"We started working with Marketecture because their own new business approach demonstrated so much innovative thinking, good practice and thought for the whole customer journey. I thought it was rare to find an agency that was actually practising what it preached, and doing it so well. Since then, I've been hugely impressed with the talent across the team - they are strategic, creative thinkers with the ability to manage our projects super efficiently too."
Parasol is the UK's leading PAYE company with a turnover of £300m+. Launched in 2000, the company has rapidly built a healthy base of employees, largely by developing partnerships with the recruitment agencies that place them. Since then, it has looked after the needs of some 47,000 employees and this figure continues to increase as the company expands into new market sectors across the UK. Parasol maintains impressive partnerships with 2,500 recruitment agencies including industry leading companies such as Hays, Capita Venn, Reed and Lorien and is a Sunday Times Fast Track 100 company.
Working with the quirky guy that we have all come to love - Lance Freer - Marketecture has supported Parasol as lead design agency since 2009 until recently. Our support encompassed all elements of brand promotion, lead generation activity, advertising, digital campaigns and web development and as a client-agency team we really pushed the boundaries of emerging marketing thinking and technology.
The integrated agency campaign detailed below is one such example. What's more the campaign exceeded expectations in terms of return on investment and bagged a Marketing Society award.
Protecting recruitment agencies 'In the line of fire'
With 70% of new client referrals coming from recruiters, Parasol, needed to keep its brand front of mind with agency staff at all levels. The Marketecture team was asked to devise a strategic programme of integrated 'nurturing' activity to engage distinct buyer personas within the recruitment agency ranks.
At research stage, it became apparent that Parasol’s ethical approach was undermined by less scrupulous competitors offering recruiters cash and incentives in return for introductions. To therefore position itself as financially secure, compliantly robust, and the ‘safest’ option for recruiters to recommend to their contractor candidates, Marketecture devised a new campaign proposition around the theme of ‘protection from the line of fire’.
Team Marketecture Response
Our objectives were clearly identified at the outset of the campaign in terms of required ROI and sales and marketing metrics.
- Increase referrals from agencies through a new strategic engagement programme.
- Generate 5 qualified opportunities from an addressable market of 200.
- Raise C-level awareness of ‘reputational risks’ in using less accredited companies.
- Implicitly position Parasol as the ‘least risk’ option.
- Engage the recruitment sector with a new strategic and creative proposition.
- Prove that marketing investment in integrated lead generation activity can dramatically improve sales efficiency.
Issues-based content was created to capture senior decision makers by highlighting hidden employment services industry practices that could be jeopardising recruiters’ reputations. As peer-to-peer contact was considered important at this level, an intriguing DM piece directed recipients to a personalised URL (pURL), where they were addressed by Parasol’s CEO via a highly personalised online experience, including a personalised video message.
Meanwhile, frontline recruiters were hit with an online viral game, ‘Commission Mission’ that tapped into their characteristically competitive nature. Parasol distributed oversized foam hands featuring the URL for the game. As well as placing Parasol front of mind, the game achieved the key objective of capturing data from this notoriously transient group.
The results speak for themselves but as a lead nurturing campaign first and foremost, the biggest testament to the campaign’s success is affirmation that the sales team built new one-on-one relationships with recruitment agencies they’d previously been unable to reach.
Campaign phase 1:
- Response rate: 22%
- pURL input: 28%
Campaign phase 2:
- Response rate: 10%
- pURL input: 17%
- New data set response rate 23%.
Even though campaign 1 drove a higher response rate, campaign 2 achieved better recall from contacts when the sames team followed up.
Campaign phase 3:
- Response rate: 20%
- pURL input: 26.5%
- 33% response rate achieved from new data.
Overall 18 companies requested more information from Parasol and meetings have been secured to date with over 10% of targeted companies.
Client campaign testimonial
“Marketecture’s strategic insight turned a straightforward DM brief into a fully integrated campaign. The messaging proposition they devised set the scene for the entire campaign, backed by a solid understanding of the subtleties in trying to engage C-level decision makers and front-line recruiter staff. The thought leadership stance was spot-on for our senior contacts, highlighting the inadequacies of alternate providers, without any overt knocking of the competition. Similarly, the online game was an inspiring tactic for gaining traction with our frontline recruiters – especially enabling us to qualify data, which is hard to come by in such a fast-moving environment.
When the meeting requests started coming in we had to remind overselves that this was principally engineered as a lead nurturing campaign. Sales were delighted with the response reporting that the initiatives were opening doors to new recruiter relationships that had previously proved difficult to crack. “This campaign worked because of the ingenuity shown in executing distinct activity strands for different buyer personas and hinging them all together with a messaging proposition and strategy which set us apart from other employment service providers.”
Head of Marketing, The Parasol Group