better seat at the table or a seat at all sometimes and um and that’s where my where my focus has been and over the past couple of years like like you mentioned as well. Um, kind of naturally evolved the the lonely marketers community of which the podcast happens and thinks if there’s one good thing.

02:49.20
thinkincircles
And.

03:08.37
Glenn
Um, to come out of the whole Covid pandemic it. It certainly is that um lany Mar community.

03:13.35
thinkincircles
Yeah I mean it’s interesting. You mentioned that that because for anyone kind of listening. It’s it’s a WhatsApp group full of ah recruiter marketeers um 1 or 2 kind of marketing consultants like myself and a few others. Um and it’s just this kind of safe space for. Discuss everything kind of recruitment marketing. Um, and actually that is where I kind of got the idea for today’s kind of chat which is around measuring marketing and how you and how we go about that. Um, and it seems to be a reoccurring kind of I was going to say an issue but it’s it’s a theme that kind of comes up. Um, and it would be good to kind of you know, pick your brains around and get your thoughts around this because I said in the in the in the WhatsApp group. It tends to kind of come up very similar times when budgets are being discussed these kind of things, it kind of, its season that this seems to kind of come up and I know it’s something we get asked from an agency point of view. You know you know the you know how to get return on investment. How do we measure the success and all that kind of stuff so I thought would be good to kind of have a chat around that. Um, so you know one of the kind of first things I always kind of tried to kind of talk to some of our clients about is that you know. It can be quite hard to measure the the kind of the effectiveness of of marketing but is it. Okay, that’s the you know the traditional thinking is it is its its can be difficult but with everything else that’s out there now is it still as difficult. Um, as it always was so what’s your kind of thought that.

04:45.84
Glenn
Yeah I don’t I don’t think it’s as difficult as it always was um, you know like like you say this has been a question that’s been put to me from managers and clients and and everything since since I I started. Um I think the. You know the rapid rise in technology that’s out there and the sophistication of of crms email marketing platforms, etc, etc makes it a lot easier to to measure stuff. Um, but. Still think there’s a disconnect between what people are measuring why they’re measuring it for the sake of it. Um, ah you know so many businesses and individuals that I’ve worked with who have been reaming off you know, just so much data from Google Analytics from email platforms and. Just spreadsheets and so you know we’re set we’re sending this you know upwards on a monthly weekly basis and it’s a little bit pointless to to be honest, it’s it’s a little bit reporting for reporting’s sake. It’s not really proven kind of any return on investment. Um. But equally and um, ah I think we’ll probably come on to this is that you know can you can you measure everything or should you be measuring everything but look It’s certainly easier. Ah ah, a top level to get the the insight into how our audiences. And maybe our consultant to be honest, how they behave and interact um with us as a brand as well as any specific content that that we create I think that’s that’s obvious.

06:31.47
thinkincircles
Yeah, yeah, um, and it’s Interesting. You kind of pull up that point around um reporting for reporting’s sake and and again this may comes back to to a theme that I know we’re both kind of passionate about about marketing having this kind of this seat at the table and Whether. It’s much more upon us as marketeers to to deliver that more that kind of whatever we are going to report on when we’re no know we’re going to talk about that. Whatever we’re measuring but to report that more effectively and to kind of understand exactly what the board or whoever at the senior management teams are expecting and want to see. As opposed to saying ah with you know, traffics up to the website on the website by 20% where does that what does that actually mean and I mean and yeah, again your your kind of opinion on on that.

07:21.98
Glenn
It’s it’s applying marketing principles to to what you’re doing internally I think so it’s it’s it’s knowing your audience you know that that’s what we do as marketers is we want to understand the audiences understand their their challenges and present them with solutions insight. Um, data that that makes those problems go away and and when you’re talking in in recruitment terms in reality to the people you’re reporting you need to be talking at the basically about new candidates new clients. And revenue. Um but you know those 3 things is is all that you need to re review your reports on now I’m not saying that the rest of the reporting that people may be doing and the insights that they’re getting is not invaluable. It is if something’s going wrong. If something’s going wrong and you’re not hitting the milestones the targets the the ah roi that you may have created yourself. Um, then you can dive into that reporting to be able to understand what the the triggers or the levers are there. But I think. You know it’s a little bit less is more you know put your marketing to hat on when you come to report and I think you know I’m going to speak to the CEO the MD the sales director. What do they care about and only present what they care about what you care about in reality they probably couldn’t care less. Ah, to a certain way and it’s kind of having that level of acceptance yourself I think you know makes you a better marketer and probably have a little bit more um impact within the business that you’re working in.

08:58.65
thinkincircles
So that’s interesting because that comes on to next next point about you know our our KPI is dead because if everybody’s everybody’s got their own skin in the game right? like you’ve just said if you’re reporting to the sales director. They’ve got a certain but certain targets and certain. Things that they want to see from marketing and certain things that they’re interested in the finance department has something else. HCharDepartment has got something else the Md and the board have maybe got something else. So one of the things that comes up in in the group a lot is that marketers have been kind of slapped with these kind of key performance indicators and. There’s a kind of bit of a pushback as well. You know, does this really meet this how how affect what does this mean for my job you know am I you know do I really want to do I need to be kind of hitting these you know what’s the point. Um, so is that kind of kind of just put hanging this kind of sword of damocles with with Apis over mark over marketers head. Dead and we should be coming up with a different way of of measuring and.

09:55.13
Glenn
Yeah I think I think KPI is generally not just from ah from a marx point of view generally in recruitment. They’ve um, they’ve always had attached to them. It’s a little bit of a dirty dirty word. You know in the in the in the world of recruitment. It’s. minutes hour minutes hours on the phone. How many calls you send how many cvs you send, etc, etc. You know the premise of keep a key performance. Indicator is still a hundred percent sound I just I just don’t think people spend enough time on finding out what those key performance indicators are for any single. Activity that that’s happening from it from a marketing um point of view I think a lot a lot of it comes down to a little bit of a lack of planning if if I’m being honest people. People businesses. Don’t know what they’re trying to achieve from their marketing from the outset. So if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve from your marketing from the outset. It’s very hard to know what kind of results you need and if you don’t know what kind of results you you need you don’t know what activity you need to push into that. And then it comes down to to KPIs I think from ah from a marketing point of view. We. We always we always focus on um you know conversions around websites. You know the contact form downloads at a very basic level job applications. Um, you know if you’re kind of job led with. With websites I think I think they’re all they’re all varied and they’re worth looking into but like late it has to be tied into to whatever you’ve been aiming for at the start because it’s very easy. Yeah there’s even a lot of talk sometimes around. Um you know followers.

11:34.89
thinkincircles
Yeah, so.

11:44.16
Glenn
You know or the likes that the the vanity type metrics on social media and and you know I’m not 1 of just saying oh that we need a 0 kind of followers. But if you’ve got the data and the insight that that you’re able to say right over. Ah.

11:45.42
thinkincircles
Yeah, yeah.

12:02.35
Glenn
Period of twelve months you know say content consistency stuff has remained the same and for every 10000 extra followers followers. You get you know your engagement goes up by nat point five percent on Linkedin and you can see that trend then it’s then there’s value in saying.

12:19.67
thinkincircles
And.

12:22.22
Glenn
Well, we want to increase our followers by by 25 you know by another 25000 saying it for the sake of it is pointless without that that data and insight to um to back it up and I ah genuinely think um, you know for for marketers and marketing as a profession within. Recruitment to to kind of take that step up is that um, they’ve got to create that bandwidth or time in their career or in which resulting in their down weeks to really dive in to data dive into trends. Um. Pull that insights out and do you know what in recruitment yet, you’ve got so much. It might not be the best quality at a lot of places granted but there’s so much there you know sitting on your on your your your bullhorns at every think of this world. There’s so much to dive into. But no one takes ownership of it like literally nobody usually owns the CRM I t might have it individual consultants own their own little bubble but that is a huge opportunity I think if if kind of marketing takes control. Finds out what they want to know about it and then influence the kind of the processes and draw out the the trends and that insight because that informs everything than the data in the insights. It informs internal training. It will inform the content that you create the type of content that you create how you distribute it and things. But we. We work in the majority of times on pure assumption and and it’s it’s it’s baffling everyone else doesn’t you know people outside of recruitment. Don’t you know, go to the extreme Amazon doesn’t work on the assumption they work on you know tens of millions of data points.

