There’s no silver bullet when it comes to finding the perfect time to invest in or market to an organization. The best we can do is to use all the available information to paint the best picture of what is happening behind the scenes. Nobody would pull a set of random companies out of a hat and start investing, right? Even the “random” sets of companies contained in index funds aren’t really random. The companies generally contain a common theme and on average you can expect a predictable result across the entire index. Hiring patterns offer predictive insights into where a company is headed and can be used to make informed decisions about when to engage with a promising organization.
When developing a marketing strategy, you are creating an investment strategy. You’re investing time and money into targeting a specific subset of organizations that you think best fit for your product or service. We should take the same amount of care as an investor would in developing a strategy to determine which companies to focus on and when to do it.
Understanding when a shift is happening that will create value or require additional services and support can make the difference in an efficient investing or marketing strategy. Gaining insight into a company is not always straight forward, but using the public information available to optimize your time and money spent can set you apart from the competition, much like the advantage hedge funds gain by the granular analysis of individual firms.
Hiring patterns are an exceptional way to gain insight into a company’s current and future activities. As projects come and go and technology advances around it, a company’s workforce composition must adapt to keep up with market trends. Hiring patterns coupled with other key indicators such as new product announcements, operational movements and revenue growth can provide supplemental information into the not-so-public plans of an organization. Plans for a new software product launch will often be preceded by a surge in hiring in the Development department. Plans for overseas expansion may warrant the hiring of an HR executive with global operations experience. Increased concern over customer data security may be signaled by an uptick in IT security specialists. Depending on products or services you offer, these can be valuable and actionable insights. Sure, every determination may not be relevant, but a positive deviation from the mean can make all the difference.
There is an incredible amount of job turnover in the United States economy. Each month, there are approximately 200,000 net jobs are added to the economy (about 2M total in 2017). As companies redistribute efforts and alter goals to reflect market changes, their workforce composition changes. Consider the difference in workforce composition at insurance companies over the years as they slowly transitioned from human-centric workforces to technology-enabled workforces. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 5.8M job openings as of the beginning of 2018 in the United States. Although this is an estimate and only a fraction of openings are advertised for public consumption, it offers a sizable pool of data for insight discovery.
- Position — Organizational hiring patterns across departments and within departments can indicate a general shift of where a company is headed. This could be related to new product launches, increased hiring elsewhere in the company, a change in sales or marketing strategy, new logistics plans or even changes in healthcare options for its current employees. Depending on your business, there is likely an insight to be leveraged by analyzing the makeup of current and past hiring activities when it comes to where a company is focusing its growth or reduction. Who a company is hiring is correlated with what they are doing.
- Location — Shifts in the geographic distribution of hiring can be related to the growth plans of an organization. New hiring in a certain department in a new country could signal future growth of a market segment in a previously un-tapped location. It could also signal the intention to move part of its operations overseas to cut costs.
- Timing — The right timing to offer services or products to a set of companies is difficult to nail down. Depending on your product, it might make sense to swoop in right when there is a change at the top of the totem pole. For example, a new CMO is brought in and may be in the mood to try some new marketing strategies. Alternatively, if there is a significant shake up at an existing customer, it may be a good time to check in to make sure everything is on track. There may not always be a press release or a big email announcement for significant internal organizational transitions, but they may still be important to your relationship with them. The timing of hiring peaks and valleys gives you a window to see what isn’t being said.
The general knowledge and awareness of what is happening inside your target organizations provides metrics for prioritizing outreach programs, but it also leads to conversational talking points that increase the level of customization for each interaction. Every organization is different, and a more customized message undoubtedly improves engagement metrics. The main challenge is how to automate the insight discovery process for each individual account. Automated and real-time detection of hiring patterns and organizational shifts is a great starting point for being able to segment the market into buckets specifically tailored to your marketing goals.