As the recruitment industry grows, the number of tools available is also increasing. The challenge is that the nature of current market conditions in the UK means that budgets are being scrutinised more aggressively, meaning that marketers are more concerned than ever about their budgets being cut. However, it is important to remember that, in this new era of globalisation, UK businesses compete not just domestically but also internationally. A recent study by Gartner highlights that in the US marketing budgets are expanding again after 2021, now constituting 9,5% of overall revenue. A UK business that cuts back on marketing now risks losing its own market to international competitors. With that in mind, what are the practical steps one can take to maximise one’s marketing budget?

Firstly, clarify responsibilities. What is marketing currently responsible for, compared to what it traditionally used to be? With the rise of technology, marketing is being tasked with significantly more than it was five years ago. Take your website as an example: in years gone by a website only needed to be a brochure, but now in order for it to have value it needs to create engagement. Creating that engagement takes up some of the resources of the marketing team. For example, do you test how good your website is and actively improve it, or is it the same as it was five years ago? If it is the same, what damage is that doing to your business?

Secondly, what are your priorities? What is marketing tasked with achieving? Traffic for your website? Social media traction? Requests from clients for proposals? In order to efficiently allocate resources, first clarify what the priorities of marketing should be. From there work to meet those and determine how much of what you are currently spending is working to achieve those goals and how you can prove it.

Thirdly, what are the opportunities? What are the new solutions emerging that historically have not been available? When you analyse your competitors, where are they investing their marketing spend and what do you see them repeatedly doing that you are not doing? With regard to your existing suppliers, how often do you fully evaluate their offers against other solutions? Could you be getting better results with the same budget by just improving procurement? For example, while changing CRMs is a painful exercise that should be done with caution, if there was a better solution for your needs, which would cost the same or less, isn’t it worth investigating?

With all this you can analyse what ROI are you being tasked with and whether that is even realistic: in order to achieve what is being mandated, you may need to increase spend. For example, if there is only one job board that consistently delivers results but charges more than your budget allows, arguably spend should be increased. Also, do you have autonomy for your entire budget and task ROI against it, or are you being given fixed budget lines within it and then having to make ROI work against each area? If you can, negotiate taking ownership of the entire budget, so you can be free to dump non-performing areas and re-invest in others.

Also, if a tool has multiple functions, can you split the budget? With Vacancy Tracker, as it has the benefits of not being only a lead-generation tool but also a way to manage client activity, quite often operational budget is allocated. The rise of internal recruiters means that they typically will be posting jobs directly onto their ATS before briefing PSL agencies, and internal hiring managers are briefed not to talk to the agencies. This means that when agency recruiters call to enquire about jobs with a company they have PSL terms with, they are told to check the company’s websites. With that in mind, Vacancy Tracker makes your consultants more effective in their day to day job, as it means they are keeping track of all client activity, so they can be preparing candidates for the moment they are able to work the instruction. Therefore business unit leaders should be amenable to splitting cost with marketing, freeing up budget for other areas.


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