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HR and Marketing: The Key to Understanding Your Audience

Posted by EmployeeChannel on 5.25.2017

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Meet Alison. Alison is the head of human resources at a fast-growing company. Now, meet Kara. Kara is a marketing communications manager for a Fortune-500 company.

What do these two employees have in common? A lot more than you may think.

Traditionally, HR and marketing have always been thought of as completely separate fields, each with their own unique processes and goals. But as an HR professional in today’s ever-changing business landscape, you know all too well how interrelated these two paths are.

And it all comes down to this: attracting and retaining your target audience. The main difference being that, for Alison, the audience consists of employees rather than customers.

In a world where customer and employee experience can make all the difference, HR and marketing professionals need to focus on understanding the needs and preferences of their respective audiences in order to create a top-notch experience.

Alison and Kara do this in the same way: through developing employee and customer intelligence.

So, to better understand and communicate with your employees, here are three things you need to measure:

Interest

Successfully attracting and retaining customers -- or in your case, employees -- begins with understanding your audience’s interests. Marketing professionals invest heavily in analytics to dive deeper into consumer interests and behavior, specifically as it relates to certain products.

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Take Apple, for instance. Apple is widely known as one of today’s most successful brands, and it’s likely due to their reliance on consumer behavior marketing.

Apple uses data gained after a consumer purchases or downloads a product to discover what drives their behavior. The insights gleaned from this data allow them to better understand how consumers feel about the brand, which enables them to fine-tune their communication and marketing strategy.

HR is still obligated to inform employees about policies, regulations, and initiatives. However, there is ample opportunity for HR leaders to also invest heavily in analytics that measure interest in company information and programs -- especially those pertaining to the employee experience.

According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, with competitive pressures and the increased availability of more integrated systems, organizations are building people analytics teams, buying analytics offerings, and developing analytics solutions.    

Having a better understanding of what interests employees allows HR leaders to better tailor their employee experience.

Opportunity

Understanding employee interest is only a stepping stone toward improving overall employee communication and experience. The next step is putting that data into action in order to engage your audience.

Analytics are often used by an organization’s marketing team to determine when, where, and how a customer wants to purchase something in order to effectively target and appeal to them.

For example, Apple leverages information found online, through retailer point of sale, and on iTunes to understand detailed consumer behavior information. This allows them to effectively analyze and tailor products and messages around their target audience.

HR leaders can use analytics in the same way to determine when employee communication, whether it’s a company update, important reminder, or benefits information, will be the most successful. In other words, analytics reveal more than just employee and customer interest; they reveal opportunity.  

And according to the above Deloitte report, 77 percent of organizations surveyed believe people analytics is important for this very reason.

Sentiment

Last, but certainly not least, marketers use analytics to understand buyer sentiment. How did consumers react to a recent marketing promotion? What are their thoughts about the latest product update? To attract and retain employees, HR leaders must continue to invest in analytics that determine employee sentiment.

In both instances, measuring sentiment helps identify risks and opportunities to increase customer and employee satisfaction and improve the overall experience with a brand or organization. Knowing this, marketing and HR leaders can develop initiatives that drive customer and employee retention.

As you begin using analytics to determine what employees want from your communication efforts, remember to remain flexible. Don’t hesitate to switch up your communication strategy until you find what’s most effective with your employees.

Once you do find an employee communication strategy that appeals to your workforce, continue to use analytics to gauge how employees’ interests change over time.

Google, for example, is known for making data-driven decisions. So, it's no surprise they complement their productivity metrics with people analytics, allowing them visibility into the human aspects of the workplace and to stay on the pulse of the workforce. 

By using a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics, Google is able to “dig deep into the company’s inner-culture dynamics” and improve their employee experience.  

The moral of the story? When you better understand your audience and are able to make data-driven decisions, you’ll be able to put insights into action, helping you create an employee experience that attracts and retains the best and brightest.   

Topics: employee experience, hr and marketing

Human Resources Today