Indeed Gets the Job Done With Data-Driven Marketing

Marketing is a full-time job. But marketing a job hunting website with low brand awareness? That’s a whole other operation. Mary Ellen Dugan found herself faced with this task when she was hired to lead Indeed’s marketing in August 2013. She told her story at the Direct Marketing Association’s &THEN conference in Boston last week.

Laying out the basic requirements

Indeed has more than 180 million unique site visitors every month, Dugan said. She added that it also has some 40 million resumes in its database, and 54% of hires come through the job-search site.

But when asked to join the job-hunting website as VP of global marketing, Dugan faced one simple challenge: She had never heard of Indeed—and for good reason. According to Dugan, Indeed had an unaided awareness of less than 10% in the U.S. and other countries.

Dugan determined that she needed to put a face to the brand. Some people, after all, had used Indeed without even realizing it, she said, while others had never used an online job searching tool. So last May, she set out to launch a global rebrand.

Applying the right data

In an effort to boost Indeed’s brand awareness, Dugan focused on three p’s: purpose, product, and perspective.

Regarding purpose, Dugan wanted to find the answer to one seemingly simple question: How important is getting a new job? After conducting a bit of research with Harris Poll, Dugan discovered that 58% of consumers look for job opportunities at least monthly. In fact, she said that the average American will have seven jobs over a lifetime. 

And in a bit of an unorthodox style, Dugan decided to help searchers celebrate the job-hunting experience—rather than dread it.

As for the second p—product—Dugan wanted to convey the simplicity of the company’s user interface, such as its mobile friendly experience, to show people why they should use Indeed as opposed to its competitors. This was especially important considering that 55% of Indeed’s job-seeker traffic comes from mobile devices.

Conveying product and purpose isn’t easy, and Dugan knew that Indeed’s 10-year history of using SEM wasn’t going to cut it. So, she decided to take a storytelling approach and focus on how amazing things can happen when people work together. The result: Indeed’s “How the World Works” campaign.

Hiring the right talent

“How the World Works” kicked off with what Dugan referred to as the “ultimate product demo”—“How Commercials Work.” The brand’s marketers used its own site to hire everyone from makeup artists to IT professionals to make its ad.

According to Dugan, the company received more than 1,500 applications in 48 hours and conducted 200 interviews in 14 days. Indeed then hired talent in the U.S. and five other countries to make the spot. The video also showcased real Indeed job postings.


“It was really important for us that [even] if you didn’t know who Indeed was, you knew that Indeed would work,” Dugan said.

The video generated more than 13 million YouTube views and the behind-the-scenes follow-up spurred more than 1.1 million views.

Dugan, however, didn’t want to stop with just the ad. The company continued to produce video series about how other things work. For instance, the company’s “How Animation Works” video has more than 2.3 million views. Indeed also hired chief economists to test different topics of interests for its content. Marketers produced a blog post entitled “How Are Job Seekers Reacting to the Debt Crisis in Greece?” in July. Creating more topical content encouraged people to spread the word about Indeed without signaling that they were looking for a job and upsetting their employer, Dugan said.

As for other creative content initiatives, Indeed enabled mobile activation for consumers so that users could move their phones along the Sydney skyline and see local job postings. Plus, the company gave a recent college graduate the opportunity to work with a National Geographic photographer and run the brand’s Snapchat account. The young professional then shared the experience on Instagram with the hashtag #BestFirstJobEver.

Still Dugan wanted to create a more integrated campaign. So she and her team created a marketing mix that aligned with a typical employee’s work day. For instance, the consumer might see an out-of-home ad by the subway on his morning commute, drink an Indeed-advertised coffee cup during his afternoon break, and then watch a branded TV ad in the evening, she explained.

“Everything in our advertising and in our PR is really trying to go back to how can we use the data that Indeed has to build the brand in a more compelling way,” Dugan said.

Producing results

After kicking off the campaign in the U.K. and continuing it across the U.S., Germany, and Australia, Indeed has been able to gain the final p—perspective. According to Dugan, the brand now has a 51% unaided brand awareness rate, and it significantly increased its social following. She added that the company is expanding its campaign to the Netherlands, Japan, France, and Canada in the upcoming weeks. Plus, the company is conducting its own brand equity study and working with Adometry by Google to track the long-term impact of its campaign.

It looks like at Indeed, a marketer’s work is never truly done.

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