Negotiating a Crowded Market

In 2010, Staffing Industry Analysts estimated that there were 8,500 staffing companies in the United States, down from about 10,600 in 2007. We’d like to think that the market has grown more competitive over the last two years as the economy has improved, but the new figures aren’t in yet, so for now let’s assume that the number today is still 8,500.

Last year, staffing companies’ sales totaled nearly $110 billion (just over $98 billion of which came from temporary staffing). That number is projected to grow as many companies are shifting more and more of their workforces to contingent staffing.

In short: the staffing industry is a crowded market that will see yearly increases in both opportunity and competition.

What does that mean to you as a business owner or executive in the staffing industry? If you wish to avoid commoditization, you need to differentiate yourself from everyone else.

Think about it:

  • All staffing companies have great service.
  • All staffing companies match great people with great companies.
  • All staffing companies offer guarantees.
  • All staffing companies do a great job at screening their candidates.
  • All (well, most, at least) staffing companies have figured out to leverage social media.


If you don’t want your business to be seen as a body shop or “just another staffing company,” you must separate yourself from the competition and get noticed. For you to get noticed in a crowded market, all of your messaging needs to do much more than just explain why your firm truly is different from the rest. Actions speak louder than words.

Don’t just talk about the great people you have and the top-notch service you provide—show your clients what you can do. It’s good to identify your strengths and leverage them internally, don’t just toot your own own. Instead, implement a marketing strategy that focuses on adding value for your clients. Teach them something new, provide unbiased advice, or help them solve a business challenge unrelated to your end goal.

Remember, your competitors, too, are putting their communications into the same crowded market. To make your firm stand apart from the pack and have your message resonate, leverage tangible assets to add value for your clients. Last week, we scratched the surface of this topic in our discussion of making use of an old friend in the new media marketplace. Our next post will explore some creative ways to extend your online presence into the physical world, giving you another powerful connection with your audience.

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