26 October 2010

How effectively are you communicating your value?

In last week's InSight Issue 153, I summarised the major points that I took from the RCSA CEO panel that I had facilitated in Melbourne.

The first I point I listed was ‘deliver value to your customers'.

This, I would like to think, is obvious. Clearly it is important in ensuring you have satisfied customers ... customers that both use you again and recommend you to others. Recruitment agencies are generally good at delivering value.

The news last week, that Amcor had disbanded their internal recruitment team and had chosen to return to the traditional outsourced model of recruitment, via a PSA panel, was a pleasant reminder that sometimes a client needs a stint of DIY recruitment to truly appreciate the value that recruitment agencies deliver.

What recruitment agencies are generally very poor at doing is effectively communicating the value that they deliver. It appears that finding a job for a candidate or filling a job for a client is sufficient.

I think it is far from sufficient. I have written previously (in Insight Issue 115 and InSight Issue 89) about how to better communicate value to your customers, but last week I was given another reminder of how much better some other sectors do this.

I spent most of last week in my office so I was able to tackle a few of my constantly-put-off tasks, including my filing. As I prepared to file the various pieces of correspondence from the two charities that I donate to, The Smith Family Learning for Life Program and the Surf Life Saving Foundation, I had a closer look at the material I was filing.

I discovered material that was very smart in communicating value. Both organisations had, very effectively, connected with both my rational brain (left brain) using statistics and my emotional brain (right brain) using success stories.

The Smith Family told me that:

‘Thanks to your support this year we've helped...

  • 19% more primary school kids through literacy support programs, with 72% of these improving their reading age as a result
  • 20% more senior secondary kids gain access to the support of a trained adult mentor online
  • More than 30,000 kids are receiving essential education support through Learning for Life, a 40% increase since 2005
  • 74% more primary school kids with access to support through after school Learning Clubs

The Surf Life Saving Foundation told me:

‘Last summer alone in Victoria, due in part to your generosity, volunteer lifesavers made 707 rescues with 47,362 preventative actions taken to stop tragedies from happening in the first place'

On the Surf Lifesaving Foundation website, they list a number of inspiring lifesaving rescue stories from the surf beaches of Australia.

The Smith Family brochure included the heartwarming story of 19 year old Jessica from Narrabundah who is now studying medicine at ANU after the support of Smith Family sponsors enabled her, during her Year 12 Certificate year, to balance her role as sole carer for her mother (who has multiple sclerosis), her studies and a part-time job.

Not-for-profit organisations know how important it is to communicate value to their donors because a donor doesn't receive anything tangible in return for their money (apart from a tax deduction).

Communicating facts and stories that reinforce both the value of my donation to the not-for-profit and their skill at using that donation effectively is critical in maintaining and enhancing ongoing donor contributions. The warm glow inside my (the donor's) heart (the intangible benefit) feeds the critical cash flow for not-for-profits'.

By contrast, it seems that in general, recruitment agencies are satisfied with simply stating that they have a lot of jobs available, have a large database of candidates, employ experienced and skilled recruiters, care for candidates and can provide temp and perm services in a range of job or industry categories.

All of this information is, most likely true, but it's copy that is hardly compelling, inspiring or original.

If you view a random selection of recruitment agency websites or brochures, you will see very, very little by way of relevant statistics, facts or engaging success stories. It's all just the same old blah, blah, blah.

Pharmacy recruiter Raven's Recruitment is one exception. I am sure there are others, so please let me know if your agency's' website is an excellent example of communicating value through relevant statistics and success stories.

The issue of decreasing temp/contract margins and perm placement fees cannot hope to be arrested unless, as an industry, we are far more effective at communicating the value that we deliver.

How much money do you have in your current budget for ‘marketing communications'?

However much it is, I suspect it's not enough.

The next discount you feel compelled to provide, should be a painful reminder of how much your lack of effectiveness in communicating your value is costing you.

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