No matter how much you regularly spend on advertising, or how happy you are with your marketing approach, sometimes it’s good to pull back the reigns and re-examine your strategy. At Staffing Talk we're doing exactly that.

A bit of history.  We've helped our main client, TempWorks, deliver a year with record numbers, and we've designed no small number of websites for staffing companies as well. And this last week we delivered our first marketing video for a staffing company. Yet, the glass is not half full yet. We want to up our game and re-examine things.

You might say, “Why bother? Whatever you’re doing must be working!” Well let me answer your question with another question: “How do we know that the flow of clients isn’t from word of mouth about our awesome products, stellar customer service, or the quality of our sales staff?” In essence, we have several balls rolling all at once, hoping they each help increase our name recognition and brand awareness, generate traffic to our site, and lead people to reach out and contact us. So who’s to say they couldn’t roll better, faster, or stronger?

Recently, developer extraordinaire Pete Klein and myself were asked to put our heads together and think about our marketing/advertising approach. Our decision was to simply start at square one.

What We Need:
This might seem like a simple step – you might even be thinking it’s so obvious that it’s worth skipping – but odds are your needs have changed since you first started. That combined with the fact that your company’s marketing/advertising needs might be different depending on who you ask is reason enough to write it down.

In the case of TempWorks, we identified the current need for:

  • print materials (stuff for conferences, ads for publications/billboards/etc, and stuff for our own events)
  • web materials (Google ads, “house” ads on our own sites/blogs/social media/newsletters, and ads with other websites/publications)
  • direct email marketing (sending ads to our email lists, and/or sending regular newsletters to prospects about what we can do for them)
  • PR (any press releases needed to be written/distributed)
  • analytics (setting goals and monitoring the effectiveness of our ads)

Your plan may also include things like broadcasting (radio/TV), web videos, social media campaigns, and content marketing.

The Ideal Skill Set:
If your advertising/marketing strategy can stand to be stronger, you have to consider the options of who’s in charge of it. But before we listed off the options, we identified that person/firm’s ideal skill set based on our needs:

  • Graphic Design Skills
  • Knowledge of Web Advertising and Analytics (where to advertise, how to advertise, what to say, etc.)
  • Knowledge of Other Sources & Strategies (print, radio, video, social, email, etc.)
  • Copywriting Skills

Your needs might dictate that you need someone with experience in web design, videography, social media, and/or media.

The Pluses & Minuses of Each Option:
As I said earlier, we have a lot of balls rolling at once when it comes to our advertising/marketing approach. And as such we don’t have one person/department/firm in charge of overseeing it all. So Pete and I considered the hypothetical: “what if we did?” And we proceeded to list out our options, and the advantages/disadvantages:

  • Contracting With an Agency or Firm
    + Low risk in terms of quality and dependability
    + Many experienced people of varied specialties to handle different tasks
    + Easy to find
    + Easy to fire
    - Highest cost
    - They’re off-site (more communication risk)
  • Hire a Green, Out-of-School Employee
    + They’re on-site (less communication risk)
    + We can train and groom them to our needs
    + Low cost
    - High risk of flight (not staying with us long-term)
    - Finding someone multi-talented might be tough
  • Hire a Multi-Faceted Freelancer
    + Low cost
    + Easy to fire
    - High risk in terms of quality and dependability
    - Finding someone multi-talented might be tough
    - They’re off-site (more communication risk)
  • Assign a Current Staff Member to These Duties Full-Time
    + Already know what to expect from them
    + They’re on-site (less communication risk)
    - Need to hire someone else to handle the job they did previously
    - Low likelihood that it’s the vocation they know and do best
  • Assign Multiple Current Employees to Handle This Part-Time
    + Already know what to expect from them
    + They’re on-site (less communication risk)
    + Multiple people means multiple talents to handle different tasks
    - No one’s full attention is on our Marketing & Advertising
    - More risk of bickering/disagreements
    - Low likelihood that it’s the vocation they know and do best
    - High risk in terms of consistency

Let’s Talk About It:
The final, and most important, step in this process is to meet with the necessary parties at your business and start talking through these various points. Think of this as a starting point for re-examining your strategies. What are we doing well, and how do we gauge that success? What can we improve? Is it worth it to bring someone on or contract with an agency? Should we change our focus/message? Should we totally drop ________, and start doing ________ instead?

These are a small sample of the kinds of big questions Pete, myself, and TempWorks founder Gregg Dourgarian recently powwowed about over a few beers. (And I’m sure we’ll be revisiting them repeatedly over the next few months.) This may sound like an intimidating beast to tackle, but it’s an exciting one, too. And, more importantly, it’s a necessary beast. If you don’t continue to have these kinds of brainstorms and conversations, one day your river of new clients may run dry.

Tags: Advice, TempWorks, Marketing, Gregg Dourgarian, Advertising, Pete Klein, Staffing Talk