As I talked with William Tincup, I couldn’t help thinking about Kinky Friedman. Friedman is an Texan songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician who styles himself after Will Rogers and Mark Twain. Bigger than life and brimming over with ideas, Tincup, who is the public networking half of HR marketing firm Starr-Tincup, tirelessly channels Friedman’s hard-edged and plain spoken essence. The effect is enchanting: hard-charging, cigar smoking, outlaw admiring, creative energy from the heart of Texas.
It’s fair to say that there are not a lot of guys like this in the world of HR. William says that this is exactly what you want in a marketing consultant…out of the box and over the top. The thing is , when you dig just a little bit below the surface, you find the mind of a strategist.
Tincup extends his high volume high intensity approach to his networking trips. “I want to see as many people in San Francisco as I can in four or five days. So, I schedule 20 to 25 meetings from breakfast to late night. The best part of my job is that I get to talk with everyone.”
That’s why top level marketing people are such an important part of the fabric of the HR industry. They see trends from across a broad range of perspectives. Their views are inherently strategic and include broad market dynamics. Tincup is one of the best.
I asked him what he thought the biggest trends in the HR Market are right now.
Tincup believes strongly that the market has been “bamboozled” by Talent Management vendors. With some examination, this means that he believes that Mercedes level expectations were created just before Smart Car realities hit. He uses very strong language to describe the predicament of the mid market HR leader.
“The Talent Management Suite rhetoric exposed critical weaknesses in most HR operations. The clear identification of deficiencies and redundancies in most HR operations simultaneously scared and attracted the customer. Then, when the bottom fell out of the market, they could not afford to fix the problem that they’d identified to their bosses. The customer has egg on her face. The economic landscape is unravelling the idea of an integrated Talent Suite.”
“Recession has exacerbated the problem. They know the problem but the solution is out of reach. It has set the stage for powerful positioning by point solution providers. By simply ignoring the data redundancy problem and the risks of dis-aggregated tool sets, the sales of individual solutions should accelerate at the expense of complex suites.”
We talked further about the market.
“Little vendors are doing better with smaller customers. In the large players, the contract advocate is as likely to be replaced in the next round of shrinking as not. As a result, big ticket sales are slowing down even where there is budget. Meanwhile, smaller offerings from smaller vendors are taking hold. The enterprise level sale is too complex for the market and they have the messaging all wrong.”
Social media is making a big impact on the HR community though very little has made it to the level of policy. Individual practitioners are engaged in individual experiments while the issues sort themselves out. One of the key questions is the difference between public and private personas in an online world.
New individual brands like PunkRockHR, HRBartender, and /component/page,shop.product_details/category_id,6/flypage,flypage.tpl/product_id,48/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,27/vmcchk,1″>acheter cialis original Cheezhead are at odds with conventional notions of branding and decorum. I asked William what he thought about the matter.
“First of all, great new talent /component/page,shop.product_details/category_id,6/flypage,flypage.tpl/product_id,48/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,27/vmcchk,1″>acheter cialis original is surfacing. Have you seen Kris Dunn at Fistful of Talent? He’s simply amazing. A guy like that offering all that value and insight would never have had a hearing in the old days. So, the benefit is lots of great new ideas entering the conversation. Ultimately, this will accelerate the development of the HR profession.
The rest of the personal branding – private persona dichotomy is fascinating. Over the long haul, it boils down to credibility and authenticity. If the people with those brands deliver real value and it is consistent with their off line reality, they will flourish. The thing about massive distributed transparency is that it roots out deception and inconsistency. If they are not people of integrity, their futures are short.”
The conversation with William was amazing and vastly exceeded our allotted time.
John Sumser is the founder and CEO of TwoColorHat, a company specializing in market strategy for HR – Recruiting Vendors. You can keep up with his other stuff at johnsumser.com. Follow the rest of the Top 100 Influencers project.