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Digital Communication Analysis of CV-Library: Strategies

  • 20 Pages
  • Published On: 21-11-2023

Executive Summary

This report is based on CV-Library, a UK employment website that was launched at the beginning of the twenty first century. CV-Library is the UK’s third largest employment website in the UK, acting as a job board, holding a database of over fourteen million CV’s. A thorough analysis was conducted on the company in terms of its digital communication strategies and activities. Analysis was conducted using traditional and contemporary models: PEST, UTAUT, Stimulus Theoretical Framework, Value Bubble Model and the Four C’s Model. An execution plan (in terms of recommendations) as well as a contingency plan has been shown, which thoroughly depends upon CV-library’s senior management and teamwork, making its objectives possible new offerings.

The findings of the report detail that CV-Library almost entirely focus their Digital Communication Strategy on their website and as a result they have a target audience of young to middle aged professionals who are particularly driven and time-conscious. CV-Library aim to accurately position their brand within the digital marketing sphere through their use of Web 2.0 features user-generated content. Their goal is to assist the recruitment journey in a seamless and effortless manner.

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Overall, I highlight that customers, within the online recruitment industry and without, have acknowledged the power of their role and the influence they can have on companies. Consumers are becoming more interactive and demanding of a closer Business-Consumer relationship, which is having a drastic impact on the nature of the communications model. The increasingly complex communications world means that CV-Library needs to understand how their various channels can work as one through tactical, strategic planning, and also to explore the possibilities of Influencer Marketing. Essentially, it is imperative that CV-Library notice that communications, no matter what the touch point, addresses consumer needs.

There were limitations in my analysis due to a lack of scope in certain aspects. Primary limitation was the inability to investigate all of CV-Library’s digital communication tools, and an inability to conduct thorough data-based research, such as on Google Analytics as I did not have access to CV-Library’s domain. Additionally, with respect to the fact that using e-recruitment services is entirely optional, moderating variables of personal opinion and free choice were not considered.

CV-Library is a successful brand with a crucial position in an ever-demanding online world. However, it still has scope to do greater things.

Introduction

Founded in October 2000 using a £9000 bank loan by Biggins (Clawson 2016), CV-Library began as an independent job site gaining traction in 2004 and increasing to an overall worth of £200 million in 2016 (Smale, 2016). CV-library now remains the third largest employment company in the UK, maintaining a database of over 14.5 million CV’s (CV-Library, 2019). Essentially, CV-Library act as an intermediary performing the searching and selection process for both jobseekers and recruiters alike, by connecting two relevant parties geographically and professionally, based on data provided at registration. Technology has enabled corporate websites, job seekers and suppliers to become more sophisticated, interactive and connected. Appendix A demonstrates the current landscape of e-recruitment.

CV-library’s target market is the professionally driven and ambitious individual, ranging between the ages of 18 to 55, who are particularly time-sensitive and require direction in life changing decisions. Their value proposition is to keep the recruitment journey simple and effective, offering comprehensive recruitment solutions to businesses of any size. To attract this broad audience successfully, CV-library orchestrate a succinct and effective digital communication strategy with a prime focus on Internet-related activities. Figure 1 demonstrates the current digital communication activities of CV-library, however for the purpose of the report, I shall delve into and evaluate their three dominant channels: website, Search-Engine-Optimisation (hereafter SEO) and email marketing.

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In order to evaluate CV-library’s digital communication strategy, it first is necessary to frame their service within the context of current external factors affecting the online recruitment industry within the UK. PoliticalEconomicSocialTechnological Analysis is used as a marketing tool for examining key macro-level factors in the business environment (Jurevicius, 2013).

Political

Recent UK political instability may have negative consequences for CV-Library as surveys suggest that businesses are holding back from making irreversible investment decisions until it is clear what the UK’s future relationship with other countries will be (Bloom et al., 2017). However, CV-Library could potentially rely on their sister-site Resume-Library in the US to generate traffic (CV-Library, 2019).

Economic

Despite the current future predicament of Brexit, the UK economy expanded 0.3% on quarter in the three months to June of 2017 (Trading Economics, 2017), and a steady market following the Economic Recession of 2008 (see appendix B). CV-Library exploit this stable economy as in 2015, the company in the Sunday Times’ 100 list of businesses with the fastest growing UK profits (Startups, 2015).

Social

Demographics including an ageing UK population can positively affect CV-Library’s consumer prospects as it suggests that the working lifetime of people is increasing, meaning jobs continue to be in demand. However, there is also a growth in early retirement suggesting that CV-Library must increase efforts in attracting elderly people to keep working.

Technological

There are 38 million active social media users in the UK (59% of its population) (Rose, 2017). CV-Library have utilised this by developing their own mobile application, however this report details that more effort should be placed on their media content.

