Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The Dos and Don’ts of Christmas Advertising

Have an excellent guest post from Alexsia Louca - Senior Account Manager at OME - so here goes Alexsia...

It’s the campaign you have been planning for (and for some clients dreading) since the last campaign finished. It comes around every December and yet every year it is the same struggle that every retail company faces – the hiring of the Christmas temps! *Cue scary music, people running away in a mad panic and screaming*

Now that this year’s campaigns are slowly coming to an end, here at OME we have compiled a little list of Dos and Don’ts that we thought could come in handy when it comes to Christmas 2019. (Yep, we are already talking about next year’s advertising!)

• Don’t leave it to the last minute – If you’re hiring for staff to start near end of the year, you will want to start advertising early to mid-September at least - your competitors may have already started their advertising and already collecting CVs from eager candidates (not to mention they will be thinking of the busy periods retail will face such as Halloween, Firework night etc!) which you will not want to miss out on. It is worth a big blast to start your campaign with added exposure to different audiences throughout this time so you are constantly seen by an active and passive audience!

• Don’t make it hard to apply – Remember candidates will be wanting to work for your company but will also be applying for other roles at the same time meaning they will want to apply easily and quickly as possible. The longer candidate journey of viewing role your advert to submitting an application is, the easier it is for an application to drop off and for the CV to never be submitted due to long application processes. Try looking at your process and seeing how you can make things easier for your candidates to apply.

• Don’t make job titles too complicated – This one we see quite often – we understand companies have strict branding and will want to have job titles that are on brand and want to stand out from the competitors (for example:- Sales Elf, Santa’s Assistant, Rudolph’s Delivery Driver etc etc…) HOWEVER!! The harder you make your job to be searched for the lower down your role will appear in the search results when a candidate is searching for a role. To put it simply, think like a candidate – If they searching for Sales Assistants, chances are they will be typing “Sales Assistants” in a search engine!

• Do your homework – It is worth searching online to see what your competitors are advertising, where they are doing this and how! This will give you a great idea as to how and how not advertise your roles when it comes to your next campaign.

• Do add keywords and benefits! Remember keywords in job descriptions do help boost your roles up in the search results, so for example if you cannot change your job title to be more suitable then at least add in those keywords to make sure your role is relevant to what a candidate is searching for and if you cannot guarantee a permanent a position to work at your company, then do sell them the benefits as to why they should come and work for you temporarily (especially if you are giving them staff discount to help with their Christmas shopping!)

• Lastly… Do come and speak to us if you need advice on what kind of job titles to use, copywriting to make sure your advert sends out the right message to candidates or even something simple as what is the average salary that is being advertised for similar roles – this is the kind of information that we have either learnt along the way or can research for you to make sure you Christmas Recruitment dreams really do come true!

Thanks Alexsia - my only additional comment is Please, Please, Please DON'T use crappy Xmas based puns (see certain Alexsia examples above) - otherwise guaranteed appearance on Naughty List.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Life's a Pitch (and OME wedding bells)

This is a personal take - I really don't like pitching for business and I don't think I (or we) as a business are actually very good at it. I think I can talk a little more about this - having won a few recently so its not sour grapes I don't think.

So why are we so bad (IMHO)?

1. We don't have a new biz team or even person - so we have to fit it into our day job - and as we all know pitching is super time consuming. And your current clients really ought to take priority.

2. The process doesn't showcase our strengths particularly well. We are all about saving money, improving results, effective media, lots and lots of sometimes small improvements, great service. Now they are powerful things but they don't always display well in a presentation to 4 strangers (indeed they can be quite dull things to talk about in the Beauty Contest). We rarely (if ever) present creative and that is sometimes the currency in this format.

3. As for the RFP documents - well they are horrible (sometimes necessary) and if we are going to do more - we have to employ someone to perform this function.

4. I really, really hate losing. In front of client, the team and any partners I smile and laugh along and make funny throwaway comments about - "their loss" or "better off without them" - and we carry on with OME client business. I then silently sulk for a week (fortnight....). the sulk definitely lasts longer than the ephemeral pleasure of the victory.

As I always mention (sorry)- we are blessed by this amazing referral network of clients (past and present) who go out of their way to recommend us in and the OME team are incredibly well regarded and connected people that pitches are far less frequent than a warmer intro into a client and opportunity to show them what we can do.
But we are the size now where we need to have multiple routes to the market so we'll still be in there swinging over the next year.

