A CMO’s View: It’s An Arms Race – Competitors That Make More Channels Work Will Outgrow You
ZipRecruiter CMO Allan Jones shares how his integrated marketing success involves going on instincts, but backing it up with analytics.
ZipRecruiter.com CMO Allan Jones says his brand sees marketing differently.
“We treat marketing’s goal as not just ‘acquire customers’, but to craft a unified end-to-end customer experience,” says Jones, “From brand awareness to acquisition – both digital and offline – at the top, through the conversion experience and sales funnel, all the way to the post-purchase experience.”
After joining the company in July 2013 as Vice President of Products, Jones quickly realized he could offer the most value integrating the brands digital and offline marketing efforts. He now serves as CMO, leading a team that manages everything from social, analytics and creative, to development and production.
Jones said his goal is to establish an integrated marketing approach that spotlights the simplicity of his brand. “We want to working with us to be easy…and human,” explains Jones.
In 2015 ZipRecruiter will be launching a suite of recruiting and HR products. Jones admits his biggest challenge is scaling the brand’s core value proposition – “keeping it simple” – as the brand’s offerings and audience grows.
ZipRecruiter’s CMO Shares Why Integrated Marketing Is Mandatory In Today’s Competitive Landscape
Amy Gesenhues: Please tell me more about ZipRecruiter and your role as CMO.
Allan Jones: ZipRecruiter simplifies hiring for small to medium size businesses. We allow employers to post to 50+ job boards with one click, and then let them manage all of their candidates in one place.
Although our customers have businesses of all shapes and sizes, the majority of our employers are small businesses. We’ve taken hiring tools that used to be available only to enterprise companies and put them in the hands of the small business owner.
Within my role, I oversee brand marketing, acquisition, on-site conversion, business intelligence and analytics, customer support and forward looking teams, like our new services group focused on exploring new potential avenues for ZipRecruiter to launch outside of job posting.
Amy Gesenhues: What does an “integrated marketing approach” mean for your brand?
Allan Jones: I see it as a full end-to-end approach, from word of mouth to the post-purchase support experience.
What are a potential customer’s friends and colleagues saying about your brand? When they hear your spot on the radio or see a display ad, does the message match with what they’ve heard through word of mouth? Once they visit the site, does the message continue to be consistent all the way through after they purchase, begin using the product, and when they call in to customer support?
Amy Gesenhues: Why is an integrated approach so important?
Allan Jones: If you want to carve out any kind of substantial market share in today’s landscape you cannot afford to limit your marketing focus to just one or two channels.
It’s an arms race: if your competitors figure out how to make more channels work than you, they have the ability to outgrow you. So it’s important to be in as many places as possible while still having the economics make sense for your business.
Having a fluid message across all media paints a clear picture of your brand in the mind of the audience you are trying to reach. You also benefit from the “halo effect,” where all of your media begins helping each other.
If one person hears a radio ad in addition to seeing a TV spot, they now have a much higher likelihood of taking action. This effect compounds with the more media you run.
Simply put, focus on each piece of the funnel and the compounded effect can be amazing.
Amy Gesenhues: Can you offer a specific example of how ZipRecruiter.com integrates its marketing efforts?
Allan Jones: We have a very consistent value proposition across all of our paid media: “Post to 50+ Job Boards in One Click with ZipRecruiter.”
The great thing about the value proposition is it’s simple. The theme throughout all of ZipRecruiter is simplicity. When you register, we make sure it’s as simple as possible. When you post a job, we’ve made that as simple as possible.
Managing your candidates is also easy through one dashboard. When you call in to customer support, we make sure you don’t have to wait to speak to a real person, and we get your questions or concerns answered. Again, simplicity.
All of our digital and offline media communicates this message of simplicity.
Amy Gesenhues: Where do you think most brands miss the boat when it comes to an integrated approach?
Allan Jones: Not to beat a dead horse but I think some brands have overlooked the impact of every channel working in unison together, combined with the customer experience being fluid from top to bottom.
For marketers with a digital background, it’s easy to write-off something like television, or the effectiveness of a conversation between a customer support person and a customer. Though these strategies don’t sound as sexy as social, I can’t overstate their impact on marketing when done correctly.
Amy Gesenhues: As a primarily online organization, how do you integrate your offline marketing to keep that “fluid, end-to-end” user experience?
Allan Jones: Offline marketing has been integral to ZipRecruiter’s growth. When I got here in July of 2013, Google SEM was our only paid media channel. Since then we have gone on to launch not only display, retargeting, and LinkedIn marketing, but also offline channels such as radio, TV and direct mail to amazing success.
We’ve discovered that not only does our offline marketing drive brand and customer growth, but it supports and lifts the effectiveness of our digital channels as well.
For example, TV gave SEM a boost, and direct mail only furthered response for our radio ads. Digital is great on its own, but your growth is sometimes capped. Traditional media and offline channels help to dramatically lift that ceiling.
ZipRecruiter TV Ad:
Amy Gesenhues: Which digital strategies do you consider a priority?
Allan Jones: Our digital marketing is comprised of search engine marketing, display, retargeting, affiliate and email. Surprisingly priority varies quite a bit month to month depending on where you’ve discovered the most fruitful optimization opportunities.
Digital channels are a very fast and effective way to test copy and messaging. We’ve taken advantage of this by running A/B tests to see which value propositions resonate most with our audience.
The messaging successes we’ve found with digital have informed and driven our creative direction for our offline channels.
Amy Gesenhues: How do analytics fit into your integrated approach?
Allan Jones: We are obsessed with analytics. We have an Analytics team solely devoted to business intelligence and data analysis.
Analytics are at the heart of everything we do: from offline attribution and channel analysis, to A/B testing, customer segmentation and measuring the effectiveness of how we position our brand and our products. Most things at ZipRecruiter launch from an idea we had that was based on a gut instinct, but was either validated or disproved by the data.
Amy Gesenhues: Can you share an example of such a case, where a gut instinct was validated by data?
Allan Jones: In our original subscription flow, we had “Post a Job” placed before “Create Account.” I just had a feeling that maybe we had it backwards, that what employers really wanted was to be able to come in, kick the tires on the service, and then post their job, rather than the other way around.
When we tested it, we immediately saw a 30% increase in site registrations and a 15% lift in free trials, which gave a really nice boost to our conversion rate.
The success of the change in the subscription flow led to changes across our marketing strategy. Having that data in hand meant that we could confidently refocus email marketing, for instance, on converting registrations to free trials, a change which helped drive that 15% increase.
Amy Gesenhues: What do you recommend for smaller businesses or brands that may not have the resources or budgets to implement a fully integrated approach?
In order, I would start with search engine marketing. It’s the easiest to test and requires the least commitment. Run some creative A/B tests to see what copy and value proposition your audience reacts to.
Once you have your messaging down, and your unit economics thoroughly calculated, then move to channels that may be more expensive.
When testing new channels, I would say start by laser-targeting your best audience who has the highest chance of converting. It’s important to get some quick wins under your belt so you can justify expanding each channel.