14:05.45
thinkincircles
Yeah, exactly.

14:12.32
Glenn
Informs How they communicate with people and ah I think there’s there’s no reason why we can’t do that and I’m saying we as marketers and maybe as an industry can’t do that to you know, improve that candidate and then client engagement a bit.

14:24.53
thinkincircles
Um, so that comes up brings up a couple of kind of follow-on questions. Um is so with regard to these couple the the KPIs that are the that our fellow marketeers are being set. That’s probably being set by not them in the first place that and I think that. Possibly this issue. It’s been kind of set from on high and you’re right? These vanity metrics come into play then and so we talking ah again this whole kind of seat at the table should we be should we be setting our own kind of ah metrics to follow and we should be influencing we should begin of upselling this to the. Borden said that this is this is what I want to measure because I know it’s because I know it’s important and this is what’s going to affect the the bottom line.

15:05.79
Glenn
Yeah I think if you’re not getting the the support and and then this happens you know in in ah in the best possible way sometimes is. It’s like look I trust you to kind of get on with your job and you know we believe in what you’re doing is good and it probably is good. Like as martyrs sometimes you need that little bit more you want that little bit of structure and drive is that you do have to um, you do have to take it on yourself sometimes create your ah level of accountability for yourself for your own team. And just have it work in a way in the background for a bit so you can build up the knowledge and then rather than moaning every month that you kind of you’re not having the kind of the right conversations, etc, etc. You’ve built up a huge business case of evidence. Your impact of of what you’re doing um and push it upwards I think it’s just taking and I think it’s taking that little bit of pain and you might have get ah some pats on the back. Um immediately. But I think it’s it’s worth it in in the end it gives you a lot more credibility when you’re having those conversations internally when you’ve got you know the evidence to to back it up I take the and that that goes on the same with with budgets as well. And. You know I think budgets and ah ROI ah are obviously linked. But there’s a you know a huge majority of recruitment businesses who don’t have um marketing budgets. It’s a cost center. It’s like oh yeah, put it in marketing. Oh yeah, don’t worry, you can do it and I think. If. That’s the case you might think oh that’s brilliant I can split us can spend what I want but it doesn’t address that issue of return or investment. So I think you know if you haven’t got a budget or someone said oh yeah, we don’t need one. Don’t worry about it. Do it just create it yourself. Chuck something on it excel. Work backwards saying right? I want to achieve x, y and said this year I’m going to need this I’m expecting these types of results and just create it yourself for for your own accountability more than anything.

17:18.26
thinkincircles
Um, um, and I that brings up questions about the skillsets of a market modern recruitment marketeer. Um, and I so I suppose like again, this is an assumption that a lot of us in recruitment marketing probably haven’t gone down a very formal process. You know you know and. Ah, lot of it’s kind of on the job learn and you know some of us have kind of fallen into it. Some of us might come on very kind of a lower level and then kind of worked our way up and it poses the question is yeah, the modern recruit market here needs to be kind of part data analysts as well because crunching through all these numbers like you know. The the thought of diving into your kind of your database at your business which has fifty plus thousand kind of entries in it something and and and trying to kind of crunch all that and analyse that and use the database. You know how it should be used. You know to analyse that data. Can seem pretty scary all right? Um, so again, this is probably one of those other kind of the seat at the table questions is is the modern is a modern recruitment marketeer. No longer really that a marketeer is more you know is data is part data analyst as well.

