At Salesforce, Nichola Palmer works with customers to bring their stories of innovation and transformation to life. In this article, she shares how the SEEK Asia team took an empathetic and data-informed approach to help job seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEEK Asia connects job seekers with employers. It operates as JobStreet in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Singapore, and as JobsDB in Thailand and Hong Kong. SEEK Asia typically handles more than 23 million applications every month, from around 1.5 million applicants.  

But today’s job market is a whole new ball game. The COVID-19 pandemic created lots of fear and uncertainty. To stay connected, relevant, and helpful to its customers, SEEK Asia needed entirely new marketing strategies.

SEEK Asia’s Chief Marketing Officer, Ramesh Rajandran, and Bernard Chong, Regional Head of Personalised Marketing & Insights, share more about how SEEK Asia adapted to the new job market:


Searching for the truth in data

“The new approach to the market required pure empathy in these highly challenging times ” Ramesh says, explaining the laser focus on job seekers’ and employers’ needs above all else. “The marketing plans we made at the start of the year didn’t make sense anymore.” 

SEEK Asia knew the employment market was looking for strong solutions in the midst of uncertainty. But before it could react in an empathetic manner, SEEK Asia had to ensure it properly understood the current environment. That involved going back to its customer data to find out what was driving the intent of job seekers and employers.


Data drove the SEEK Asia response

To conduct this deep dive into the market, Ramesh, Bernard, and their team turned to Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Social Studio. SEEK Asia used data from the beginning to shape the way it connects with and understands customers. Social Studio, in particular, offered revealing insights around what people were talking and asking about. 

“We use Marketing Cloud to understand our customers, both job seekers and employers, and be relevant to them. That has always been about personalisation, about knowing their mindset and answering their needs,” Ramesh says.


As the COVID-19 situation evolved, the SEEK Asia team quickly realised that it couldn’t answer all the needs in the job market alone. It needed to work with governments. In the Philippines, for example, SEEK Asia worked with the Department of Labour Employment to discuss how they could partner to help more Filipinos find employment.

Real-time data also allowed the team to see interactions with applicants across multiple channels. The next step was to use that data to nurture relationships. 

“We collected different signals from our candidates, so we knew which part of the customer journey they were on. By knowing which stage in the job process they were at, we could offer them very personalised content,” Bernard says.

“So, if a candidate was an active job seeker, we could offer useful, relevant advice. The data meant we could be completely relevant to each person, in that moment, and be of real assistance to them.”


Making a real difference with data

The SEEK Asia team refined and personalised communications with individuals to meet their needs. It could then focus on using their data to help solve the social and economic crisis of mass unemployment. 

While some industries were facing challenges, others were suddenly and unexpectedly booming. Businesses in the booming industries urgently required new staff. However, many were not equipped to find and onboard staff under such tight deadlines.

Recognising this, SEEK Asia moved quickly to develop the #WorkNow program to help match thousands of people with employers that urgently required staff. The program has had an overwhelming response. To date, more than 100,000 people have tagged their profiles with #WorkNow. 

“As a team, we are fiercely proud of our marketing pivot,” Ramesh says. “We wanted a sense of purpose about helping the community around us and #WorkNow has been able to help many people find new jobs.”


Learn more about data-driven marketing in the sixth edition of the State of Marketing report.