A Count that Counts: The Census is Coming! The Census is Coming!

A recent article from the Economist A count that counts: This year’s tally of America will help shape corporate strategy for a decade talks about how the 2010 census (a physical tally of everyone living in the country which takes places every 10 years as stipulated by the constitution) results will determine (1) the distribution of seats in Congress and (2) how about $400 billion in federal funds will get allocated.

The census also "constitutes the country’s biggest and most complete market-research survey…".

For human resource software and services vendors it is invaluable. We referenced the last census when outlining the human resource marketplace and we look forward to updating our overview of the HR marketplace when the 2010 data is available.

There was one particular quote in this Economist article that I found quite interesting - and correct.
"The 2010 census will permanently change marketing. When companies analyse the census data, they will see that cities, and even some neighbourhoods, are so diverse now that broad advertising campaigns are no longer suitable. Mass-market advertising will become extinct. Marketers will instead have to focus on reaching specific households." - Peter Francese, a demographer at Ogilvy & Mather.
Our recent Trends in HR Marketing survey HR Buyers’ Behavior 2009, What to Expect in 2010, touches on this fact. For many product categories in HR, mass marketing to all companies of all sizes and industries is still effective. We know this because we see many HR vendors benefiting from sending direct email campaigns to our list of 90,000 HR professionals.

But you can no longer draw broad based conclusions from any research that treats all employers equally and attempts to predict what the nations’ employers may or may not do. It can’t be done – there are too many micro-economies. Some companies in a particular region or in a particular niche industry may be growing like gangbusters while other regions or markets are hemorrhaging. This was evident in 2009. To get a true picture you must ask the same questions by geography and vertical market.

This presents some challenging, yet very interesting opportunities for the marketing departments of HR vendors in 2010. Plenty of growth opportunities exist – you just need to do a little work to find these opportunities and then allocate marketing and PR resources to exploit these opportunities - and tailor the message accordingly. What resonates with manufacturing companies in the South may be completely different than what resonates with similar companies in the West. Sounds obvious but many companies still deliver the same message to all prospects and miss opportunities.

We look forward to the Census 2010.

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