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Employer marketing is not consumer marketing: Why that matters

Shari NeumannMay 25, 2023AnalyticsAwarenessCandidate ExperienceCareer SitesConnectionEmployer BrandingEmployer Value PropositionRecruitment CampaignsRetentionSocial and Content Marketing

Employer marketing has evolved from help-wanted signs, static career sites, and word-of-mouth promotions into today’s more complex tactics and strategies, requiring robust audience insights, strategic proposition development, and activations from targeted programmatic job advertising to experiential interactions.

Unfortunately, the momentum spurring new employer branding strategies is often reactionary to current events and economic challenges, and HR departments struggle to keep up.

As a result, we often see organizations interchange their employer marketing strategies with consumer marketing. 

But employer marketing is not consumer marketing. 

Employer marketing vs. consumer marketing

Marketing is a multifaceted field encompassing various strategies and techniques tailored to target specific audiences. Two essential branches of marketing are employer marketing and consumer marketing. 

While employer and consumer marketing share common ground, their objectives, target audiences, messaging, and channels make them uniquely different.

Consumer marketing drives brand awareness, loyalty and product or service sales.  Employer marketing helps you attract and retain the top talent you need to achieve your consumer marketing goals. By recognizing the nuances of each, talent teams can optimize their marketing efforts and achieve greater success in both areas.

Employer marketing refers to the strategies and activities undertaken by an organization to meet their talent acquisition and retention goals. It involves promoting and driving perceptions of the organization as an 'employer of choice,’ highlighting the most relevant and distinguishing characteristics the organization offers employees (often referred to as its employer value proposition or EVP) to job candidates and current employees.

Consumer marketing also aims to attract people to its brand to encourage people to buy its products and/or services, not hire them. Consumer marketing focuses on highlighting the most relevant and distinguishing characteristics of their products and services to current or potential customers to buy or buy more of them.

While both branches leverage marketing techniques and principles to create awareness and generate interest, it is crucial to understand that they have different goals and objectives.

Unique considerations and strategies

Audience segmentation

Employer marketing: Employer marketing focuses on attracting and engaging potential employees and engaging with current employees for retention. Employers must segment these talent audiences, and understand potential and/or current employees’ needs, aspirations, and career goals, to create tailored messaging to engage and attract the right candidates.

Messaging should reflect the candidate’s career motivations and personal needs. According to the Talent Board’s 2022 North American Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report, 29% of candidates said they wanted even more information about company culture, and 27% wanted more information on why current employees want to work for an employer. By delivering targeted, relevant content, employers can meet candidate expectations for that information and support candidate self-selection early in the process, ensuring more right-fit talent remain in the talent pool. 

Consumer marketing: Conversely, consumer marketing appeals to a consumer base. Like employer branding, consumer marketing audience segmentation involves segmenting based on demographic, geographic, psychographic, or behavioral factors. While the segmentation practice may be similar, the types of audiences and goals will differ. Consumer marketers aim to understand consumer preferences, purchase behavior, and motivations to develop effective marketing campaigns that drive product or service sales, not employment. 

PRO TIP: From the first moment you interact with talent, the experience should be positive, affirming, and relevant. That engagement then needs to become increasingly relevant based on the stage and behavior of the prospect for conversion to occur. Once it does, you must hold their interest and maintain a relationship to keep them warm to your brand. Learn more on how to build and maintain your talent pipeline.

Objectives and conversion metrics

Employer marketing: The core objective of employer marketing is to build and enhance an organization’s employer brand to attract, recruit, and retain top talent. Success is measured through metrics such as the number of qualified applicants, employee retention rates, and overall employer reputation. Conversion in employer marketing refers to candidates accepting job offers and becoming valuable employees.

High recruitment marketing ROI that results in high-quality employees hired and retained within the company positively contributes to the company’s bottom line. Finding, connecting, qualifying, and hiring the right talent for your organization — and filling those open positions effectively — has numerous benefits, including:

  • Less productivity downtime through vacancy
  • Greater resource allocation 
  • Improved team engagement

Measuring these key data points allows you to gain insight into the holistic recruitment process, from the candidate’s first impression to the hiring stage and beyond.

Consumer marketing: Consumer marketing seeks to drive consumer engagement, increase brand awareness, and boost product or service sales. Conversion metrics in consumer marketing often revolve around sales figures, conversion rates, customer acquisition, loyalty, and brand affinity.

PRO TIP: HR analytics can be a game-changer when adequately employed, lending visibility to your efforts by tracking and measuring meaningful HR initiatives and goals. The tracking of KPIs can include everything from turnover rates to employee retention and the cost of benefits versus the utilization of benefits. Learn more about HR analytics. 

Messaging and value proposition

Employer marketing: Effective employer marketing involves communicating their unique employer value proposition (EVP). The EVP showcases what you have to offer an employee and, just as important, what you expect in return. It will highlight factors such as:  

  • Company culture
  • Career growth opportunities
  • Employee benefits
  • Work-life balance

Messaging should appeal to a prospective employee's emptions, expectations, needs, and career aspirations.

Unfortunately, according to the 2023 HR Trends Report, only 22% of organizations report they have an EVP, with 24% saying they are currently working on one. This indicates a significant area for growth among organizations as they compete for top talent.

Consumer Marketing: Consumer marketing messages revolve around a product or service’s benefits, features, and unique selling points. Marketers aim to highlight how their offering solves a consumer problem, fulfills a desire, or enhances their lives. The messaging is crafted to resonate with the consumer’s emotions, needs, and aspirations.

PRO TIP: Every touchpoint impacts your employer brand, whether good, bad or indifferent. Defining your EVP is the framework used to create and manage experiences from the first interaction a candidate has to when that person converts to a valued employee throughout their whole time working for you to when they’re an alumnus. Learn more about EVP and your employer brand. 

Channels and platforms

Employer marketing: Employer marketing utilizes channels that reach potential candidates actively seeking employment. These may include online job boards, professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, career fairs, campus recruitment, and targeted advertising on industry-specific websites. It also leverages employer branding efforts on social media platforms and showcases the organization’s workplace culture through employer review platforms like Glassdoor.

Consumer marketing: Consumer marketing leverages channels and platforms where the target audience spends their time. This can include television, radio, print media, social media platforms, search engine marketing, influencer collaborations, email marketing, and more. The objective is to meet consumers where they are and engage with them effectively.

PRO TIP: Candidates expect employers to try to reach them where they are, meaning employers must leverage the right channels to communicate with prospective employees. From social media and online job boards to in-person hiring events and other avenues, finding the right talent has become a two-way street. Learn more about shifting candidate expectations and the tactics to attract them today. 

Employer marketing to attract, hire, and retain top talent 

It’s no secret that marketing helps companies build awareness and drive conversions. Still, the audience they are targeting and the methods they use to convert that audience differs depending on the overarching goal. Talent teams must embrace employer marketing to attract, hire, and retain top talent. With the right blend of EVP,  employer branding, targeted messaging and content through relevant channels, and other strategies. Employers can strike the right note and expand their talent network of right-fit candidates. 

Do you need help figuring out where to start, or do you need a partner with expertise in this area to help? We’d love to support you! Grab some time with one of our experts to get the conversation started.

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Build connections
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