Day number two of Dreamforce means three things.

  1. Starting the morning with a headache
  2. Walking a lot slower than day one
  3. A sense of urgency to see EVERYTHING

With Motrin helping clear the first-day fog, a little warmup walk to loosen up legs that haven’t walked this much in a while, and keen sense of curiosity about how all this stuff might help recruit, hire and develop workforces it was onto the streets of San Francisco.

In what amounts to a leisurely stroll through the West Expo Hall—meaning it was only stuffed instead of packed—I came across the Consumer Success Zone.  When the Mattel Toys sign came into view my inner child took over and I stopped for a look.  I am glad I did.

For those of us in the HR Technology business one of the more promising applications of the Salesforce App Cloud is candidate marketing. That makes perfect sense given the Salesforce focus developing customer relationships. In my simple mind, what works for developing relationships with customers might well work for companies trying to develop relationships with candidates.

My simple logic follows the “people are people” trail. And it seems to me that if the game is creating relationships and relevance, then taking some pages out of the playbooks of people who do that with customers might be good practice.

From my days as a Consumer Packaged Goods industry analyst know that Mattel is one of the better consumer marketers out there. And when I came across them in an area called the Consumer Success Zone, I had to stop. First, because my inner child came out when I saw the toys. Second because they had a fascinating application of something Salesforce calls Journey Builder that enables Mattel marketers to programmatically create and execute personalized “journeys” for consumers. More specifically for consumers at specific life stages as children move from crib, to playpen, to sandbox, to ball field and beyond.

Journey Builder operates on the notion that in order to be a great marketer you have to personalize your interactions with consumers. Makes sense. And beyond that you need to lay these things out in a journey that puts relevant communications and content in front of individuals as the life stages evolve. In others words you build a relationship over time based on relevant interactions rather than random encounters.

The intelligence built into the Journey Builder is slick. The source of a marketing lead, any information that can be sourced about the individual, demographics, and other bits of information goes into the system. And then the “journey” can be optimized for those variables. In other words, someone who enters the journey as a result of filling out a warranty card gets treated differently than someone who randomly hit the website. Someone from a forum or community will see a different journey than someone who comes from a loyalty program. Most important—all the communications, promotions, offers and invitations to the individual map to the roadmap that has been laid out for the journey for that individual.

Sound vaguely familiar? This is all the same stuff that we want to do with candidate pools, social interactions, employee referrals and candidate profiles. We want to make every interaction with job candidates relevant. In Mattel’s case they are engaging consumers. Using the same tools and methods we can engage candidates. We can learn more about the candidate, develop a relationship to ensure we have a qualified and motivated candidate down the road, and perhaps most important… relevant at any point along the journey from first encounter to new hire.

Pretty cool stuff.  And useful I think when we stop to consider that job candidates are likely consumers long before they are candidates, and have been conditioned to expect relevance in the way companies market to them. I suspect that conditioning carries over to how they want us to market our jobs to them as well. And with tools like this, we would be foolish not to.

It seems that I keep tripping over things here that we should be adopting and using for Workforce Development. And my guess is that through the next few years, many of the 160,000 or so companies using their platform will do just that.