Don’t underestimate the power of the purse. That’s what major sports league sponsors have learned from the data about women, their spending power, and their desire to tune into sports. And recruiters, it turns out, can learn a lot from how sports advertisers have begun to tap into female consumer markets.

Super Bowl and NFL sponsors have recently made concerted efforts to advertise to female fans, and three other sports leagues – the NBA, MBL, and NHL – have stepped up their games as well.

MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program, digs into the data about the spending power of women and how advertisers are targeting the female fan base in a recently published infographic,

A Pivot Toward Female Fans

Women control 70-80 percent of consumer purchases, which is why sports marketers have zeroed in on them. Globally, the incomes of women are forecast to reach a whopping $18 trillion by 2018, and women are expected to control almost 75 percent of discretionary spending by 2028. In addition, women consume sports more intensely than many may think. Forty-six percent of viewers for the 2015 NFL championship game were women, which equals 46 million female fans. During the regular season, all four leagues mentioned above have a high percentage of female viewers, ranging from 30 to 35 percent.

Women also make up a high proportion of the consumers of products that are advertised during regular season commercials, including beverages, apparel, insurance, and communications:

- Beverages: sports drinks (36 percent), beer (20 percent), soda (54 percent).

- Apparel: 60 percent of apparel purchases are made by women.

- Insurance: 57 percent of women have life insurance.

- Communications: 88 percent of women own cellphones.

For sponsors, these insights have created a major shift in advertising strategies and a bevy of new products across all categories created to appeal to female consumers.

Lessons for Recruiters

Rusty VanWe always talk about the ways in which recruiters can learn from marketers, and there’s definitely an overarching lesson for recruiters in this instance: You should never assume that you know who your candidates are – or what their preferences may be.

To find out who your candidates are, you need to dig into the data. If the sports sponsors had stuck to their assumptions about sports fanbases, they’d be missing out on massive sales opportunities. Recruiters can similarly hinder their own efforts by assuming they know who their candidates are and what they want. Instead, they have to track and analyze candidate data to figure out who their applicants truly are – and how to appeal to those applicants.

In addition to these specifics, there are other things that recruiters can learn from marketers, and an article from Glassdoor highlights just a few:

1. Create a Connection

The quickest way to create a sale is to facilitate a personal connection with a prospect. Just as these sports advertisers used data to better understand their fanbases – and targeted their efforts accordingly – so, too, should recruiters make every attempt to understand who their candidates are and how to connect with them.

2. People Talk More About Bad Experiences Than Good Ones

It’s an old adage that holds relevance to every industry and area of business, and it’s more important than ever. Thanks to the viral nature of social media, every company can benefit from stellar reviews – or suffer from negative ones.

The same applies to your recruiting efforts. Stories of great candidate experiences can boost your appeal, whereas stories of terrible experiences can seriously damage your hiring efforts.

3. Make Your Brand Known

Brand recognition trumps all when it comes to marketing success – that is, as long as it eventually leads to a sale. With the plethora of advertising channels available today, it’s easier than ever to get the word out about what you have to offer – and recruiters should make the most of all of these channels to spread the word about open roles and employer branding effort.

BridgeSports advertisers certainly excel here in this are – though, when you’re paying $4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime, you have no choice but to make it count.

4. Consistency Is King (or, in This Case, Queen)

Branding efforts always have to be consistent, and the same holds true for your employer brand. Recruiters are the first people in your organization with whom candidates interact. They are responsible for setting the tone and the candidate’s expectations. How a recruiter interacts with a candidate will play a crucial role in shaping that candidate’s impression of the company, so recruiters must make sure they are doing everything they can to consistently represent the company’s culture, values, and branding.

Women are a powerful force, both as consumers and as potential candidates for the next role you have to fill. You’ll optimize your outcomes by deepening your understanding of who they are and what they need – and targeting your recruiting efforts accordingly.

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