May 4, 2020

Extreme Makeover: How SmartRecruiters Flipped Their Marketing Strategy During COVID-19

Brittany Klokkenga
Brittany Klokkenga

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The average single-family home takes seven months to build.

From drawing up the blueprints to laying the foundation to erecting the walls, constructing a home is intricate. Every solid marketing plan is no different, as Tiffany Hsia from SmartRecruiters recently explained in her session at Sendoso’s virtual event, The Show Must Go On.

As a demand generation and ABM manager, Tiffany is heavily focused on helping sales set meetings and creating pipeline with large, enterprise named accounts. Because of who SmartRecruiters sells to, Tiffany knew their prospects and customers would be hit especially hard by budget cuts and subsequent hiring freezes.

Tiffany and her team moved quickly to flip their marketing programs overnight so all of their efforts weren’t akin to a home flop. Here’s how they did it.

The Foundation of a Marketing Program

The SmartRecriters team’s blueprint for 2020 was built on three pillars: inspire, engage, and win. Foundational programs were meant to reach and engage with their target audience of talent acquisition leaders:

The programs were supported by various tactics like direct mail, email, phone calls, advertising, and in-person events—like scaffolding, propping up the larger initiatives.

Here’s how that looked in practice: Prior to the Hiring Success 20 conference, they used Sendoso to send prospects an empty AirPods box and a scorecard to invite them to their event booth. If prospects met with SmartRecruiters at the event, they would receive the AirPods to fill the case.

After the package was delivered, AEs and SDRs were immediately notified and were able to follow up and build rapport quickly. After deploying this play, they saw a 14% conversion rate of meetings from the campaign and 2.5M in pipeline influenced.

But with COVID-19, the plans like this that they architected simply weren’t possible anymore.

Demolition and Remodeling for Marketers

Having the foundational strategies in place from the get-go enabled SmartRecruiters to quickly adapt to a world without in-office work, business travel, or in-person events.

Akin to demolishing a fixer-upper, they had to act quickly, knowing what to let go of and what to keep. Everyone loves a good before and after success story. Here’s the foundation they had planned and how they’ve remodeled and rebuilt—brick by brick:

1. Remove Old Flooring

SmartRecruiters kicked off 2020 with a growth mindset, which was heavily reflected in their messaging. Unemployment was at an all-time low and companies were competing for top talent. But as of eight weeks ago, this was no longer the case. So, they flipped their messaging to be more empathetic and help customers prepare for the future. Today, all of their messaging is focused on assisting their customers to be stronger after this over.

Before: “How do you compete for the best talent?”

After: “How can you best prepare for what’s to come?”

2. Update the Kitchen

In-person conferences, customer meetups, and regional events were canceled. Tiffany and her team wanted to create these communities even though in-person meet-ups were no longer possible. They changed their event strategy to create strong online customer and prospect communities by launching webinar series, educational programs, and regional virtual events. The Hiring Success conference is even going fully virtual later this year.

Before: In-person conferences and regional meetups

After: Virtual events and roadshows

3. Swapped in New Windows

As most companies are slated to work remotely for the foreseeable future, SmartRecruiters needed a way to send their customers and prospects direct mail, gifts, and swag. They became more thoughtful about sending physical packages and are using Sendoso’s Address Confirmation feature to ask recipients to confirm their address before an item is sent so it’s delivered to wherever they’re working. They’re also giving recipients the ability to choose eGifts or donate their gifts to the charity of their choosing.

Before: Physical packages

After: Address Confirmation, eGifts, and Charity Choice

4. Repainted the Walls

SmartRecruiters’ CEO was scheduled to go on a physical book promotion tour but now he is conducting a podcast speaking tour and speaking at the virtual Hiring Success conference later this year.

Before: CEO book tour

After: Podcast speaking tour

SmartRecrutiers is using every outreach channel to help their prospects and customers come out of this stronger, no matter what their current situation is. As Tiffany said, “we hope that the remodeled versions of our new campaigns still inspire, engage, and help our talent acquisition community emerge all the better from this tough time.”

Very much like flipping a home, build your new programs on your existing marketing foundation and you’ll come out of this with an HGTV-worthy marketing house.

Register for access to the on-demand version of The Show Must Go On to listen to Tiffany’s story.

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