Interim Services Inc., a $1.8 billion employment agency in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, completed a second flight of commercials this month as it continues to use DRTV both for recruiting and brand awareness.
The company, which is the first in the employment industry to use DRTV advertising, doubled its TV budget to $4 million this year, spending most of that on remnant media. Interim decided to launch a DRTV campaign to generate more leads in a tight labor market.
“The unemployment rates are at a 24-year low throughout the country,” said Richard L. Gorman, vice president of marketing at the company. “In order to recruit people through all our lines – clerical, light industrial, legal and technology – we decided to switch from strictly image and awareness advertising to direct response TV commercials.”
All of its commercials are tagged with the 1-800-A-Career vanity number, which makes it difficult to precisely track individual spot placements, buy Gorman said he is pleased with the results so far.
“From the campaign's beginning [in October] through mid-March, we had about 22,000 calls into the system,” Gorman said. “We referred approximately 13,000 of those calls out to the field offices.”
The spots encourage viewers to call the toll-free number, which prompts them to answer a series of questions describing personal and professional characteristics, including job history and skills.
While Gorman is pleased with the number of leads the campaign has generated, he said the ultimate test of the campaign will be to measure the number of leads are actually placed into jobs. Right now, the company has not implemented a system to track a person from the call to the first paycheck, except when callers voluntarily offer a social security number.
Inbound telemarketing on the campaign is handled by FirstCall Communications Inc., a privately held teleservices firm also in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
The company uses an automated interactive voice response system to ask callers questions and record their answers. The IVR system is much more cost-efficient than hiring live operators, said Roy Semplenski, vice president of sales and marketing at FirstCall.
“In general, a live operator costs $0.85 to $0.95 a connect minute,” Semplenski said. “An automated system would be a third of that cost.” The company also handles telemarketing for Galderma Laboratories, which this year rolled out a DRTV campaign for Metrogel, a treatment for rosacea.
Interviewing a caller with the interactive system takes an average of seven minutes, Gorman said. The answers are recorded, then transcribed by Interim's service center. Interim calls back the candidates within 24 hours to verify geographic and skills information. The candidate's address is sorted by ZIP code and routed to one of Interim's 1,000 offices throughout every state, except Vermont and Idaho, which do not have offices. The field office then calls the candidate and arranges for a personal interview before recommending him or her to a client.
“We want to make sure we get back to the candidates in a timely manner and get leads to our offices in a timely manner,” Gorman said. “It kind of defeats the purpose to call back three weeks later.”
A Mixture of Media
While Interim buys most of its media on a direct response basis, it also buys media at the general rate to ensure that it has as wide a reach as possible. With its DRTV campaign, the company can measure the more immediate impact of its effectiveness in generating new leads.
“We've been advertising on national television since 1991 and it's been strictly image and awareness advertising,” Gorman said. “As we move through this image and awareness, it became quite evident to us that the biggest problem was not knowing how that awareness translated into leads.”
He said that its market research had determined that the company had built its awareness and name recognition level to about 15 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 54 through image advertising. While its DRTV advertising does generate leads, he said it also generates a residual amount of awareness among potential candidates and business clientele.
Miami advertising agency Crispen, Porter & Botusky developed the creative on the spots and also handles the media buy. The spots only appear on cable networks, including CNN, Headline News and business news channels.