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Different Audiences

(October 25, 2004) In addition to your basic "in the process" job hunter, there are several other audiences you might consider as targets for a job ad. It's useful to remember that reaching different audiences usually involves the use of different properties. Reaching the active job hunter is easy, thinking about the motivations and web browsing habits of other target audiences is not as easy. The reason that a competitive advantage can be gained by focusing on audiences and the web sites that reach them is precisely the result of the hard work involved.

Picking the target audience is a part of the preparation process for developing an ad. A general rule of thumb is that the more gainfully employed your target is, the further away from overt employment sites you want to go. In the IT arena, operations like DICE have the potential to put your message closer to careerists and further from job changers, for example. SV.com may be the most remarkable operation in terms of targeting technology professionals who are not looking but are open.

(We wonder about the long term utility of systems that display ads from a variety of sources without regard to the original ad writer's intent. We'd expect a relative decline in overall quality of the responses to the precise extent that ads are not specifically targeted. We also wonder when the large scale players are going to start helping their customers by providing targeting within the large databases. After all, no one wants to reach all umpteen million visitors. At best, they want to reach the right 10. The big resume dumps might be best seen as a step away from the automated unemployment office, but just a step.)

When thinking about audience reach, you might imagine a scale of receptiveness to an employment message (with obvious lead time implications:
  • Desperately Looking
  • Worried and Looking
  • Frustrated and Looking
  • Contractors and Temps
  • Layoff Witnesses (Not Looking but Should)
  • Planning and Researching (Soon To Be Looking)
  • Wanting More Money In Current Job
  • Craving More Challenge In Current Job
  • Looking To Improve Performance In Current Job (A Highly Desirable Bunch)
  • Lifestyle Changes Bring Financial Needs (Frustrated for Non Job Reasons)
  • Fast Trackers (Happy in Current Job but Easily Dissatisfied)
  • Happy In Current Job
  • Working to Pay The Rent
(Isn't it interesting that the desirability of a potential employee is almost inversely related to the position on this list?)

While the scale isn't perfect or complete, it is clear that you would reach out to each segment with a different message.)

You can further segment the list by profession and geography. Depending on which segment you wish to reach, you use a different message and (most likely) a different communications platform (property).

 -John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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