3 Lessons HR Can Learn from Marketing

By Jennifer Birch

Marketing might seem like a completely different world for those in Human Resources (HR), as it is centered on attracting customers to the company, rather than its prospective and current employees. Despite this difference, both still cater to a company’s stakeholders, and there are influential marketing methods that any HR professional should consider practicing for more productivity and a fresh approach. That said, here are three lessons HR personnel can learn from marketing:

1. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

In this ever-advancing digital age, the undeniable dominance of social media channels has changed the landscape of marketing. And the field has quickly adapted to the technological environment with successful social media strategies. These new marketing mediums have flourished in our fast-paced society, since they can quickly capture the attention of users.

Case in point, the New York Public Library (NYPL) was able to help revive the presence of libraries among the public through its Black Friday online campaign last year. Social media was set ablaze when they heard that the NYPL declared an amazing Black Friday deal of free books for everyone — that is, from the public library. This tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign proved to be a huge success, as Forbes reports that the advertisement generated a great increase in web traffic, bringing in 30,000 more visitors to the NYPL website.

HR departments can adopt the use of social media to their practices, too, as it will not only help garner attention to their recruitment processes, but it can also help streamline the type of employee they want to hire. Through creative marketing tools like Canva or Wistia, , HR professionals can create smart promotional material that can boost the company’s presence on social media and, in turn, make it easier to find the talent you’re searching for.

2. Know Your Target Audience

When it comes to communication, marketing teams know that it’s key to understand the audience whom they’re speaking to. This is why creating effective communication strategies is an essential component of marketing, since it helps them have a better grasp of what their customer wants.

One key component of this is using the correct channels of communication, based on different factors like age, occupation, and even location. Indeed, Hong Kong-based digital agency Ayima highlight the importance of knowing the platforms that audiences are most comfortable using — Baidu and WeChat for instance, are used in China, where everywhere else is dominated by Google and Facebook. This can be especially useful for multinational corporations and those whose target audiences are pretty diverse.

You can incorporate this communication approach in your HR practice by knowing who your target audience is, and meeting them halfway. While you may not have to worry about the platforms above in your HR practice (unless of course, you are managing international teams), it’s important to be mindful of all the aspects that come to play when you communicate with an audience. Place yourselves in their shoes, and think about how employees would like their workplace to be improved, or what prospective hires are searching for in a new employer — and then, consider where these can best be communicated.

3. Be More Human

With higher efficiency and reach, newer technologies have made impactful strides in marketing — whether it’s in the rate at which messages can be sent out, or the vast amounts of data that can be collected for better marketing decision-making. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the absence of personal communication has created a roadblock for marketing teams to connect with their customers.

To break these digital barriers, they’ve learned that one of the best ways to personally reach out to the public is to relay messages that people can connect with. For example, Nike recently had a groundbreaking advertisement entitled “Dream Crazy”, which promoted the message of constantly believing in one’s self regardless of the circumstances.

On that note, HR practitioners should consider showing a more personal side of the company, since this will give audiences a better look inside the culture of the company. What’s more, this approach can also help generate more honest and productive feedback to help the HR department improve its structure and policies.