Main Body

Marketing communications are the activities which are employed to communicate product or service information (Clemente, 1992). In subsequent evaluation, I shall regularly refer to the Unified-Theory-of-Acceptance-and-Use-of-Technology (Venkatesh et al., 2003) and Lai’s (2016) Stimulus-Theoretical-Framework (hereafter UTAUT and STF), as methods to assess digital channel acceptance and factors affecting a consumer’s intention to use individual channels.

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As an online employment company, CV-library’s website is their initial touchpoint with the consumer and therefore their strongest communication channel, with 175,392 jobs to search from (CV Library, 2019), and it is also subject to fierce competition. Below is an analysis of CV-Library’s main competitors for the website channel.

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of clarity in their website design, which they must improve to enable retention of customers who land of their home page (see Figure 4), as STF model suggests that website design has a direct impact on the consumer’s perceived ease of use of the site. Additionally, CV-Library successfully address the instant needs of the consumer by sending “Instant job matches via email”. This will allow the user to acknowledge that they are supported, nurtured and cared for. However, I suggest that CV-Library send this instant communication to all potential consumer touchpoints, such as Twitter, Facebook, or SMS, to successfully deliver to users who use email infrequently.

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However, CV-Library’s landing page aesthetically attracts their professional and ambitious target consumer due to the mature and modest choice of blue and white colours. The UTAUT model suggests that a consumer’s age directly affects their performance expectancy of a site. Therefore, if a consumer sees their age as fit and reflected within CV-Library’s design, they are more likely to use and accept it. The user-centred design allows the user to feel comfortable that the company can support their needs through the repeated emotive language of “your”, despite the lack of a tangible product or physical intimacy. CV-Library have built their user experience around increasing the likelihood of visitors registering, through distinct elements such as the Call-to-Action “Register” on a green background with a subtle gradient 3-D effect. The use of green is particularly apt in 2019 as it denotes growth and arguably represents the current trend within young professionals of environmental awareness. UTAUT model suggests that a user’s voluntariness of use is directly affected by their social influence, and if the application indeed resonates with the current wave of climate concern, they may feel more inclined to register. The interface aids the customer experience by naturally guiding the user to an area that may be of interest, such as the simulated slideshow of employer logos, displaying images that may be familiar to them. Such “flow” is effective in gently guiding users’ navigation as it is the most important factor contributing to increased learning of the user online (Skadberg and Kimmel, 2004), making the customer journey more enjoyable.

However, Figure 5 highlights that there are excessive areas on the page that a user’s vision is guided too. I suggest that CV-Library remove the employer slideshow to not detract from their main offer: encouraging users to register. Removing such images will also increase CV-Library’s page speed (currently 0.4 seconds behind Indeed’s speed) and maintain the attention of users. Figure 5 also implies that CV-Library’s main call-to-action is not registered immediately by users as the green “register” button is not highlighted, and I therefore suggest that despite the colour’s potential ability to resonate with the user, it is changed to a white button with bright blue text, as blue is seen to cover the principal aspects of the offer. cv There is a significant difference in CV-Library’s mobile landing page, with less interactive content than the desktop version (see Figure 6).

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The absence of a clear “Register” on mobile conflicts with the time-sensitive and spontaneous target user, making the mobile-web channel ineffective as UTAUT states that facilitating conditions affect use behaviour. I recommend that CV-Library increase their efforts in including improved Call-to-Actions on their mobile site, bearing in mind that globally, mobile users are surpassing desktop users with 53% of online traffic coming from mobiles (Carter, 2019). The Value Bubble Model (Albert and Saunders, 2003) has been used to structure recommendations for CV-Library’s website channel, providing a comprehensive framework to develop website strategies:

Attracting

  • Include a tool on the landing page titled “Create Your Free CV Now” to allow users who have not yet made a CV to apply instantly, giving the user more control and increasing the facilitating conditions (UTUAT).
  • Improve the interactivity of both desktop and mobile to improve the consumer’s evaluation of the website. The use of human faces in the design will aid building of a Business-Consumer connection.
  • Use Display Ads on a third-party website to enhance brand awareness and reach. However, avoid the perhaps potential damage to reputation by doing so, by segmenting the target audience to understand which other websites they regularly use, to carefully select which websites.

Retaining

  • Create a pop-up survey (opening when the user lands on the site) to conduct market research about the user’s goals so that future content can be tailored to their needs.
  • Create a “chat now” 24-hour tool to provide instant support, increasing gratification of users. Once finished conversating with a user, send an instant follow-up email to build consumer trust through keeping the stated promises.
  • Introduce customer reviews and ratings on the landing page to out-compete Indeed as an online recruiter and humanise the journey.
  • Search-Engine-Optimization is a method of improving the search engine results of a webpage. If one enters a term to the search, the engine will return all results found based on what is most likely to be the most relevant for the user. CV-library effectively make use of SEO which increases their website referrals.