And finally the most important news item is that I had the pleasure of attending Chloe (OME head of media) wedding to the beautiful Amy last month - congrats to them both and looking forward to the London celebration next week!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Events....Conferences etc

Have attended and indeed spoken at a few events in last month or so and some experiences have been better than others. This is my personal guide / checklist to enjoying/ benefitting from / enduring a conference / briefing etc

1. short - concise - brief please. This is a massive personal thing and driven by my inability to concentrate for longer than about 5 minutes on anything. I am happy do a breakfast briefing for a couple of hours or an afternoon. 3 days in Birmingham - not so much.

2. Limited in scope (clearly impacts on Point 1) - I LOVE a topic that I can legitimately feel that 2 hours later I will know a lot more and be able to retain some of that info - rather than too much info and retain nothing.

3. I don't actually mind a sales pitch as long as its clear, to the point and relevant

4. Interactivity can be bloody hard to get going - but if you can - everyone is happier

5. Venue - doesn't need to be 5 star luxury but easy to find and accessible helps

6. Different - (again can be trickier than it sounds) but some speakers could do with taking a year off the circuit...

Sounds easy - yes???

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Google for Jobs - is it all that?

So, people at OME have expended a huge of volume of words and advice on this topic over the last year - advising on getting our clients ready for the launch and making sure they benefit from the changes that will occur to job seeker traffic. This was valuable and absolutely necessary>

I now though want to float my theory about why Google for Jobs will NOT be the seismic change in how employers generate candidate traffic* which is a counterpoint to all the articles we have all read over the last few months

* as ever I could be 100% wrong

so here goes....

1. Google are all about the user and the user experience - does Google for Jobs really and I mean REALLY change the experience significantly? It largely delivers major orgs listings on major job boards - from the user perspective - how different/better is it the mix of Indeed and job board listings before?

2. No simpler way to say this but I just don't like the look of the results page very much (in the UK) - surely that can be better?

3. Which makes me doubt how much Google are really into this. Their strategy is to embed themselves in people's lives - obviously that includes shopping, lifestyle, advice and guidance (?) etc - G4J seems quite small beer in comparison.

4. On initial data analysis - we are seeing a shift in traffic sources for jobs/adverts but it's at the edges (5-8%)and there are winners and losers but again that is NOT seismic. And obviously the universe of candidate traffic has not been expanded -its just slightly redistributed.

5. Google Pay Per Click is a net loser - so absolutely you would think that a monetising of G4J would be in the pipeline further down the line. but that is some way off.

6. G4J has been going 14 months in the USA and Indeed are doing just fine and dandy - and yes, there have been benefits to the big aggregators of jobs (LinkedIn, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter etc) but I would have been expecting those guys to continue their progress on traffic / market-share anyway.

For sake of clarity - we/you can get competitive advantage by making content/jobs SEO friendly, attractive and engaging, concise and clear - what I'm saying is that G4J doesn't change that.

OK - importantly a caveat - this is a UK snapshot as we enter Q4 2018 so things change but would love to hear from anyone who agrees/disagrees/thinks I'm clearly an idiot (actually don't bother if you are in the third group)

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Working at OME

So Alexsia came up with the sensible suggestion that, as we are on a recruiting drive at moment, I may want to write about what's its like working at OME - blimey this is like proper Content Marketing! One of the team did comment: "what would Dom bloody know about working at OME?"* but they now will be no longer be working with us much longer so lets move along.

* they didn't use the word "bloody"

If you want to know more detail (about the work and clients) you can look at adverts or our website - however this is my extremely biased view of why OME is a pretty cool place to make a career.

We have a spookily amazing record of retaining staff and clients; this is one of the things I'm most proud of. It indicates that we supply a very good service, treat our staff well and develop them - and lets be clear, there is a clear link between retaining staff and clients.

We've been going for over 11 years and in 10 of those years we've grown significantly year on year. Now that's great for our revenues and indeed margins, but from an employee perspective: growth means you have new clients, new challenges and the ability to fast track your career (if you want to move at that pace).

We value having as good a relationship with suppliers and partners as we do with clients. Great media campaigns are truly built around a network of like-minded people trying to get things right and being skilled enough to make sure we do get it right nearly always...

"Nearly always" is a key phrase - none of us is perfect.

We (clients, staff, and I included) all make mistakes - at OME we won't hang you out to dry and single you out. But we do expect you to take control of the situation and work with your team mates to sort it out. Here's a small career tip: don't make exactly the same mistake too often!

