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.
Who’s Swimming in the Talent Pool?
There’s really no shortage of raw talent out there in the job market at any time. Just place an ad on Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com and see how deluged you’ll get with resumes. Whether the people sending in the resumes are qualified, well, that’s another story. The last time I placed an ad for an art director, I received close to 600 resumes that ran the entire gamut, from newbie graphic designer, to seasoned VP’s of marketing.
All of this leads to HR and hiring manager brain rot as companies try to separate the wheat from the chaff.
It’s just too darn easy to click a button and fire off a resume to any position that meets a specific keyword search. We need some better filters here and not of the electronic variety either. Truthfully, the days of sending resumes via snail mail and fax were somewhat better, but even then it wasn’t ideal.
Next week, I’ll get into the interview process and other factors involved in hiring catalog pros. Speak to you then.
Reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.