    Table 2 demonstrates CV-Library’s organic position in the Search-Engine-Results-Page (SERP) compared to its competitor’s SEO metrics. As a job seeker, CV-Library appeared twice organically and once through Pay-Per-Click (PPC). This data suggests Indeed are three times more likely than CV-Library to be discovered by relevant customers, thus improving their number of registered users. However, CV-Library placed higher in the SERP when keyword “CV” was mentioned, as oppose to Indeed which appeared more with keyword “job”. CV-Library appeared to have two PPC for recruiter searches and only one for job seeker, thus suggesting that as a company, they are focusing their efforts on attracting more recruiters. However, when compared to Indeed’s three PPC for a recruiter, CV-Library was outcompeted, implying that the company should increase their PPC efforts to rank higher in the SERP for potential recruiters, increasing traffic to the site.

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    Whilst searching for CV-Library, a customer may easily be drawn to competitor’s sites due to their higher organic position in the SERP. The customer may feel belittled or confused due to CV-Library’s lack of consistency in their organic position in the SERP and feel less inclined to visit the site, as Morgan et al., (2003) cite that throughout the customer experience, customers are not purely rational. Moreover, if a competitor such as Indeed appears in a higher-ranking position, the searcher may feel that the highest result is the most relevant and beneficial, considering that CV-Library’s target consumer as someone who feels they need encouragement when making decisions. Therefore, CV-Library must improve their PPC efforts to build a connection with the searcher and as a brand, position themselves in the minds of the consumer as the most relevant and advantageous for them. However, I recommend that CV-Library remain mindful that only improving one aspect of the customer experience is not likely to deliver the full experience that customer’s desire, and that they improve their page titles to attract the consumer to click on CV-Library’s link. CV-Library’s current is title simply “Job Search – Find 175,000 Jobs”, and to appeal to the user more through engaging language, I recommend changing it to “Find Your CV in Only Two Clicks!”, appearing enthusiastic and accommodating. The use of the metaphor “Two Clicks” will be effective as UTUAT implies that if a user views a task as requiring little effort, they are more likely to want to use it.

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    Figure 7 demonstrates that CV-Library’s highest searched keyword is “cv library”, at 2,300 searches. Significant information about the reflection of the site brand can be extracted from this data, such as lower-case letters ‘cv’ and a relevance to the UK. To improve the customer experience of CV-Library’s SEO efforts and remain consistent, I recommend that their URL (www.cv-library.co.uk) is adjusted to (www.cvlibrary.co.uk), as results show that most users do not register the use of the hyphen, and that ‘CV’ is de-capitalised. Additionally, to outperform Indeed, CV-Library must increase their PPC efforts in terms of the keyword “job”. Perhaps CV-Library can increase the number of ‘home pages’ it maintains, as Strauss, et al., (2003) cite that increasing the number of ‘doorways’ improves search engine rankings (see Appendix C). Research shows that CV-Library have recently improved their efforts in increasing their SEO channel by appointing “Click Consult”, a data science company, to focus on the strategy (Feeley, 2019). However, I advise that CV-Library acknowledge that SEO, as a long-term strategy, should be accompanied by a short-term strategy to gain quicker results and out-pace competitors, such as advertising in AdWords. I also recommend that CV-Library increase the number of backlinks to the webpage by creating more infographics or “how-to” posts with embedded videos, for example. Increasing the number of backlinks will increase CV-Library’s SEO ranking, thus adding more credibility to the site as UTUAT states that if users are influenced socially to click on the web page, their behavioural intention is encouraged. Unfortunately, there is no set guideline on SEO improvements due to the search algorithms changing frequently. CV-Library must stay on top of relevant SEO trends and acknowledge that in terms of awareness, SEO is poor for driving traffic compared to other digital channels. Email E-mail has become essential for marketing since the era of the Web 2.0 started its emergence. CV-library conduct an efficient email marketing service with a prime focus on Opt-in-email as users subscribe to their emailing service at the time of registration. Lauterborn’s Four C’s Model (1990), is an equivalent model to the traditional 4Ps, but viewed from a customer perspective. I shall utilise the model to evaluate CV-Library’s use of the channel and their creation of customer experience.