Of course we do work hard and expect you have to a great attitude, but we also all have lives in the real world. We want this to be a place where you feel comfortable getting support from us when stuff happens - whatever that stuff is. Our experience is that flexible working can work as well for the employer as the employee; so it's always worth talking.

Anyway - I could carry on - but essentially if you're bright, know your stuff (or want to become an expert) then let us know and we'd love to talk to you.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

OME - What are we?

In grave danger of disappearing up my own bottom - i've been contemplating recently about what we are as a business - what services we deliver etc.

What are the options?

1. Recruitment Advertising Agency - This didn't really work for us 10 years ago and so now when we get lumped into that bracket I feel that it’s especially ill-suited to what we do.

2. Media Planning/Buying Agency - we do a shed load of this so – it’s not wrong - but it’s pretty limiting and doesn't cover all the other stuff we deliver

3. "Recruiter/Employer Marcomms"? – that is so dull and pretty meaningless

So...….I increasingly occasionally refer to us as a Performance Agency - in that we create campaigns, optimise, manage, report and are targeted by clients to produce tangible results - typically applications / hires. This is very much a term nicked from the consumer marketing world.

But it does cover the brand work, tech work, the innovation, planning/buying, campaign mgmt, analytics, content etc. So not a terrible fit

Tell you what - I think I should go back to doing something useful and leave labels, names, mission statements well alone.

Monday, 11 June 2018

When New Business Meetings Go Bad

OK - so I’m writing this as we have been on a lovely run of successful client acquisition and basking in the warmth of market affirmation of the services/approach we provide so I feel happy to re-open old wounds. This happened about 4 years ago. And I use this story to make me realise that we’re not always as good as we think we are (and I can be a complete deluded idiot)

This is the story of OME's worst new business meeting and within which I think are some key lessons for us all (mainly me). So here are the bare bones;

1. It was a pretty cold recommendation/referral - they didn't know us, we didn't know them, first warning sign. I think they were seeing about 4 other wildly different agencies in one day too.

2. The brief was kind of on the edge of our capabilities/core skill set - hence we had to bring in outside resource - who probably weren't as committed as us.

3. We had contemplated pulling out due to above factors and we were really, really busy with existing clients. Important to add – we’ve never had a new biz dept here - the people you meet are the people who look after you long term – so we don't have a week to exclusively prep for presentation. But essentially we weren't really mentally committed so problems were palpably imminent.

4. Preparation was not what it should have been….let’s leave it at that.

5. The day arrived - and the crack team (led by yours truly) had argued and bitched about the quality of what we were about to discuss for 24 hours before. This was not helped by another OME Director (yes - Sean i'm talking about you) who had been blissfully uninvolved stepping in late to recommend changing all the content. His advice was 100% correct but useless by this time.

6. Warmly welcomed by the client into the meeting - my approach was of unwarranted optimism and misplaced confidence - and things were going well for about 3 minutes during the intros. But then we had to actually say some things of substance....

7. The client disagreed fundamentally with our first conclusion/recommendation from which the whole presentation was based, with a friendly face but a clear look of "you guys are clearly complete idiots, how stupid are you!"

8. If I'd had a shred of dignity - then I would have packed up our stuff, made our apologies and made our exit. But sadly I do not have any dignity, and went for a different approach.

9. I can best describe the next 40 minutes as most resembling that of a fish on a deck of a boat, thrashing around wildly to no particular purpose and having zero influence on the end result. I was speaking a lot I remember that - but I have no memory of the content of anything I said. I think I was officially trying to "pivot" and bring our content back round to what they wanted. I didn't know what they wanted - but I certainly knew they didn't want us.

10. And yet....when we left the meeting - I was so hyped up and deluded - I said to my colleagues in the lift "I thought that went ok in the end....." they looked at me with wide eyed pity. By the time the lift reached the ground floor (it took about 4 floors or maybe 10 seconds of time) the reality of the car crash I had been part of had hit home.

11. And you know what crazy thing happened? They only went and appointed us!
Maybe - in my dreams they did. Nope - about 10 days later we eventually got some communication that said in polite terms that we were every bit as bad as we thought.

I think the learning points are blatantly obvious so wont labour the point. But qualify the quality of the meeting, if you are going to do it – fully commit, prepare extensively – follow these rules (which we typically do very well) and things will go fine. We have found being crystal clear about we do brilliantly and honest about what services we don't offer really earns the trust of our prospective and current clients too.

But anyway it’s all ok now as its such ancient history that in the last year I probably only ever think back to being in that meeting once or twice......a day.