MarchFirst Marches into Marketing Campaign

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The primary goal of marchFirst's initial major marketing campaign is not to generate business leads but to recruit the best potential employees.


"Our objective here is not lead generation," said Jeff Jones, global director of brand strategy at marchFirst, Chicago. "The hardest thing to do in the Internet services industry is to attract and retain the best people in the marketplace. That is what we are trying to do with this campaign."


The professional services Internet company -- which was created by the merger of Whitman-Hart and USWeb/CKS -- began a $30 million multimedia integrated marketing campaign last week.


The campaign's primary targets are recruits or potential employees. The secondary audience will be senior-level decision makers at businesses in North America and Europe.


MarchFirst will look to drive people to its newly launched Web site, www.marchFirst.com, by placing its Web address on print ads and at the end of television spots.


"In order to make ourselves more appealing to both recruits and businesses, the site is going to contain all of the relevant information that either would need," Jones said. "Whether they are looking for us to be a potential employer or service provider, all the information they will need will be there."


The campaign will begin in print media, and it will expand in the next few weeks to TV and the Web. The company plans to run ads through the end of the year.


Print ads began running last Monday in several daily newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It also placed ads in Crain's Chicago Business, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, San Jose Mercury News, The Boston Globe, The (Toronto) Globe & Mail and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


The first of four prints to appear is titled Scream. It depicts a teen-ager from the '60s clinging to a chain-link fence and crying uncontrollably. The headline, "The first rock star," reveals the reason for her enthusiasm. The copy continues: "Here's to being first. Here's to leading. Here's to altering the face of business by revolutionizing every single facet of your company. marchFirst." The tagline reads, "A new world. A new way."


In the next three weeks, ads will begin appearing in national business magazines, including Fortune, Forbes and Fast Company, as well as in lifestyle magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler and Worth.


The next print ad, titled Cubist, is scheduled to begin running this week. The black-and-white ad is a photograph that depicts a turn-of-the-century gallery where people are looking directly at the camera and appear to be puzzled. The other ads are Satellite, showing a family looking into the sky at the first space satellite, and Automobile, which depicts the first car.


Four different TV ads will begin running during Wimbledon broadcasts on June 26. The four commercials will be called Living Room, in which a family watches the first man on the moon; Upside Down Head, another cubist art depiction; Café, the first miniskirt; and Penguin, representing the first expedition to the South Pole. The end of the commercials will carry the company's Web address.


The online portion of the campaign is still in development, but Jones said it will use the same tone as the others by focusing on the emotional impact of being first.


MarchFirst worked with advertising agency McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, NC, to create the campaign.
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