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The Ultimate Guide to Talent Management [Strategy + Best Practices]



The Ultimate Guide to Talent Management [Strategy + Best Practices]

Ever wonder what sets successful businesses apart from those organizations that struggle year after year?

The product or service, pricing, industry, market share, and a thousand other factors can impact business success. However, there is one area that if they don’t get right, they’ll never flourish as an organization.

Hiring and retaining quality employees.

You may believe that your customers are the most important aspect of your business, but who is serving your customers? Without a top-notch staff, your product won’t make it to market, and you won’t have any customers to serve.

With high turnover rates across industries, employers are scrambling to understand what attracts top talent, cultivates loyalty and engagement among employees, and encourages them to stick around for the long haul. If your team is experiencing dissatisfaction, low engagement and productivity, and a revolving door in your HR department, you’re probably wondering this as well.

The good news is implementing a talent management program can help businesses of all sizes and employee engagement levels find a sense of balance.

What is talent management?

Put yourself in your employee’s shoes for a moment. What is your employee experience like? What attracted you to the company in the first place? Was there something they could’ve done that would’ve made you even more eager to work there?

Now think about the onboarding process. Were you provided with the training and support you needed to succeed in your role? Are you appreciated for your unique skills and compensated appropriately? Do you believe there are adequate growth opportunities? How about the workplace culture? Do you feel comfortable voicing opinions and new ideas?

All of these questions factor into your employee’s experience and whether or not they remain engaged in their roles, or become disconnected, disheartened, and dissatisfied with their job. When this happens, they aren’t exhibiting the productivity you’re looking for, and it won’t be long before they’re planning an exit strategy.

Talent management falls into three distinct categories:

  1. HR processes that work together to create the best possible employee experience. We’ll discuss this more in the next section.
  2. Attracting, Developing, Motivating, and Retaining top talent for your organization.
  3. Developing High-Performing Employees

“The purpose of your talent management strategy is to attract, motivate and retain your employees,” says Rameez Kaleem, Founder, and Director of 3R Strategy.

“No one factor, such as pay or perks, will enable you to do this. You need to consider your overall strategy to create an environment where employees can thrive and feel empowered to achieve excellence. This includes your approach to pay, benefits, creating a positive work environment, and providing people with personal and professional growth opportunities.”

As a business owner, manager, or HR professional, it’s your job to provide the best possible conditions for your employees so when outside opportunities knock, they can’t help but say “no thank you, I’m happy here.”

talent management: elements needed to retain your employees

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How does talent management fit under the HR umbrella?

While talent management can fall under the responsibilities of a manager or senior leader, depending on the structure of your organization, it may be carried out (at least in part) by your Human Resources department.


Human Resources is responsible for instituting workplace policies, handling interpersonal issues, and administering payroll. However, many businesses, also have a hand in the hiring process, training, mentoring, and creating the employee experience. Your HR department may shoulder the responsibility of employee engagement, performance, and company culture.

Because of this, it is essential that your HR department is considered a part of the talent management team.

Talent Management Strategy

Hopefully, you approach every aspect of your business, from marketing to sales to production to delivery and follow-up (and everything in between), with a strategy. Talent management is no different. In order to create the most positive experience for your employees, you’ll want to approach talent management with a strategic plan designed to efficiently reach your goals.

There are five steps you’ll want to work through in order to do this.

1. Identify the goals and the metrics you’ll use to measure your progress.

What do you hope to see from your Talent Management program? Are you looking to attract a higher caliber of employees? Are you experiencing extremely high turnover and looking to hang on to your top talent? Identify the talent management metrics that will allow you to track your progress and determine if you’ve reached your goal.

2. Select one or two areas to focus on (at first) before taking on a massive overhaul.

While it would be amazing to improve every aspect of your employee experience overnight, these things take time. Once you’ve determined your goals in Step 1, you’ll have a clearer picture of which area of Talent Management to tackle first. Once you’ve gotten that area optimized, you can move to the next.

3. Consider what sets you apart from the competition.

You’re used to competing for customers, but have you ever considered that you’re competing for talent as well? Just like your customers, your employees (or potential employees) have other options as well. They want to find the best fit and compensation for their skills, and you can bet they’ll be doing their homework.

Know what sets you apart from others and what makes you special. Do you offer special perks for employees? Does your culture make your employees proud to be there? Does your contribution to the community excite potential and existing team members?

