The Pros and Cons of Marketing Automation for Staffing Firms

487782723Marketing automation is a hot topic lately, and for good reason. Companies are focused not only on doing more with less but also better arming their sales teams with data about website visitors and leads. Marketing automation tools such as HubSpot, Marketo and Eloqua, to name just a few, enable companies to execute marketing campaigns more efficiently while providing deep analytics and data on prospect and client behavior for the sales teams. So is marketing automation right for staffing companies? Here are the pros and cons.

Pros of Marketing Automation
There are several pros when it comes to marketing automation tools for staffing firms:

  • Increase in leads – marketing automation enables a staffing firm’s marketing team to significantly increase the number of lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns they run. And, done right, more campaigns mean more qualified leads!
  • Efficiencies – there are many efficiencies that marketing automation platforms offer, especially for staffing firms who typically have a small marketing team who are wearing many different hats. Being able to automate certain marketing activities means a more efficient use of the marketing team’s time and frees them up to deal with the other 37 things on their to-do list
  • Qualified leads – what sales or marketing team doesn’t want to know who visited their site, who downloaded a whitepaper or viewed a webinar? Insight into who is visiting your site and what they’re doing there helps you qualify interest and develop relevant much quicker. All the salespeople I know would love to have a list of interested parties to follow up with rather than cold calling. And all the marketers I know would love to provide leads to their sales team.
  • Data – beyond the SEO benefits and other analytics that marketing automation platforms offer, there is a wealth of data that can help staffing companies figure out where to spend their limited marketing dollars. Knowing what works and what doesn’t also helps inform future marketing activities to ensure you’re getting a return on your investment.

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Cons of Marketing Automation
While there are clear pros for staffing companies to use marketing automation, there are also cons to consider, including:

  • Implementation time – while executing campaigns is efficient, getting the platform up and running does require dedication upfront, both from a dollar and resource standpoint. Once you’ve made the decision to implement marketing automation, keep in mind that there are several things that need to happen before you can start using it. Estimate at least two to three months for set-up, implementation and training, unless you have someone dedicated full-time to getting your marketing automation set up for success.
  • Technical requirements – there are some IT considerations that need to be met before implementing marketing automation. So while it sounds like marketing automation can work for any company, you need to first consider how your website currently functions. For example, one company I work with is interested in implementing a marketing automation solution but its website is so outdated that it will require a significant overhaul before the company can even think about adding marketing automation. That’s why one of my biggest tips to companies considering this is to talk to the group responsible for backend management of your website before you do anything else. And if they’re not sure of the IT requirements that come along with a marketing automation solution, find an outside resource that can help.
  • Ongoing resource management – campaign execution requires content generation and social media promotion so you need someone versed in these content marketing efforts AND dedicated to ongoing management of all of the technical s components moving forward. With a small marketing team, that may be an issue resource-wise, but there are partners out there you can lean on for support. Remember, marketing automation can help extend your marketing efforts but you need the core messaging, strategy and content to help fuel your new software.
  • Cost – while not cheap, there are some marketing automation providers geared at small to medium businesses. Once you decide to make that investment, remember that it will take some time to realize a return. It’s not just the cost of the software but it’s also the resource cost to manage, create content, execute campaigns, track metrics and analyze data ongoing.

Are you considering adding marketing automation to your company? It can be a very powerful tool for staffing firms. Make sure to conduct your due diligence first, taking into consideration your existing IT environment, and the resources and time required for implementation and ongoing management. And don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted marketing partners to help you vet platforms, make a decision and/or help you manage your marketing automation efforts.

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Michelle Krier
Michelle Krier is vice president of marketing and digital solutions for ClearEdge Marketing. She can be reached at mkrier (at) clearedgemarketing (dot) com.

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Ken Schuster
Ken Schuster

Ms Krier has finally done what few others have even come close to, a balanced presentation. So many discuss this subject with a passion already preset to one of the extremes. Here Ms Krier let's us start thinking about why we might want to add Marketing Automation to our consideration list and then says when you are considering it also remember...

"... remember that it will take some time to realize a return. It’s not just the cost of the software but it’s also the resource cost to manage, create content, execute campaigns, track metrics and analyze data ongoing...." also needs to be tied to previous article "Most Staffing Execs are Horrible ay Social Media"


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