Thursday, November 5, 2009

NACCM 2009 LIVE: Living The Brand. How Marketing can Partner with HR to Create Better Brand and Customer Experiences

Tom Nightingale’s goal is to help make marketing everyone’s best friend, every day. That makes sense because he’s the Chief Marketing Officer of Con-way, Inc., one of the largest trucking/hauling companies in the world.

But what may surprise you is that one-third of Tom’s efforts deals with helping Con-way recruit and hire the best employees and candidates. The three pillars of Con-way’s marketing efforts include:

  1. Reduce the cost to acquire and retain customers
  2. Attract and retain the best and brightest employees
  3. Position the company for growth

Tom sees the brand is a way to support these efforts. Con-way applies solid branding and marketing principles to all audiences, but works in concert with HR on employees. They actually help HR attract candidates and recruit employees by supporting with marketing and materials.

The marketing department also runs all internal communications for the company and supports learning & development, training, etc.

Tom jokes that the reason he spends so much time helping recruit and manage employee engagement is because “People are too important to leave to HR.” Because of the success of their team effort, Tom’s HR colleagues agree.

The service sector presents branding challenges that make employee engagement paramount.

  • The performance is the product and demand is perishable.
  • Because production and consumption are so intertwined, services are more difficult to evaluate because they are less standardized and intangible.
  • Services are dominated by experience qualities that can only be meaningfully evaluated after purchase and during production.
  • Services are produced and consumed simultaneously so customers get to experience the factory floor with every brand touchpoint
  • Every person who works for the company has to be a marketer

There has never been a time when marketing and HR have needed each other more.

Turnover for a trucking company is 132% per year. There is a constant demand for experienced drivers. Con-way responds by consistent branding to driver recruitment across all mediums. Integrated marketing efforts into HR have increased hires and drastically reduced the cost per hire by 57%.

Internal marketing has helped things like “marketing” Con-way’s health coach program to help increase wellness among it’s employees. 97%+ of employees in their initial test group have engaged at significant levels in the program.

These are just a few of the examples of how marketing and HR can effectively work together to help create a company full of the right people who will live the brand.

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