Market research, advertising (print, radio, digital, social, video), branding, pricing, promotions, consumer behavior, product management…there are a dizzying number of components to a company’s marketing strategy.  Billions are spent on studying consumer behavior, identifying and analyzing market opportunities, and managing products to appeal to targeted segments of customers.

What if we spent even a fraction of that effort on investing in people?  What if organizations approached talent strategy with the same commitment they approach marketing strategy?

The War for Talent is on, and organizations that lean into creating an employer brand that rivals their consumer brand will win.

Think about how little employers know about their own people compared how zealously they study and understand their consumers.  Every year companies spend vast labor, financial, and creative resources on building a reputable brand, yet most employees trust strangers more than their own boss.  Coca-Cola spent $4.24 billion on advertising alone in 2019—nearly $50,000 per worldwide employee.  That is 20,667% of the average annual spend on employee wellness.  Corporations focus their resources on potential customers while they miss opportunities to invest in their own people.

Most employees have less than $1,000 in a savings account.  They live paycheck-to-paycheck, even at high wages.  They do not understand their benefits or total rewards system.  Billions are spend on pricing research to extract optimal profits while 73% of Americans rank money as the #1 stress in their lives.

It is past time to apply some of the same principles and focus to the employee experience that we so fanatically devote to the customer experience.  What motivates each employee?  What are their needs, goals, risks, and challenges?  How can a total rewards package leverage more value without costing more?  What can be done to improve their mental, physical, and financial health?  How do we empower them to do the activities that bring them fulfillment?  How can we align with their values?

Just as marketing has become a corporate passion, the time has come to leverage better outcomes for profit, community, and the world by investing in people.