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Everybody Hates Their Spouse
(November 13, 2006) There are a ton of new companies out there. Sadly, there's less imagination than money. After all, who can't figure out how to throw stones at Monster? We've talked to CEOs and founders, all of whom think that they have developed a better mousetrap. Individually and as a group, they target Monster.com as their market guarantor.
The Monster product is crap, they say. Everyone we talk to hates Monster, they say. There's a huge market opportunity because customers are dissatisfied with Monster, they say.
We say, get an original script, would ya. How awful is your marketing team if this is all they can come up with.
Lord knows, we've made some money over the years by poking at Monster.com. They've been generous and continue to be our largest advertiser. They've never once asked us to back down from a well conceived criticism. Mostly, like all great companies, they hear the market and respond over time.
In one of our recent conversations, a long term industry player said, "We've interviewed 2,500 recruiters. They are uniformly dissatisfied with Monster. We're going directly after their market." It's as if he couldn't see that dissatisfaction and brand switching are not necessarily related.
You can get almost anyone to admit to some dissatisfaction with their primary personal relationship. That hardly means that divorce is imminent. It means that every relationship has some level of dissatisfaction. Building a business plan around a divorce rate based on marital dissatisfaction is pure folly.
In a clever 3 minute sound byte, Jason Goldberg takes a long and deep swipe at Monster. Generally, the spiel is a string of unsubstantiated characterizations delivered with certainty. It's an exercise in assertive "I don't like this, I don't like that." It's no surprise that Monster's team was irritated enough to ask that the video be removed. Sadly, Monster's legal move has the net effect of substantiating Goldberg's characterizations and making Joel Cheezhead a star.
PR Rule #1. If you are Goliath, never, ever stomp on David.
That's why the Recruiting Animal constantly begs us to say mean things about him. The harsher we are with him, the more his status increases. That brings us to:
PR Rule #2 If you are David, try to make Goliath stomp on you. (Take notes from Amitai who is the master of this)
Of course that makes way for
PR Rule #3 Acknowledgement empowers. Collaboration and encouragement make winners. The marketplace is a conversation. (See our recent column on David Manaster)
In the early days, Monster was often guilty of the sort of arrogance we're seeing in the startups. Breaking into the market is a hard thing to do and it requires the belief that you are pursuing a holy mission for the good of mankind. The arrogance caused them some trouble and it was ultimately replaced by good old fashioned listening to customers and critics.
The firm has hit an interesting rough patch these days. Loss of the founding CEO, regulatory grumbles and a function as the incumbent are just the tip of the iceberg. While they make unprecedented and industry changing deals, the ankle-biters will be out in force hoping to get swatted and remembered.
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Brand - your company as the place where they want to work.
Learn - about the candidates you want to hire & how to reach them.
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