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  • Athina Mallis

How HR businesses can connect with customers - Seek's Christophe Eymery reveals all

In today's digital environment, where we're overloaded with information and content, how can HR companies connect their message with their target customers?

Leading digital marketer, Head of Media and Customer Engagement at Seek Christophe Eymery, shares his insights.

Christophe, who was the former Digital and Media Head of L’Oreal for ANZ, has over 15 years of experience in marketing and media. He is particularly passionate about leveraging technology to help businesses connect with their prospects more efficiently to drive revenue.

He spoke with Target Market podcast host Athina Mallis about adding the most value to the brand experience, how the pandemic has changed marketing priorities in the HR industry and the importance of empathy when connecting with customers in tough times.

Today’s digitally savvy customer is overwhelmed with content and information every day. How can brands and businesses get their message heard over the noise?

It's a big challenge. It's really about creating the right balance between emotion and utility. If you don't put your heart into that connection, it's not going to resonate. At the same time, if you don't fully add value, you miss the boat and you'll struggle to create a connection.

At Seek, at the moment we are focusing a lot on career advice and hirer advice, to really add value to job seekers who are legitimately in a tough market and keen to get more than just job ads to fulfill their needs.

They are quite keen to get advice on career management and a bit of guidance on how to tackle that difficult phase of looking for a new job or managing their current job and having all the support they need for that. That's definitely where we try really hard at Seek.

At Seek, our marketing team focus on content that has meaningfulness for the candidates and not just adds to that 'content pollution' that they're overwhelmed with in today's content rich environment. To do that, we do a lot of research on consumer insights and define the most relevant quality content that would be meaningful.

We look at the candidate side and the hirer side. It's very important for us to provide that intelligence both to those looking for a job as well as for those who are offering job opportunities and who themselves need guidance to understand the current marketplace. In that regard, we helping them to find ways to talk and engage with their current candidates and get the traction that they need for their job ads.

Can you share some examples of how Seek is attracting and retaining a high level of brand engagement?

The best focus for us and where we feel we are adding the most value is to have meaningful engagement. Therefore we rely on content management and sourcing the most relevant content. We've become the employment powerhouse in Australia and New Zealand, where we have an excess of 600 pieces of content that relates to career advice that is readily available to anyone in our career advice section.

It's a really good way for candidates to find information that they need in one central place, we have the ability to drive visibility of that content for search and social media. We also engage in large-scale partnerships with NewsCorp and to have a permanent feature in their lifestyle and news section where we feature basically every week or every second day, depending on the frequency of the content publishing calendar.

We provide pieces of content that relate to areas of focus in the employment category and provide meaningful advice in the news environment. We then send this audience back into our own website where they can go further into engaging with Seek.

At Seek, we believe it's not just about providing the relevant content, but offering consistent engagement, making sure we are not going out in the market just for temporary campaigns but to help more candidates at scale.

It's really being the right partner for candidates and hirers at whatever stage they are at in their journey through the employment life cycles, having meaningful conversation and always being there at each step of the process.

Has the pandemic forced you to think differently about your approach to marketing?

Absolutely, it's been a big game-changer. When COVID-19 took over everything, it was a big shift to everyone's lifestyle and ways of working. What we've done is an acceleration of our initial strategy, focusing on utility and not just emotional connection.

As you can imagine, the employment category is a sensitive territory when a candidate is challenged in the marketplace. We need to be there in a very respectful way and add value in a meaningful way, not just a push for traffic to our website for the sake of it. Trying to have the right language at the right time - that's been even more of a focus than ever before.

I would say the second part is the need to adapt and change the plans quickly to remain relevant in the context that is changing very quickly as the whole world comes to a better understanding of how to handle the impact of the pandemic. Our role was also to adjust to the changes in the dynamics of the marketplace in terms of employment and therefore move and pivot our marketing approach in that context very quickly.

What are you excited about the HR space?

I would say for us it is the best time ever in the employment industry, after a very difficult pandemic year, we are moving into a new phase. The second half of the financial year should see a significant growth of job offers as part of the federal budget big incentives for recruitment. State level budgets are offering a lot of incentives for local recruitment too.

After unfortunately a phase of large-scale redundancies across the economy, we should see the volume of job ads bouncing back, which is very exciting.

In the SME space, in particular, it's a 30 per cent rise, which is an indication of how quickly things can be turned around. We are very conscious it's not going to be a fast turnaround, it's going to be a journey to go back to a normal economy.

We will definitely see a big ramping up of recruitment in the next six months, it's definitely an exciting time for us to be there and find the candidates looking for jobs. Also, helping hirers list their ads on our platform and help them get the best application.

What is good timing is around two years ago, we launched a new search function within our platform that has an algorithm that helps to better match candidates with job offers. It therefore is much more efficient for hirers who are looking for candidates to find the most relevant applications and help find the best candidate for their job offers. That's definitely what we see as an exciting time ahead.

What are you excited about when it comes to marketing?

More broadly speaking, what is great about marketing is the state of constant change, the opportunity to challenge the status quo through a number of innovations and connecting with consumers in more meaningful ways at scale by leveraging technology. At the moment we are rolling out the Salesforce marketing cloud alongside the sales cloud and the services cloud.

For us, it's a big game-changer to be able to ensure Seek Business better connects with candidates and hirers and be in much more meaningful engagement over the course of their life cycles in the employment category. We feel marketing is a key channel to drive business outcomes.

Sometimes there is a perception that marketing is mainly a cost centre and I'm sure you're across what's in the press. When times get tough marketing is the first area to get budget cuts.

But what I see as an exciting opportunity in marketing is nowadays with martech and technology being the backbone of marketing and marketing is at the forefront of driving e-commerce. It's definitely a time where we can demonstrate that marketing is not just a cost centre but also a revenue centre.

What frustrates you the most about digital marketing?

I'm not sure if it's really a source of frustration, but I will say it's a bit of a challenge in terms of the marketplace. It's difficult to find great talent in marketing and the employment categories are quite specific. If I think about the digital landscape, in particular, we are always on the hunt for the best talent - and given the fast-changing pace of the industry, it can tend to be quite difficult to find high calibre talents.

That's our responsibility as marketers, to working very closely with industry bodies like the IAB to foster the upskilling of the marketplace and increase the pool of marketing talents and digital marketing specialists in particular.

What is it that marketers should STOP doing and what should they start doing.

Sometimes marketing can be too obsessed with creativity for the sake of it and lacks a little bit of consumer centricity in its science. I would say being obsessed with creativity for the sake of it and finding the right balance between creativity and ROI. In terms of what we should start doing more as a marketer, we see it would be to take full ownership of the martech stack, which often marketer leaves to the experts - which is an easy way to get out of it.

I feel there for every marketer, is a need for a true, deeper understanding of what martech requires, in order to thrive and deliver against the ambitions of the business. Martech cannot be handed over without a very close understanding and oversight.

Tune into the full episode here.

Target Market, a podcast series by AZK Media, where the world’s most premium thought leaders across technology, marketing and data come together to share their insights. Hosted by Athina Mallis.


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