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The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations Read Today's Bugler       Read current Blogging News: BERT

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Flipping the Funnel

(May 03, 2006) Heather Hamilton is a Microsoft Recruiter and legendary blogger. Long term readers will remember earlier times in which she graced these pages. Heather is at the heart of the evolution of blogging as a Recruiting form. Recently, she joined a number of other Blogging luminaries at ERE as a part of this panel:

More interesting was her approach to vendors at the conference. In a piece called "Vendors and conferences and flipping the funnel", Heather offered vendors the chance to book her time:

So I am going to flip the funnel, just for fun. Attention vendors: I am going to be at ERE in San Diego. I will reserve three fifteen minute time slots to talk to three vendors exclusively. You can pitch your product, ask me about recruiting at Microsoft or get fashion advice. First come, first served. Drop your name and contact info into the comment section and I'll contact you offline to make arrangements to meet. (One Louder)

I think Heather's move is a bellwether.

Disintermediation, the process by which the web removes friction from economic activity, always results in flatter, more intimate, less hierarchical communications and decision making. It is the driving force behind blogging, unconferences and ad hoc communication tools like Twitter. With disintermediation comes ever stronger customer power.

As she notes in the comments to her article,

So this ended up being a pretty interesting experiment. My initial intent was to figure out if vendors (the staffing variety in this case), who were accustomed to programmatic marketing ("ERE is next month, let's get our booth and send out our marketing cards") would market outside of the box (oh yes, I did just say that phrase and I am already sorry I did it). Seems that corporate staffing departments are trying to reach their customers (prospects or candidates) in new in different ways, yet staffing vendors? Not so much.

Turns out that most vendors want to market on their own terms, which is fine except for the fact that their products are going to have to pretty much walk on water (or something) to get my attention (signal to noise ratio or something like that). For someone like me, all their products blend together to form one big pulsing, tentacled blob of web 2.0. (One Louder)

The one vendor who took her up on her offer generated amazing results:

Oh, except for Jeremy's product. First off, Jeremy created somewhat of an evangelist out of me simply because he took me up on my offer. Also, considering that he told one of my co-workers that he heard I was "tough" and still went through with it, props to him : )

Not for nothing, his product is pretty dang cool. And yeah, I am going to share my feedback on it with other Staffing Managers at Microsoft. Because what Jeremy was able to do with his product is essentially flip the company/agency engagement model (not sure what it is with me and "flipping" these days) and it's brilliant. And he's an opportunist...in a good way. And I like that. (One Louder)

The current harsh distinctions between experts, audiences, vendors and customers are starting to morph. It's nearly impossible to believe that only one vendor was willing to take Heather up on her offer. She is one of the most consistently influential voices in online Recruiting. (She may have disqualified herself as an active buyer but her influence is extraordinary.)

That tells you a lot about how marketing is working these days.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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