18:26.65
Glenn
Yeah I think the role of marxin has has changed um and and I think the understand on the whole um for what marx can deliver within a business has has changed he speaking from. And personal experience certainly over the past three or four years I’d never imagined that and and you’ve probably um, found the same here with them with thinking circles I’d never imagined that I’d be working to the extent that I do with smaller. Businesses smaller recruitment businesses who want to start their marketing journey a lot earlier on you know I’m literally talking like sub 5 person recruitment businesses where you know in in days gone by. It’s just sell sell sales head down. Get the revenue in conversations of. Marketing are happening you know alongside those kind of sales sales conversations which is which is great and I should see it see it as a great opportunity but equally I think traditionally that first marketing higher within recruitment businesses would be the admin level. Help help with the socials help with this help with that I think I think it has I think it has changed I think people people now want um yeah, ah, a qualified and when I say qualified I means someone with um, more. Rounded experience of ah of a more commercial world and you know it is being willing to to be to be paid for I I had a ah had a conversation on um, on on Linkedin. It was going it was going on um a couple of days ago around you know the the whole. Specialist marx approach or the generalist marketing approach and um’m you know Ah I’m a proud ah Jack of Jack of all trades and there’s plenty of Jackson Janes of all trades out there. But I think when you become a general and you’re able to dip into things. Everywhere just makes you more commercially aware of what’s got what’s going on in the business always with ah your marketing hat on for the majority of it and focusing on that the brand and the experience and and things. But yeah, ah has the skill. The data has certainly. Changed it I think there’s more and more marketing is led by data you know, marketing. Ah data is isn’t now just um, something that sits in finance if if you like ah where it is position. It traditionally it is it is I think it is marketing now. Um.

21:10.13
Glenn
And that doesn’t mean that um you know every marketer has to go and be an expert in interrogating databases and um, you know being experts in Sql say I don’t even know if I’ve got that acronym right? Um, but I think whether. Where the market-rolls there’s experts who are good with that that kind of thing and they form part of the marketing function whether internally or externally what the market Marketers job to do is to bring that data to life is to story-tell, it is to sell it to other areas of the business and and that’s. That’s the challenge and probably you know where I’d see the more traditional marketer is utilising the data. Maybe not you know, pulling all the the nitty gritty out of it but taking it and having that ability to turn numbers Graphs. You know up and down percentages. Into something that’s really compelling both internally but also externally for for candidates and clients.

22:12.67
thinkincircles
And I think that’s a really good point I think that then um, partly goes into justifying the value of ah of a good recruitment marketer. Um, because kind of back to your point around the smaller businesses that are kind of more interested in marketing a kind of a startup little one. Ah we have several on our books who are kind of sub 5 so of my about businesses who you who want marketing? Um, but there is a certain amount of those other businesses that that you know and and for anyone watching we’re not watching undo air quotes who do it themselves as well, right? which I think to a certain extent. Um again. Values marketing a slightly bit because if you kind of if it’s kind of if the recruiters when they’re starting up doing it themselves and they believe that marketing is sick out some posts on on Linkedin. Um, then there’s there’s that kind of mindset sometimes kind of gets into into businesses that is easy because all it is is just putting out a Linkedin post when actually now what? what? ah. You know a modern market brings this whole plethora of of kind of skills in interrogating databases influencing that database understanding what’s going on what’s happening and being able to trend it out and kind of get ahead of that kind of thing and then communicate that as well. Which is the really bit which the bit I don’t think we do particularly well is communicating that. Um.

23:23.92
Glenn
Um, nice.

23:28.31
thinkincircles
Which is um which is an interest point’s so coming back to our kind of main discussion around marketing data you you meant you’ve picked up on a few things that we should and shouldn’t measure but just kind of remind us again. What are the kind of things that you believe that we should be measuring and more important than things that probably shouldn’t be.

23:45.92
Glenn
Yeah, ah like I think I think it it completely depends on your on your marketing approach and it sounds ah sounds like a ah cop out and it depends what what types of type of business that you’re um, that you’re that you’re operating in and where where the focus is in in terms of.

23:47.37
thinkincircles
Isuring.

24:05.59
Glenn
In terms of growth. Ah I think nowadays for for me in terms of the biggest opportunity for for recruitment businesses and marketers in general is is around engagement. You’ve got to be measuring engagement. Um, because especially. You know at the time of us recording now where 99% of the markets. Are you know, a candidate short is how are we interacting with the majority of the market with content. Um, you know on a regular basis. But. Whether it’s for our email whether it’s via social media whether it’s via you know, events for you know, real real or virtual now in in this crazy new world that we live in. Um I think you need to be measuring all of those. All of those kind of touch points and the value of those touch points to be able to inform how much people were bought into your brand and again I think this it kind of leads on to um and you know we joked. We joked about it when you were on um on my show James. Like you’ve got to build out these models that that allow you to add a value to certain type of activity for the people you’re reaching out to you know, an easy inverted commas social post is worth a lot less value to someone engaged than than. And event that you’re you’re running for for 200 people and things. But I think those engagement scores is is what you want to look at um, but but ultimately like say going back to what I was saying is like how does that how does that translate and flow through to um, you know. Candidate acquisition. Um, you know leads? Um, and and you know ah I think often forget this sometimes but especially now internal hiring as well. You know if you’re if you’re kind of a control of employer brand and you’re working with ah an I r team. You know, make sure you you create. That that level of engagement there is there as well. I think that’s um, you know I think that’s really important.

