When it comes to buying property, we’ve all heard the phrase “location, location, location”. But, in our businesses, we need to remember the words, “data, data, data”. Data comes to us through market research and various research projects that provide an incredible amount of insight into many different topics that all solve challenges within your staffing firm. Staffing firm market research is one of the most overlooked areas of marketing because most people feel that they would rather spend their energy and budget on producing efforts that have a direct tie to ROI; however, staffing firm market research is the engine that makes your racecar win the race.

Why you should do market research

Staffing firm market research is essential to the success of any marketing effort. There’s a difference between thinking that you know an answer and actually knowing the answer. Market research allows you to know rather than think, as well as allows all activities to be targeted to your specific needs and the needs of your clients, prospects, candidates, and consultants. Without staffing firm market research, you are guessing, even though you feel like you know the answers. Market research provides you insight into opportunities that typically go unnoticed. We’ll discuss this further in a moment.

What market research does for you
As noted above, the concept of doing market research is not some overarching effort to find pieces of information. Staffing firm market research is conducted on both a macro and a micro level. For example, it’s used on a macro level to identify areas of new location growth. We also use market research to identify where candidates or clients are clustered. It attempts to identify the motivational factors for a client choosing to work with you vs. a candidate choosing to work with you. It’s also a tool for determining what kind of companies you wish to work with based on both profitability and likelihood of quantity in your staffing efforts. Overall, market research answers the questions of how your staffing firm can function better and reach your audiences more successfully.

How to use digital marketing to identify clusters of clients and candidates
Most people don’t consider digital marketing as part of their market research strategy, but taking a closer look at the resources available causes you to think differently. Within LinkedIn or Facebook, you are able to go into their advertising areas and make specific targeted messages to audiences that you feel are important. You are also able to identify quantities of people that meet your needs. If you are looking to understand how many hiring managers there are within your area of staffing, you’re are able to select geographies, titles, and companies within the tool in order to determine the size of your audience. You are also able to search for candidates, specifically with particular job titles in their profiles. Hypothetically, if you are looking for travel nurses in a given location, you are able to see how many people across each of those digital platforms actually identify themselves as a travel nurse. If you knew that there were 100 travel nurses in an area as opposed to 500, 1000, or 1500 in a different geography, your efforts would likely change. If you knew how many people are specifically within the technology group of a client with certain titles, you would be able to do this on a granular level and understand the size of the audience that you are targeting. The advertising modules within LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to drill down closely, even if you’re not planning on running an advertisement. These tools are often overlooked and the fact is, as difficult as it is to find the clients your seeking or candidate you’re looking to work with, these tools help focus your efforts and provide you data to help you make better decisions to drive staffing business. Facebook’s advertisement module allows you to go even more granular than LinkedIn’s and is worth checking out. Knowing that there is a lack of candidates for your need in a specific market, you could determine which positions to work on ahead of others as well as determine when you need to work on out-of-market candidates sooner. This data allows you to make placements faster and drive your overall productivity.

How to build precise targeting
The targeting tools within the digital platforms allow you to choose specific companies you want to target by going into the company section and entering the companies you desire. This is followed by the job functions such as information technology. Plus, being able to go into the job hierarchy or title allows you to have unprecedented insight and access to those that you target.

Examples of where market research provided invaluable data
We were doing a market research analysis for a client recently that was looking for a specific type of candidate. In the entire country, there were 250 people that fit the role. Because we were able to target with digital marketing, we understood that this role was uncommon and lacked the quantity of candidates needed for an effective search. This allowed the salesperson to work with the client on alternatives before everyone in the market and allowed for a broadening of the target in order to find a candidate that was a great fit. Within one week, this client was able to submit, get an interview, and get the offer on a person that no one else was looking at.
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In another example, one of our clients was trying to identify all of the hiring managers at one of their clients and the salesperson thought they had already done that. We were able to identify 42 extra managers that were previously unknown, and this salesperson was able to get into meetings with two of those prospects very quickly. You may think that two is good, or you may think two is bad; however, it was two that were previously unknown to the salesperson. Staffing firm market research stretches beyond the traditional ideas around messaging and differentiation. Because we are an independent third-party firm, we were able to conduct a survey for one of our clients that defined the key messaging and differentiation that was needed to attract their attention.

Staffing firm market research provides a world of insight into where and how many clients and candidates there are within your targets as well as help define your messaging and differentiation more effectively. Let’s think about it this way…if you are able to find a previously unknown manager, what is the value to your staffing firm? If you revise your searches or refine your efforts with your clients, what is the value of attracting a candidate faster than your competition? Market research certainly does not fit in the most fun part of marketing, but it is the engine that drives your racecar to ROI. If you’d like to know more, give us a call or email us.

About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations.