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.

Friday, 11 May 2018

What do you get for $1.2 Billion these days?

So the big news in our world is that Recruit holdings who own Indeed bought Glassdoor for 1.2 billion greenbacks - so here's my hot take on it

1. Had no idea this was on the cards but it makes all sort of sense.

2. Indeed is hugely successful, expanding and effective but if it has weaknesses - it is that their audience is not as engaged as they want it to be (they may disagree but....) - that is their traffic get what they want from Indeed and move on quickly.

3. Indeed also have the small issue of Google taking them on - head on (Google is not anyone's idea of a competitor you want to have launch against you).

4. Glassdoor is a phenomenon - growing fast and a/the key engagement platform for jobseekers/employees (depending on sector). They have a very large global audience (47m Unique Users per month) and it is very engaged - (avg time on site 2 mins 40 seconds ) but....

5. I think Glassdoor are having greater difficulties monetising the platform than they had envisaged and certainly not as quickly as they would like. Converting this traffic into applications and clear tangible ROI that clients are happy to pay big money for is not an easy job.

I'm going to ignore the current take that they will be run as completely separate businesses etc - they all say that in year 1 - in year 2 not so much.....

So combine a hugely engaging platform with a hugely effective traffic driver and you get alchemy / magic / hyper growth / supercharged results

As we all know making it happen is not quite as simple but 100% get the logic and there will be some very clever people paid large amounts of money who will be charged with getting a return on that $1.2Bn!

Friday, 20 April 2018

Welcome and Thanks for Attending.....

We spoke at a great event for in-house talent this week (alongside sponsors Reed.co.uk) and while getting our content together I realised what i like to see when i attend these sorts of thing as a delegate and therefore to make sure what we talk about and how we talk about it - fits that bill

1. Most obviously - none of us want to attend for content/info/research and be sold to for 45+ minutes. We are all grown-ups and clearly the organisers are generally doing it for business reasons but make the selling bit either very short or very much implicit.

2. Not all that keen on wonderful case studies where everything goes right, results amazing, budgets plentiful as in our experience that's not how the real world works. We all learn more from the difficult bits than the easy bits - yes? I have never yet had someone say to me I don't think you are a great partner/supplier as the example you showed us clearly did not go perfectly.

3. This may be my personal weakness and slight ADHD - but keep an individual session to maybe absolute maximum 40 mins - as my brain cant cope after that.

4. The organisation of event is really important - have a nice venue, welcome the attendees, have people on hand to chat, try and start (and definitely finish) on time.

And as a speaker - I always want to seek honest feedback so that I can improve in future but only on one condition that the feedback is "you were really good and everyone thought so".

Monday, 9 April 2018

What is going on?

It feels like we have existed in economic uncertainty for so long now (Brexit, weak pound, some sectors performing poorly) that it's just become the New Normal. And I think a healthy attitude when running any sort of business is to ignore the macro and concentrate on your own performance. At the end of the day there is absolutely sod all we can do to affect the UK/European/Global economy so what is the point in worrying about it.

The above is a long winded way of introducing the fact that Q1 2018 was a very strong month for candidate attraction activity (media, social, content) certainly for OME but also I think for the market generally and so the bigger economic factors aren't affecting things negatively (at this point - I probably should insert the word YET). Predictably aggregator and social spend is up year on year but less predictably according to some - the job board spend is strong too. I gave up on predictions a few years ago due to a terrible record at predicting correctly - but I feel comfortable that we can all agree on the statement that - Things are changing, talk, listen (clients, suppliers, partners) and be nimble and flexible to react to these changes - and repeat.

Finally - we have an event next week - come along and find out more about what's going on out there


Monday, 19 February 2018

What is Programmatic Advertising? (2018 version)

OME is spending more and more on programmatics as a type of media and our classic job board spend is pretty flat (for reference - LinkedIn still increasing significantly, social way up, future/early talent probably our biggest growth sector which crosses all media/platforms).

However - I think we need to define the phrase Programmatic Advertising as it is used in many different ways by many different people (not necessarily wrongly)

So I want to define what it will now mean for OME and its clients

Programmatics is performance based advertising that we can manage via our automated technology and/or human intervention. Based on performance of adverts/campaigns - spend can be managed in the most efficient/effective ways. Its all about quality analytics with skilled interpretation and active campaign management.

What does this mean?

This means that job boards, aggregators, LinkedIn, social, behavioural/re-targeting can all be programmatic

its a methodology or approach not a type of media.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Account Management

A classic question I get when in a new business meeting or just chatting with clients - is "What's OME account management structure?" and "how can it meet our needs?". And I think they expect me to have an answer that goes into detail of layers of acc mgmt/SLAs/Process etc and I don't. Let me be clear - we have a couple of docs which go into detail about these things but I think they are just at best - a start - or at worse - window dressing.

Let me explain why:

1. All clients are different
2. Even clients who look/sound/feel alike are all completely different
3. Nobody knows at outset of exactly how service intensive an account will be (OME's largest billing client would not be in top 5 of hours spent by team in servicing)
4. We have 84 current clients and approx 15-20 major ones - three have OME staff onsite - many have weekly meetings - more have monthly - one we didn't see in whole of 2017 (international and it just didn't happen through no fault of client or us)
5. Most have SLAs - vast majority have never referred to it since it was signed
6. Majority of clients want a personal friendly efficient value driven service - the rest want that but without the personal friendly bit.

So what I'm saying is - when a client engages with a business like OME - still independent/nimble/bespoke - they are doing so as they believe that we will offer the service to match their need - not to have to match their needs to our service.

Our job is to make sure our service offering is robust yet flexible and highly matched to what they need/want.

And the happy ending (so far) is that plenty (enough!) clients seem to like too!