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(March 03, 2004) - Although last year was dismal for most of the major vendors of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), there was an interesting surprise. Deploy, a small, well heeled Boston based startup was neck and neck with the likes of Hire.com, Recruitsoft and BrassRing for contract awards. Although Recruitmax and iCIMS underbid the market and walked away with the lion's share of deal volume, serious buyers of full service packages turned the big three into the big four by selecting Deploy as often as the others.

More than any firm in the history of the market, Deploy is developing a real conversational relationship with its customers and potential customers. The game isn't selling for the Deploy team, it's extremely proactive listening coupled with extreme quantitative discipline. They are building their own market within the existing market.

Take a look at their Alexa ranking track record:

At the tactical level, Deploy's marketing, focuses on regular, pulsed delivery of value to its growing and shrewdly manicured email list. Driven by a nearly diabolical thirst for information about customers and potential customers, each and every piece of email, Webinar, advertisement or other marketing communication is vetted before and evaluated afterwards.  The process is quantitative, looking for nuances in the statistics of delivery rates, percentages opened, Webinar conversions, customer preferences. The data is converted into better newsletters and Webinars and fed into the product development shop.

Each of the peaks in their traffic is the result of their monthly newsletter and Webinar reminders . Cleverly designed to drive specific readers to specific spots in their website (with a permanent goal of registering and understanding everyone they can), the mailings are closely monitored and tweaked to optimize response rates. While this may sound terribly mechanical, it's exactly how one executes marketing that incorporates customers into the process. Listening at Deploy happens in follow up phone calls, data analysis, predictive studies and, essentially any way that they can find to mine insight form the data they can acquire or create.

Recently, Deploy announced that they were "spinning out" Humetrics, the recently acquired provider of hourly hiring systems. The newly configured operation, minus its software products, will function as a Human Capital Think Tank.

To ensure the independence of the Humetrics organization, all of the hourly hiring systems and solutions have been eliminated from the Humetrics charter and folded into Deploy as the Deploy Hourly Solution. This leaves Humetrics to focus on the research and content areas in which it has excelled over the last 25 years. The re-positioned Humetrics (www.humetrics.com) will provide research and thought-leading content on diverse topics including:

  • staffing performance;
  • human capital metrics;
  • employee recruiting, assessment, hiring and retention;
  • diversity;
  • compliance; and
  • employment branding.
    - From the press release

It's an interesting gambit that could, if it is able to harness Deploy's quantitative muscle, make a real difference in both the future of the industry and the effectiveness of Deploy's offerings. This is an operation that has the potential to produce meaningful new insight and deliver it broadly. We think of it as ilogos on steroids.

Few customers feel comfortable with the idea that a powerful marketing department is a guarantee of product quality. When executed well, a market-responsive firm delivers what the others promise. We can assure you (from personal experience), that the Deploy Marketing team is still learning and learning from their mistakes. This is the very best thing that you could find in a relatively new entrant. With observable commitment to marketing, a relatively independent think tank and a clear coherent strategy to exploit the obvious opportunities, Deploy is building a force to be reckoned with.

John Sumser

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