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4 min readRecruitment leaders | Digital marketing
Interview: Recruitment Leaders
Running a recruitment agency - or any business for that matter - can often be an isolating experience.
We thought we'd start a series of interviews with agency leaders, to find a range of perspectives and shared experiences when it comes to digital marketing.
In this piece we interviewed Mary Maguire who's the MD and Founder of Astute Recruitment, who was kind enough to share her perspective..
Recruitment Leaders: Mary Maguire
When you think of Digital Marketing, what comes to mind?Ideally, original, informative content for your core target audience.
Tell us a little about your recruitment business
I run Astute Recruitment Ltd with my business partner, Sarah Stevenson. We mainly provide Finance staff for temporary, permanent and temp to permanent positions at all levels for SME businesses across the East Midlands.
We have expanded to provide commercial appointments across HR, Marketing and office support functions. We set up in 2009.
9 years later, with 16 business awards from the IoD, ICAEW, Derbyshire Times and many others, achieving over 2,500 placements, we are acknowledged as one of the Region's go to specialists and industry leading recruitment experts.
What impact, if any, has digital marketing had on your recruitment business?
Digital marketing has given my business a definite return on investment. If you are an SME business within the recruitment or other sectors, intelligent use of digital marketing to influence, inform, engage and advise your core target audience has a definite impact on your bottom line.
Our 'reach' to engage with a fresh, new audience of candidates and SME businesses is invaluable. The key is understanding how to communicate through the different channels and making that work for your business.
You need to ensure that the social channels you engage with are geared towards their demographics and that your content is original, informative, educational and relevant to your own individual business and brand identity.
Which aspect of digital marketing has had the biggest impact on your agency?
For Astute, the use of original, educational content has been key together with increasing influencer marketing.
However, as an SME business, some key, critical advice I would impart is to have a marketing strategy that incorporates your digital presence and branding.
Sometimes you need to emotionally engage with your audience. Sometimes you need to be a factual conduit of the latest industry 'news', 'legal announcements' and 'updates'.
As with any business strategy, your plan needs to embrace a number of factors across a number of digital platforms but always keeping in mind your key target audience.
As an SME, we don't have the resources to throw at pulling together a whole marketing team. Instead, I have been able to self-train and learn the most important facets of digital marketing and weave these into our business and marketing plans.
If your company does not have the in-house potential and passion for digital marketing engagement, I would strongly advocate seeking professional expertise as you can very easily harm your branding unintentionally .
Do you attend any training courses to keep up-to-date?
The truth is utilising a mixture of online courses, courses through my local Chamber of Commerce, reading the latest articles and publications on social media, digital marketing.
There are no hard and fast rules. You have to become the expert in all the latest trends and keep up to date with these.
What areas of digital marketing are you keen to improve on or utilise more for your agency?
Our agency website, Webinars, Content Marketing, Social Media, Influencer Marketing, PPC, Guest Posting, SEO
What kind of impact do you expect to see from your digital marketing in your next year?
The ultimate measure of ROI for my digital marketing has to be increased market share for my business and improved sales performance.
What new technologies are you thinking of adapting next for your agency?
I'm looking into new channels all the time but I have to be conscious of my key target audience at all times. My target audience and their interests will inform my company's future digital presence.
What are the biggest hurdles for your agencies growth right now?
Ha ha, thats easy. Consistency. The bane of every marketing person across the globe I suspect. The consistency of branding, quality of original, educational content that is authentic and which resonates consistently is 100% essential.
If you could wave a magic wand, what about your recruitment business would you fix first?
I'm very lucky to say that I have an amazing team and brilliant business partner. We have a long-standing and loyal base of clients and customers too. The holy grail would be any SME business in the geography we operate contacting my team to work with us exclusively. I'd be very surprised if my competitors did not say something very similar.
What areas of marketing your agency, in general, are you most proud of?
Entering and winning Business Awards. With no training in marketing or copywriting to have entered my company, business partner and members of my team and to have won awards from the Institute of Directors, Derbyshire Times, ICAEW and many more besides has given me a huge sense of pride but also delight in the increased exposure of my company to new audiences.
As a result, we have achieved an increase in new clients and candidates who have stated that one of the reasons for contacting us as opposed other recruitment agencies are our awards. They have given us valuable, professional recognition from external business leaders to have the confidence in our abilities as opposed other recruitment firms.
What advice would you give to your past self, if you could, when you were first setting up your agency?
Have more confidence. Don't be afraid to put across your own opinion. Don't be scared to be disruptive in your marketing strategy.
Yes, you want people to engage with you - but they can do this through professional debate agreeing or disagreeing with you.
Also - don't procrastinate. I had an expert NED who was endlessly encouraging me for blogs and content. I was too scared to publish things to the point that after one board meeting I produced 5 blogs all of which he said were great and why hadn't I put them 'out there'? To which I said I did not think they were good enough and that people would not agree.
What are your best tips for growing your agency?
Be true to your brand - honesty is everything. We are a people business, working with people and providing a service to people. Be authentic and people will trust you, like your service and use you when they need to.
Please share your best and/or worst experiences with digital marketing.
Mmmnnn. Best experience was a post I did on Usain Bolt on LinkedIn. It was of the moment, honest and genuinely hit a spot. By far the most popular post I've produced in terms of likes and comments.
My worst experience? When I first started using Twitter - I assumed (incorrectly) that I could edit a tweet. Nope. You can imagine the rest. Please always check and recheck anything you are about to post for typos etc.
One of the wisest quotes I've ever heard is "measure twice, cut once". Great advice.
Mary MaguireManaging Director and Co-FounderAstute Recruitment Ltd
Mary Maguire has built a successful career in finance recruitment spanning 25 years in the City of London and in the East Midlands. Originally working as a consultant then senior consultant, following redundancy in 2009 she set up Astute Recruitment Ltd in Derby, with her business partner Sarah Stevenson. In the 9 years since she has been able to create a real brand identity for Astute which stands out as a market leader and influencer, working with SME businesses who need a genuine recruitment partner.
Mary's successful marketing of the firm's Triple Point Guarantee - an industry first in the recruitment sector, has also served to put Astute first in the East Midlands Financial Recruitment sector. Mary has also driven Astute's brand leading external sales, penetrating new clients and winning new business in a refreshingly honest, likeable and professional way.
Arguably a first for a recruitment firm!
If you are interested in getting involved with this interview series, please drop us a line at moc.ytivitcidda%40olleh
Managing Director and Co-Founder
Astute Recruitment Ltd
You can get in touch with Mary via LinkedIn or her company website.
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