Know what makes you different and don’t be afraid to communicate it to potential employees.

4. Identify the specific skills needed to grow and prosper.

Do you already have someone on your staff that can take on this responsibility? Perhaps you’ve got an HR business partner who can take the reins on a talent development program. Or perhaps, a talent manager is the first position you need to fill. Having a person dedicated to this program can help you get the most out of your existing employees, and guide the decision-making process on new hires.

5. Identify and analyze the key performance indicators.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Get specific with the key performance indicators you’ll use to determine your success in this endeavor. Pay close attention to these numbers and if they aren’t heading in the right direction, it may be time to revisit your strategy and switch gears.

The better your strategy, the better your execution. Don’t be afraid to take some time to plan before you dive in.

Talent Management Process

Now that you understand the strategy behind talent management, how do you incorporate it into your own organization? The talent management process consists of six steps:

1. Identify your needs.

If your sink was leaking, you wouldn’t hire an electrician. Before you start posting job openings, determine what roles you need to fill and what skills are required to complete these responsibilities. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be better positioned to create the job description and post the opening.

2. Attract the right talent.

Remember you have a treasure trove of talent at your fingertips. If you have the opportunity to promote from within your company, you’ll do much more than save time on onboarding. You’ll also raise employee morale as your team now sees room for advancement within the company. If you don’t have anyone suitable, then you can look outside of the organization for a new hire.

3. Select the right talent.

This differs from company to company. You may begin with creating a shortlist of resumes, require a test to be taken, hold individual or team interviews, and ultimately leave it to the department manager or HR to make the decision. No matter how you go about it, make sure that you refer back to Step 1 and hire based on your needs.

4. Develop your employees.

This can include onboarding new employees as well as providing ongoing training for your existing employees. When you help an individual become the best employee possible.

5. Retain your employees.

You’ve worked hard to attract the best talent. Now, how do you ensure that they stay with you? Employee retention strategies can include increased pay, extra benefits or perks, rewards or gifts, promotions, etc.

6. Have an offboarding process in place.

No employee will last forever (we’ll discuss that in more detail below), but what do you do when an employee leaves? Get an understanding of what responsibilities they handle and look for a replacement based on your findings.

If the employee provided a great deal of value to the organization, ask them to train their successor so he or she is up and running before your existing employee leaves. You may also want to include an Exit Interview. You can discover a great deal of knowledge about the employee experience when you ask someone on his or her way out.

This talent management process will look a little different depending on your industry and your business model, however, this should give you a good understanding and a solid jumping-off point.

Talent Management Best Practices

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. There are a variety of talent management best practices that you can follow in order to be more successful. Some of these are:

  1. Have a strong employer brand. Candidates have choices when it comes to where they want to work. If you want to attract the best possible candidates, develop a strong brand as an employer.
  2. Have a good reputation. Of course, there are always things beyond our control, however, how the world views you is strongly based on how you show up as a company. Do what you say you’ll do and do it well.
  3. Encourage employee referrals. Good people know good people. Ask your existing employees to recommend job seekers they know and trust. Offer them incentives for their help and keep them apprised of how the process is going.
  4. Onboard and inboard properly. It’s a truly horrible feeling to join a company (or be promoted to a new role) and not be set up to succeed. Provide the training necessary for them to be their best selves in the new role.
  5. Provide ongoing training. Yes, they may know how to do their current job, but what are you doing to prepare them for their next role? Most employees want to progress up the career ladder and if you don’t give them the encouragement and opportunity to do this within your organization, they’ll surely go outside it.
  6. Create a talent pipeline. Eventually, every person will leave their role. This may be due to promotion, retirement, opportunities outside of the organization, etc. Prepare for this by identifying star performers and grooming them for promotion. When the time comes that a role is vacated, you’ll have someone waiting in the wings to step in.
  7. Provide performance feedback. No one likes to wonder if they’re hitting their marks and living up to their manager’s expectations. Provide regular feedback and opportunity for improvement so your employees are never in the dark about their present or future.

Your employees are truly the most important aspect of your business and without quality team members, you won’t be able to reach your goals. Implementing a talent management program in your business can help you position your organization as a sought-after employer and motivate employees to stay loyal to your organization.

Don’t be afraid to invest in your people. It will be the best investment you ever make.

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State of Content Marketing in 2023



State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]



Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand


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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow



MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.

Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 

Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.

Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.

Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 

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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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