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You’re probably feeling a little confused, you’re reading a blog primarily concerned with HR and now you’re reading about marketing. The thing is, we believe (as you’ve probably realised) that the two departments are not quite as disparate as it may first seem.

Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships

The keyword here is relationships. Modern marketing more than ever before is concerned with building relationships with the consumer, creating a brand and an experience, from first touch point right through to using the product, that feels bespoke, indispensable and most importantly, creates a lasting bond.

So how do they do this?

Well… programmatic advertising can learn your online shopping habits to make sure TV adverts are tailored to you. Adwords allow businesses to bid their way into your search results. Cookies remember those trainers you tore yourself away from two days ago and let them creep into your Facebook feed. Loyalty and credit cards learn your (and your demographics) spending habits and makes sure that deal that seems like it is too good to be true comes with a weight of evidence behind exactly why it’s going to make a return.

Image showing a family watching TV showing dog adverts while their son is searching for puppies on his phone

In short; and before this gets altogether too machiavellian, your experience as a consumer is becoming more relevant to you. This is due to continue too, Amazon is about to complement their online profile of you with an offline one using smart stores.

How has this changed the Consumer?

As this tectonic shift has occurred, we have begun to experience the world differently, we are digital animals, just count the number of smart phones, laptops or tablets in your next meeting and consider the profile their use is creating.

Screen grab showing how facebook allows users to feedback on the relevance of adverts

We want feedback instantly, problems solved by real people, brands that hear us when we voice our concerns and some of the highest growth companies of recent years are either engaging in this practice or are allowing companies to engage in this practice. We also communicate differently, have access to more information and offer greater transparency in our lives - how many of your friends and colleagues do not have Whatsapp, Facebook, Instragram, LinkedIn or Twitter?

Some won’t remember life before this change, much of it developed alongside the internet. Gen Y, described as those born between 1983 - 2000, had the internet from day 1 as it was invented in 1983!

Mark Davies Pardon me, Mark here. I hope you're enjoying this blog post. If you're interested in better understanding how you can use data to drive HR decisions, please book a demo and we'll share with you how we are helping organisations such as the NHS, InterContinental Hotels Group and one of the fastest growing law firms in the UK to transform their approach to HR.

Change is a’coming - It’s not just the consumers that are changing and HR is ready for it

This is a recent thing and the workplace hasn’t had a chance to catch up. The one size fits all approach is well established, we leave our real selves at home, putting on our work selves like we put on our work clothes. But our work and home lives are destined to merge as we bring this expectation of empowerment, opportunity to share opinion openly and the demand for memorable experiences with us. Something we’ve heard time and time again as we’ve conducted research with 100s of HRDs is 50% of what I do is working, I just don’t know which!

50% of what I do is working, I just don’t know which!

Well, ten to twenty years ago, (ancient history as far as marketing is concerned), businesses conducted marketing and knew that it was working. Money spent on marketing made a return but identifying exactly what was converting and what wasn’t felt impossible at worst and like black magic at best. Hence; while marketing was an essential business function it struggled to behave like a strategic one.

HR is now reaching the same crossroads. Making sure your employees are motivated and engaged is essential- there are media outlets, worldwide organisations and even government initiatives devoted to educating us in why it matters. Now knowing exactly which one of your initiatives are engaging which business units, demographics and, perhaps most importantly, what groups are not responding is fast approaching.

What must HR do to meet expectations?

The opportunity here is to answer some of your most important questions and priorities, by collecting and analysing the data your employees create to find meaningful information that can help inform your decisions or predict outcomes before you can. Harnessing the connection with each employees to incentivise the value they create en masse is the aspirational and strategic direction HR must face to meet these demands.

Meeting these expectations means you can…

  1. Stop implementing in the dark; costly global initiatives that are assessed once a year or at best, at discrete points a several times a year through surveying are not continuous enough to create this connection.
  2. Increase the employees who are actively engaged- the more our interconnected personal lives become indistinguishable to our work lives, the more seamless the transition will be and the more genuine passion and motivation will be brought to work.

Next week we’ll be discussing exactly how you can begin to collect the data you already have more effectively and how you can begin to customise the employee experience in way that creates data from each interaction, giving you an insight into people’s relationships, working patterns and drives.

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Mark Davies

This post was written by Mark Davies on

Hi, I'm Mark, an insight analyst at ThanksBox. I've bought my love of data with me from my previous life as a physicist and I'm interested in the future of how technology can improve professional relationships.

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