    Figure 8 displays the first email that I received after registering in search of “Digital Marketing” roles. Figure8: Subscriber email from CV-Library CV-Library’s use of personalisation through ‘Holly’ and ‘you’ allow the user to feel safe, understood and tended to which influences the user’s perception of ease to carry out the task of ‘Uploading CV’. UTAUT framework suggests that if the consumer believes they can voluntarily upload their CV, without pressure, then that would in turn influence their behavioural intention. Additionally, the carefully recommended jobs effectively communicate value and reflect closeness to their customers by placing the user as the focus point, which also aids the customer experience by shortening the time spent searching for appropriate roles.

    cv

    The email content effectively satisfies customers due to their low-cost offer of a “Free CV Review” (Figure 9). UTUAT framework suggests that this free charge is a facilitating condition (as price is not a barrier to entry), which will encourage the user to register and overall make the CV reviewing and submitting experience an enjoyable process. Research shows that companies are aiming to provide solutions to customers, rather than selling a single product, thus implying that CV-Library are effectively pursuing this channel by remaining competitive with other online recruiters. However, there may be certain users who are satisfied with their current CV and are searching for additional support, such as

    cv

    It was noticed that initial CV-Library emails were sent to the ‘Junk’ folder (highlighted in Figure 10), making it inconvenient for the consumer monitor a different folder. Figure10: Subscriber email from CV-Library Order Now This error reduces the quality of the customer experience as emails not sent to the Inbox have a high chance of not being viewed and critically, worrying the consumer that the message is unsafe. STF Framework suggests that the user will be less accepting of the communication if the consumer perceives the message as unsecure. Additionally, a certain consumer may interpret the title of the email as slightly condescending through the use of the imperative “Don’t forget”. If the consumer views an unopened email as one which de-values their worth from the offset, they may be less likely to engage with the content. Communication CV-Library appear to increase the amount of content on their emails as the volume of emails sent increases, as seen in Figure 11. Despite the large amount of content, there is a lack of incentive to interact with CV-Library other than to “upload your CV”. Additionally, there is minimal integration with CV-Library’s other digital channels with the small media logos, resulting in users who use email as their least preferred communication method may not see the relevance or need to view or employ the information sent. CV-Library must regulate users’ response rate and realise that once a user has not replied or interacted for one week minimum, they should send tailored messages with obvious links to their other channels which may be more applicable for them, such as “Email not for you? Catch us on Twitter now!”.

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    Recommendations

  • Increase the size and visibility of the Social Media emoticons to appeal to those users who use social media more frequently.
  • Further improve email personalisation by segmenting the list of subscribers to provide more focused messages and create an ultimately higher response rate.
  • Realise the value of Influencer Marketing by selecting influencers to produce YouTube videos (to embed into email content) acting as a brand advocate and encouraging registration.
  • Alter email frequency to once every three days to eliminate the risk of un-subscription.
  • Utilise the use of humour in email Subjects such as “Feeling stuck? No worries!” or “Need a job? We’re here for you” to stay in control with the customer and avoid appearing patronising.
  • Include a ‘safe sender’ message to avoid emails landing in Junk and being unseen.
  • Final Recommendations

    As a result of critical assessment of CV-Library’s three main digital communication channels, I have extracted that their strategies thrive on differentials, but they are not managing channel integration. Indeed, this lack of multichannel integration may be due to the fast-paced evolution of the online recruitment industry, however it must be considered in order to provide customers with a seamless experience, offline and online. Wallace et al., (2004) cited that once a company embraces a multichannel strategy, the portfolio of service outputs provided to the customer is simultaneously enhanced, thus improving customer satisfaction. CV-Library must:

  • Improve PPC efforts and the user website experience to outpace competitor Indeed. Include a real-time customer support “chat” line to humanise the Business-to-Customer relationship, making it more intimate and thus improving customer loyalty.
  • Account for recruitment trends such as Psychometric tests or video applications by recognising CV’s are no longer the sole method of job application.
  • Acknowledge that consumers now view recruitment as an under structure of society with the increasing visibility of applicants on sites such as LinkedIn. CV-library should avoid focusing on their website as their main channel of communication and look to exploit social media as their prime source.
  • Consistently measure the Digital Marketing efforts to understand the evolving consumer through Google Analytics and Mail Chimp.
  • Overall, realise that the strength of the business case is in the potential to transform the end-to-end value chain.
  • Conclusion

    Recruitment and job applications has metamorphosed from a monotonous topic into a dynamic and prosperous sector. Ultimately, CV-Library must realise that to remain a front-runner in an evolving and unpredictable digital marketing sphere, they must be intellectually close to the user and humanise the journey, primarily by utilising the Internet in more sophisticated ways or as an intelligent device. They must aim to be a service that the consumer not only desires, but that they see as a necessity and foundation of everyday life.

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    Clawson, T. (2016) ‘Small beginnings: how CV-Library built an £18m revenue business from a £9,000 loan’, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevorclawson/2016/04/29/small-beginnings-how-cv-warehouse-built-an-18m-revenue-business-from-a-9000-loan/#289d1fe41c78 (Accessed: 28 November 2019).

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    Feeley, M. (2019) CV-Library appoints click consult to deliver paid search strategy. Available at: https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/03/15/cv-library-appoints-click-consult-deliver-paid-search-strategy (Accessed: 28 November 2019).

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