The Results Are In! Trends in HR Marketing 2010/2011 Survey (niche mktg is back)

The Results Are In!

Marketing and business leaders from across the industry have provided their insight and responses to our annual Trends in HR Marketing Survey.

One of the more startling statistics from our research is that most HR vendors will maintain or increase their marketing budgets next year. This is a dramatic turnaround, because last year 30% of the respondents said they were decreasing their budgets in 2010.

So does this mean all HR vendors are optimistic about the future and seeing improved economic activity?


When we cross tabulated our budget question we found that HR vendors in certain product categories were more likely to be increasing their budgets in 2010. The top industries were:
  1. Talent Management
  2. Rewards & Recognition (incentives)
  3. HR Consulting
  4. Screening & Assessments
  5. Outsourcing (HRO and RPO)
  6. Training & Development
And some product categories, like Payroll Processing, were more likely to be decreasing their budgets.

OK, so can we infer that certain HR product categories are hotter than others?

Well, yes and no and this is where it gets really interesting.

Even in high growth product categories like wellness and incentives, not all vendors are having success.


A conversation I had with Lee Klepinger, CEO of a leadership development firm Impact Achievement Group (IAG) sheds light on some of the reasons (disclosure: IAG is an customer).

Lee has been experiencing rapid growth the last several -- at the expense of his larger competitors. And while a big chunk of IAG's business is from Fortune 500 businesses, the growth is primarily coming from SMB's - a segment, according to Lee, most of his competitors ignore.

A lot of companies in the leadership development space -- and the broader human capital marketplace -- have lived off their Fortune 500 clients. But compared to SMBs, the larger companies tend to have longer sales cycles (6 - 12 months) and many have been downsizing and cutting HR budgets. Conversely, SMBs have shorter sales cycles (in some cases weeks) and many are in growth mode - particularly in certain industries like healthcare and some retail segments. Lee is making a killing in these market segments.

Yet some of IAGs competitors were slow to penetrate the SMBs and have been unwilling to adjust price points. A common statement from some of these vendors was "we don't need leads, we have all the business we can handle".

But if a majority of your business is coming from a few large customers, the risk is high and when those companies stop buying the result is a sudden drop off in revenue and an empty pipeline of qualified buyers.

The key takeaways for HR vendors is (1) don't stop lead-generating marketing and (2) market segmentation - something many marketers have failed to do effectively.

Niche marketing is back.

A report issued recently shows "The U.S. economy grew unevenly" in early fall, with more than half the regions of the country expanding modestly while others struggled to grow.

And a report from Kelly Services listed the Top 25 Fastest Growing Industries for 2010 to 2011.

Segmentation, segmentation......

In fact, at the request of many of our clients we recently added industry channel “tags” to every profile across our information databases in our HRmarketer software. This helps marketers quickly find relevant information for their niche marketing campaigns. For example, a human resource company targeting the “hourly” marketplace can select tags such as hourly, healthcare, retail, food services or hospitality to get an instant list of key media outlets, journalists and conferences in these industries.

This helps HR suppliers more easily create and manage niche industry marketing campaigns — something absolutely critical in the current business climate where the needs and financial strength of companies vary greatly across industries (we'll blog about this in more detail in the future and also talk about how your messaging may need to be tweaked for each segment).

Here are some other highlights from our recent HR Marketing Trend Reports that we shared via our @HRmarketer twitter account the last several weeks using the hashtag #HR_MktgTrends:

Download the report today.

It's really good.

Enjoy -- and if you need help making sense of the findings please contact HRmarketer.

Post by HRmarketer CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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