Robert Woodford

The choice between marketing in house vs outsourcing



Robert Woordford


Founding Director

The Marketing Junction offers outsourced marketing for recruitment businesses before this Robert worked at a variety of different recruitment companies over 20 years. He fell into recruitment, as many do but also fell into marketing after completing a degree in economics. He prefers the start-up life as a marketer as he terms marketing for larger businesses ‘a glorified administrator’ – this being exec or manager level. You often get told how things are done.


The Summary

Robert wears many different marketing hats and is continually doing different things through outsourcing for a variety of types of companies. As a business owner, you have no choice to become sales to some degree. For Robert, he grew from consulting on companies to have to sell to get business.


What advice do you have for new freelancers?


If you are doing it because you’ve always wanted to great. If it’s out of necessity and it’s not actually what you want to do or passionate about, then be careful because it’s hard work. Surround yourself with your ‘competitors’ as you will get good advice and people are more than happy to help.


What does the phrase recruitment marketing mean to you?


Robert loves recruitment marketing as you have an element of both B2B and B2C. Marketing within recruitment is so unique, you have 3 autonomous parts – the clients that are people, the candidates and the recruitment consultants who are the brand. So marketing within recruitment you are balancing all of those parts.


How do you define the ROI of marketing?


Robert often asks the question back ‘how do you define the ROI of your telephone system or CRM? Because actually, you don’t define the ROI because you just know it works. Within marketing, we all do Google Analytics but ultimately some things are just impossible to track. A lot of marketing is to do with solidifying relationships so can you actually put a figure on that?


Marketers add so much more to recruitment businesses than they are given credit for. They are often responsible for the culture because internal marketing is great. Again how do you measure that? Often in his reporting, he adds an anecdotal note – that could be internal views that show your importance but they aren’t measurable. The challenge for anyone within recruitment marketing is that most CEO’s in the companies are recruiters so they have never had to work with marketers before.


What would your advice be to CEO’s cutting marketing?


From a business owner point of view, Robert can see it from the right place but it’s the wrong thing to do. Marketers can get obsessed with ‘we know what’s best’, but ultimately the marketing person should be able to support you in the short and long term. But a lot of businesses are not doing this. If you invest in your marketing, not necessarily in money terms – you will get ahead of your competition and capitalise on coming back with a bang. People cut back on marketing but they never cut back your finance department?!


Marketing is an extension of sales, so by investing in marketing you are investing in sales. People need to be mindful that marketers make the world go round.


How do you shift the marketing strategy post-2020?


It’s all about understanding your aims and long-term aims. Then using data to analyse what is going on, what’s happening with our audience, our market as once you understand that you can then do the ‘stuff’ that promotes that. There’s a lot of reactive stuff out there, people creating podcasts for the sake of it, but it needs to align with your customers and your goals/ strategy. Too much FOMO in recruitment.


What is the recruitment marketing club?


It provides advice to marketers entering the industry or suppliers to marketing departments. All about offering something help for free. Robert doesn’t think the size of the recruitment company matters for having a marketer – every company needs at least one marketer.


Why outsource vs. hiring marketing?


It depends on what they need. As soon as a business gets to 20/25 heads that’s when they think they need a marketing person. Before that stage, they look at it as bringing on another salesperson. Then it leads to questions of bringing in junior vs. senior hires. It’s not always about outsource vs. in house – a lot of things can be outsourced to some degree because no one can be good at everything. The mindset of the owner affects the choice massively and the buy-in.


The worst thing he hears is ‘I’ll just hire an intern’. Would you hire an intern to do your accounts or run your IT? No, yet your happy to hire an intern to do your marketing which is essentially your window to the world. Unless you can show the junior marketer some career progression and support they will just leave. So the balance between outsourcing and in-house really is key.


Advice to someone starting out?


Take time to learn not just marketing but learning recruitment – what a client is, what a candidate is. A lot of people think they can market recruitment without understanding what it actually is.



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