What should a job board do when its marketing goes too far? TakePart.com tells the story of a UK job board (we will maintain the board’s anonymity for its own sake) that placed cardboard signs all over London with the phrase “Found a Job” written on them and the job board’s address on it. Along with the cardboard sign, the company also placed a blanket, a pair of abandoned shoes and a dog dish. In other words, the website is implying that it helped homeless people to find jobs and now those homeless people have left the streets.
Did this UK job board help get homeless people off the streets and into jobs? The job board itself won’t say. But what is being heard is the outrage of the people of London who insist that this marketing stunt is heartless and belittles the homeless problem that is growing in London. When does job board marketing go too far, and what can be done to fix the damage?
The Code Of Ethics
The California State University College of Business Administration has published a marketing code of ethics that helps shine a lot of light on what is acceptable and unacceptable marketing behavior. According to the code, the most basic rule of marketing ethics is to not do harm to others. While the code does not specify what type of harm, we can assume that insulting people who are already down on their luck counts.
While marketing job boards do not have to follow the code of ethics, it is always a good idea to make sure that your business appeals to as many people as possible, without alienating anyone. Insulting the condition of a group of people is definitely inflicting harm, and it is not going to be the kind of marketing that will win your company any business.
Job boards have to realize that their reputation is incredibly important to their success. Employers base a portion of their decision to do business with a job board on whether or not the board can attract top talent. When a job board alienates a large group of people with its marketing, its business will be affected because top candidates will stay away.
In the story of the UK job board, damage control would have been a simple matter of removing the guerrilla marketing displays and issuing a general apology. But, as of this writing, the company has done neither. In marketing, you need to admit when you make a mistake to allow everyone else to move on. If you do not admit your mistake, then the effects could linger for a very long time.
If you can bring in more clients to your job board with your marketing, then you can also push clients away with insensitive or ill-advised marketing. When your job board marketing goes too far, you have to own up to your mistake and make things right. If you do not, you could start to see a tailspin in revenue that will be hard to stop.
What kind of marketing tactics can job boards utilize to positively promote their brand presence?
George N Root III is a professional freelance writer who has expertise in topics such as Internet marketing, business, advertising, and personal finance.