Don’t play their game — Job Board Doctor

Don't play their gameMany years ago as a mar­ket­ing novice I learned the first rule of com­pet­ing against giants: don’t their . was long before I entered the job world. I was a mar­ket­ing direc­tor at a niche pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny that pro­duced mag­a­zines for . As you might guess, our mar­ket was dom­i­nat­ed by a cou­ple of large pub­li­ca­tions – and I was con­stant­ly think­ing about how we could com­pete against them. They had very large – and ours was not so large. They appealed to every­one – and we only appealed to elite devel­op­ers. They had dozens of sales­peo­ple – and we did­n’t.

But I was deter­mined to win, any­way. The bravu­ra of the young, as it was.

Then an old­er – and wis­er – friend point­ed me to a mar­ket­ing clas­sic: ‘Posi­tion­ing‘. I read it. And read it again. And then I felt very stu­pid.

Why? Because I real­ized that I could nev­er win. Not by com­pet­ing on the large pub­li­ca­tions’ terms – which were reach and vol­ume. It just was­n’t going to hap­pen. Instead, I had to rede­fine the field of bat­tle. I had to reframe the dis­cus­sion that we had with adver­tis­ers. They had reach; we had focus. They had vol­ume; we had qual­i­ty and response. They reached every­one; we reached the best.

It worked. We grew – a lot. So much that we cre­at­ed 3 more mag­a­zines. And a book divi­sion. And a train­ing divi­sion. In face, we were so suc­cess­ful that one of the large pub­lish­ers end­ed up buy­ing us.

I’ve fol­lowed the same for my work in the job board indus­try. It’s the same mod­el I used at Dice, and I’ve giv­en this advice to clients. I’ve seen it work over and over. When com­pet­ing with oth­er job boards – par­tic­u­lar­ly Indeed or LinkedIn – don’t play their game. Cre­ate a new space for your site – start a new dis­cus­sion with employ­ers. Do what Glass­door and Stack­over­flow and Archinect did with their mar­ketsdom­i­nate it in a way that a large gen­er­al­ist board sim­ply can’t or won’t.

And enjoy!

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