26:18.10
thinkincircles
I Think yeah I completely agree and and and um, we we see that with that with our clients you know that as as you said the many it’s it’s it’s that trying to bring on New Talent bring on candidates um and more and often trying to kind of bring on new members of staff. Um, one of the kind of metrics that I like and it would be good to is I like this? Um, this potential value Point. So Once you’ve got someone into the database you’ve drawn them into the database then they have a potential value at that point you know if they’re good enough to be in a database the average value of ah of a.

26:43.45
Glenn
Um.

26:54.96
thinkincircles
Of ah, a candidate in your database is x okay, so as a marketeer you’ve brought in a potential value into database of potentially £100000 in a month or something on that because if they all of them were placed. That’s possibly how much they could be um, but knowing how and and but and and like nice thing that is it counts for how.

27:11.39
Glenn
Um, next.

27:12.60
thinkincircles
Recruitment works is that they could sit there for a couple of months without much happening or just being kind of engaged with and just going backward and forwards doing what the market is doing they cc recruit but there’s a value attached to them if they’re there. There’s a value you brought them in from they’re worth 20 grand or something like that you know and I always quite like that I think that’s a nice one and if you can prove that. It’s not that difficult to prove that you’ve gotten there. You can go back to the board and go look There’s a potential value of this in the database you know it’s up to you guys to ready kind of to do the next is to place them right.

27:37.56
Glenn
Yeah, yeah, I completely agree I always you know? Ah I’ll talk about expected value. It’s exactly it’s exactly the same thing and I think as a marker. What what you can do you can speak your finance people you can jump into whatever analytics tool you might have on your crm and work out and you can slice and disco as deep as you want. It’s like. Well from the point of registration through to um, you know someone being hired the average time to fill is is x and you can keep monitoring. Um, you know when you’ve brought in those leads and if it hasn’t filled again. This is what makes you kind of more commercially whereas a marker. Is that you can speak to other people in the business say well, why hasn’t this happened. It might be a training thing within the business. You know it might be an individual personnel thing and things. But I think you know and I’m I’m talking. Yeah you know this is a utopian world for for me is that um, ah. I’d love that you know if we say there’s eight eight stages to a recruitment process is that is that marketing whether it’s sort of Crm um or anything controls. However, many it might be say 4 stages to the point of attraction acquisition.

28:52.34
thinkincircles
And.

28:52.45
Glenn
And nurturing and then when you hit certain triggers into nurturing that’s when um, the recruiters can actually get involved now I know in reality that’s not going to happen because people who search the the CRM. Um they can select select 50 candidates and. And send them out a message and um and ah does any any work that you might do as a marketer but I think you know if you increase your standing in the business and you increase your influence and you’re able to demonstrate results even on. Ah, you know take a small subset a small team or something to show that process works. Um, within recruitment will make a huge amount of difference I think it would boost brand value or boost your reputation in the Market Market and and bottom line It would give you a better chance of of probably placing candidates. Um, it kind of goes against all of the the urgency and the here and now um. World that we live in. But again, do you know? what? it it happens in in a lot of other walks of life when it comes to you know either B 2 B marketing or or the the B Two C world and there’s there’s no reason why you know we can’t at least um strive for it if not if that tried. You know, completely revolutionise everything tomorrow.

30:07.55
thinkincircles
Um, and I think that is a great place to finish on I think I think that’s a great sentiment to finish on Glenn. It’s been an absolute pleasure having on a podcast today I’m sure at some point and the future will have you back because ah, you know, um we could carry this on for hours. Ah, but for now, thank you very much.

30:23.56
Glenn
Thanks James, a pleasure.

 

 

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