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What can a HRD learn from a marketing director?

Paul Sparkes

As a senior marketer in the HR space I’ve long considered this an important topic. Close collaboration is needed between marketing (those traditionally responsible for projecting the voice of a company) and HR (the team closest to the voices themselves). From Paul Sparkes is Marketing Director of Cascade HR.

But the increasing velocity and magnitude of modern communications, means this collaboration is becoming more vital than ever. People love to talk, especially following the explosion of social media. When organisations are thriving and employees’ conversations are based on positive commentary, this can be a huge asset to a brand. Much like customer advocacy, it can help to raise the profile, reputation and appeal of the business concerned, which will undoubtedly encourage workforce retention, the attraction of great talent and potentially even inward investment.

When employees are dissatisfied, unmotivated or disengaged, on the other hand, they are equally if not more vocal. But their comments and behaviour in these circumstances can soon dilute the brand proposition that marketers work so hard to convey and protect. The two professions must therefore support one another in their efforts to understand and safeguard employee satisfaction, engagement and wellness, for the benefits of all concerned.

Where issues are apparent, they need to be investigated further, and this is perhaps where the answer to the original question lies. What is the key thing HRDs could learn from marketing directors? How they utilise data. Many marketers’ budgets have rocketed in recent years, for instance, because CEOs acknowledge the need to invest in tech that will help them work more effectively and efficiently. But growing budgets have also produced a greater level of scrutiny. Few activities or campaigns can be prepared or actioned without an understanding of likely ROI, and the focus is constantly on learnings that can drive future decision making thereafter.

The life of a marketer is now as much about data, as it is strategic communications. Marketing directors are proactively looking for trends, so that their teams can start doing less of what doesn’t work and more of what does. They’re thinking ahead, making daily decisions with long-term benefits. They’re continually applying new findings to ensure those decisions are smarter and evidence-based. And they’re measuring every action and bottom-line impact.

Senior marketers perhaps didn’t set out to be information analysts, but to enhance their work they’ve embraced the role that data interrogation and modelling can play. HRDs are increasingly being expected to do the same and, if they look at marketing, they’ll see that it’s worth the effort. From pulse surveys that give real-time insight into the ‘health’ of a company, to the formation of personas that help drive more strategic recruitment, data lies at the heart. It will empower HR teams to do their jobs more effectively, demonstrate the outcomes of their strategies and ensure more robust, satisfied employees moving forward.

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