DM Hiring Practices: Best Ways to Find Good People, Part 1
I just read an interesting article on the National Mail Order Association Web site that focused on some good news and bad news regarding hiring practices in the direct marketing industry. The article, based on a survey put out by direct marketing recruitment firm Bernhart Associates, states that hiring in our industry is expected to remain steady.
That’s some good news for DM job seekers, but the bad news is that many direct marketing companies are having difficulties finding talented direct marketers to add to their staff.
Some survey results:
* 24 percent of survey respondents were having a “very difficult” time finding qualified candidates
* 53 percent more were having a “somewhat difficult” time of it.
Yikes! What does that mean?
It has something to do with our hiring practices though. Let’s discuss.
First off, the central issue is the specialized nature of direct marketing. Put another way, general marketers (you know: those brand/image people) aren’t your best bets to fill a DM position. Brand folks know how to build image, but direct marketing is about selling first, while you brand. Direct marketing and cataloging have very specific and technical skill sets. We analyze numbers differently and develop our creative from a completely different perspective.
To borrow from a well-known analogy, we’re Macs in the PC world of branding.
Potential Direct Marketers
There are also plenty of folks who have mailed catalogs or postcards and done Internet marketing, who aren’t direct marketers. Ask them about things like cost per name, cost per lead, square inch analysis, sales per book, and they look at you like you’re talking pig Latin.
Those people have potential as direct marketers, and assuming they’re interested in developing the mindset, they can easily learn the business from the metrics on up. There are local DM clubs they can join, books they can read, magazines and columnists (like yours truly) that can fill in the blanks. There are also college courses they can attend and then they’re on their way to being direct marketers. But what I always come back to is the mindset: It’s about mindset! And of course, experience. A good mentor can always help too.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.