My views on the recruitment marketing/CRM space have (admittedly) shifted quite a bit over the past two years. It is an exciting space to watch and a challenging one to predict because as the demand increases, the confusion around this market persists. In the research I have conducted this year at Aptitude, a few themes stand out:
- 72% of companies are increasing their investment in recruitment marketing. Companies want solutions that can help them better engage and attract talent before they apply for a job.
- The buyer is more sophisticated. We are seeing second and third generation buyers, and nearly 30% of companies have replaced or are looking to replace their provider this year.
- This market is not apples to apples. The differentiators are clear since these products have different strengths and weaknesses.
- Adoption is low for many of the recruitment marketing platforms, so investing in a partner is critical. Companies need to work with providers to make sure that they have the services they need to support them.
One trend that I have gone back and forth on is the future of recruitment marketing. Will it be from a larger ATS and Talent Acquisition Suite or stand-alone provider. Several acquisitions earlier this year (K1 acquiring Jobvite and Talemetry and iCIMS acquiring Jibe) and the success of providers like SmartRecruiters and Avature selling integrated solutions hint at a future where one provider supports both. Yet, today, we are seeing a move toward the stand-alone model. Symphony Talent announced its plans to acquire SmashFly and enhance its products and services in all things recruitment marketing. This move signals that the value of recruitment is not in going broad but in going deep in one area.
I have spent time with both Symphony Talent and SmashFly over the years, and here are my early thoughts:
Symphony Talent is a product company, and Roopesh Nair is a strong CEO. While other providers have pushed marketing and sales efforts, Symphony has focused on building out capabilities that customers want and support teams so that the product gets adopted. Symphony has continued to strengthen its deep functionality in career sites, candidate journey, and candidate communication. It has differentiated itself in a competitive market with an innovative product, global capabilities, and strong services.
With any acquisition, companies have questions about the integration of products and companies. We can expect to see the integration of some of SmashFly’s core features such as CRM and internal mobility into the product as well as the integration of sales and marketing teams.
Symphony and SmashFly were competitors in the market, so we don’t expect to see customer overlap, but combined, they will have strong brands in the market, including Hilton, Nestle, and Intel.
Services: Most enterprise companies invest in some recruitment marketing technology platforms and services from an agency or marketing firm. Although some have argued that services can dilute the value of the technology, having a provider that offers both is a differentiator for Symphony Talent. The creative services they offer can help support companies that are looking to strengthen their brands and engage with talent in a more meaningful way.
The acquisition was announced today, and it will raise many questions for customers, prospects, and anyone interested in talent acquisition. I know I still have questions. The good news is that at 2 pm EST today, George LaRocque and I will be interviewing Roopesh Nair live. I hope you can join us!