UNVEILS HIS SECRET WISDOM.
I had an exhilarating conversation on Friday with Harry Joiner, The Marketing Headhunter. He's a fun talker and although he told me that he has given up cussing he still manages to deliver some entertaining verbal formulations.
Here's how he got into the recruiting business:
"I used to be a guerrilla marketing consultant. I was teaching people how to research, ID and develop leads using a phone, a fax and an internet connection. It's not rocket science but it works and if you had no money and you needed new customers I was the guy to call. I was hired by an interim CFO company to get them into the recruiting business.
If you had a small business and you needed a CFO two days a week they would rent you one. There was a terrible downturn in the economy around here (Atlanta) so a lot of people were on the loose and this company was getting more resumes than projects.
So they said "let's find full time jobs for these people". They needed to generate leads for this new business so they called me because I had a reputation as a drug-sniffing dog for new business.
I made them five times what they were paying me and I had what alcoholics call a moment of clarity. And so I got into the search business."
I guess it's not too surprising that The Marketing Headhunter is passiontely interested in marketing -- though I was surprised, and fascinated, by a peek into his world.
He is a disciple of direct mailers and they say:
Niche your practice. We live in an over communicated society. You can't address a pain killer to 'people with headaches' because you won't stand out. You have to address 'young Toronto mothers with migranies'. You cannot jump up and down in the ocean. You have to dominate the puddles and you expand your business by hopping from one tangential puddle to the next.
Inotherwords, you grow by going from one niche to a related niche, from wheelchairs to crutches and that way you'll be able to leverage your current experience to support your new venture.
This supports the idea of specialization in recruiting, as well. Because if you're a complete generalist, the knowledge you gain on one search is abandoned on the next.
The MH also believes that to have credibility you have to be able to speak the business language of the field you're working in and to do that you have to specialize.
I have a tightly defined market niche and a circle of competence that is carefully defined around the edges. And anyone who talks to me knows that in five minutes. I'm on the phone with the best and brightest interactive marketers. If they ask me 'What do you know about search engine optimization?' I've got to know.
Also, as a recruiter, "you've got to know where the a players are in any particular niche, so it helps to play in a self-referencing marketplace inhabited by people who talk to eachother."
When you start recruiting in a certain field word gets around about you. But, if you move into an unrelated field, you're looking for a new group of people whom the people you already know can't reach on your behalf.
The Marketing Headhunter raves about gurus I have never heard of. So, I asked him for some names.
"The Gary Halbert Letter. People should read it all the time. They should absolutely read it. He's a genuis. The Lex Luther of marketing. He is really scary-bright. He's insane! Jay Abraham, who is great. Dan Kennedy, great. John Carlton, if you need customers fast and you have no money. What a fascinating guy."
He also mentioned Profit From the Core by Chris Zook and Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. And he's absolutely wild about "$12 Billion of Inside Marketing Secrets". It's a book by infomercial producers.
Most people would look at this and go 'Who gives a sh**t. I mean, I'm a recruiter why would I read this?' But what you are seeing in an infomercial is a 30-minute perfect marketing pitch. It has a prefect story arc just like a Hollywood movie. You can learn some amazing stuff from watching a 30 minute Tony Robbins infomercial. This book has been endorsed by Robert Cialdini, Jay Abraham, Greg Rinker, Tony Robbins. I'm reading through it and it's like "Wow!"
Michael Stipe and The Marketing Headhunter
And this leads us to the value proposition of his blog. He'll go out and read the books. Then all you have to do is read him.
If any recruiter sat around and read my blog they'd learn a lot because I'm an obssessive compulsive student of who's got game (in marketing). The idea is that none of the ideas are mine. There is not one original thought on my blog. If I was a rock band I would be a really great cover band. Like REM when they first came out.
When I was in college they were the band to see around here. And the thing was you never knew is what they would cover next. And they did the covers with their own sort of flair.
There's no orginality here at all but your readers would probably benefit from swiping some of the ideas they'd find."
Someone thinks it's worthwhile. To his surprise, The Marketing Headhunter was nominated for best blog on MarketingSherpa and he got more space than we did in The Career Journal article about recruiting bloggers. "All of this stuff, for me, it was kind of like George when he did the opposite.", he says.
Which struck a chord with me. If I started doing the opposite, I'd be a lot better off.