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Executive Search Firm


This company was struggling to grow mind and market share in the West Michigan market. They were continually bumping up against the larger Chicago and Detroit-based firms, and wanted to let the local market know they were a viable alternative to the more expensive big-city firms. We met with them to review their messaging and marketing materials, and suggested we conduct a research study to identify the need for and the characteristics of a search firm desired by local companies.


We developed a survey to probe on the following issues:

  • Identify the preference of businesses in the local market for retained versus contingency searches.
  • Identify what businesses look for in an agency when the need arises to perform executive-level searches.
  • Identify which firms a business in the local market typically uses - and why - when the need arises to perform executive-level searches.
  • Identify hiring trends in the local market, drawing comparisons to the past 2 years' data.
  • Identify specific opportunities that may currently exist in the local market.

The data gathered demonstrated very clearly that the firm was going to market with the wrong benefits and value proposition: Their sales and marketing materials always led with "we are the local search firm", however when testing various characteristics with the audience, location of the search firm was of least importance to the target audience. HR directors wanted to know that they had experience in their industry, and that they had a strong track record of successful placements. We took the knowledge gained, and repositioned all of the sales scripts, marketing materials, web site content and direct mail campaigns to meet the needs of the target audience. Their message is now being heard, and business has been growing each year.