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Sexing Up Trade Jobs

Believe it or not, a lot of ad agencies who don't target recruitment do recruiting marketing work. One such agency is Point to Point out of beautiful Cleveland, and we invited CEO Megan Kacvinsky on the show to talk about a recent campaign they did for Ferguson to help attract more young folks to a trade profession. The social media of choice to get in front of this audience? Gotta listen to find out.


INTRO (2s):

Hi is your kids lock the doors. You're listening to HRS most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where hers complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark buckle up boys and girls it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (23s):

Oh yeah, what's up everybody. It's your favorite podcast? Joel Cheesman. These podcasts rolling solo today in beautiful majestic Cleveland, Ohio sitting down with an old friend from way back in the day who is now on to bigger and better things. CEO of her own agency. Everyone welcome Megan Kavinsky to the show. She is CEO. At point to point, they are a B2B marketing communications agency focused exclusively on the building materials and industrial manufacturing categories with a little angle to employment, which we're going to touch on today. Megan, welcome to the show. Hey

Megan (1m 1s):

Joel. Great to be here and great. Great to see you.

Joel (1m 4s):

We haven't changed a bit in 20 years almost of his sleigh obviously, but it's a podcast.

Megan (1m 10s):


Joel (1m 11s):

I have a face for podcasting. I've heard. Well, what did I, did I miss anything about you or point to point that the listeners should know about?

Megan (1m 19s):

No, I mean, you said it really well that we're a B2B marketing communications agency. We focus really in the manufacturing segment and within manufacturing, building materials and industrial manufacturing. So I like to say that we market to the segments that keep the economy going, you know, architects, designers, contractors, building owners, property managers, you know, really important segments that you need to have a unique understanding to be able to get the right message to them and the right channels. Cause it's, you know, it's niche for sure.

Joel (1m 52s):

Chad and I were coming up to the headquarters here in Cleveland and I was a resident here for 10 years and I kinda just thought, what are people doing that might be relevant to talk about? And I came, I came across Megan and found out her agency had helped an organization called Ferguson, which I'm going to guess none of our listeners know what Ferguson is so we can talk about that. But also the, the case study that you had in your website was specific to employment, which is what we talk about on the show. And I think there are a lot of lessons here that are, some of our listeners could get from what you guys did with Ferguson to help them paint a more positive picture on the trades and, and who you were targeting for the campaign, what you did. Because I think a lot of companies like Ferguson are trying to find their way around, how do we get more plumbers and pipe fitters and whatever other professions that I have no idea what they are to fill.

Joel (2m 43s):

So let's start with, with Ferguson, who are they just real basics? How long have they been around? What do they specialize in? And then we'll get into sort of the, the employment dilemma that they had. Sure.

Megan (2m 53s):

Well, Joel, I think you might be underestimating your listeners. Ferguson's pretty big. So Ferguson is the largest plumbing wholesaler in the United States. They have beautiful showrooms that hopefully some people have gone to because they do a really great job showcasing, not just plumbing fixtures, but full kitchens and bass lighting. And they really have some gorgeous, gorgeous products in them, but they also have plumbing counters. They have water works, you know, things that go below the ground, you know, so there's a lot to their business. They're pretty, they're pretty big. And they rely a lot on skilled trades to get their products in the right places

Joel (3m 31s):

I imagined. Did they come specifically to you for employment help or do you help them with everything? And then they said, Hey, we have this employment issue. Can you guys help us out with that?

Megan (3m 40s):

A lot of our clients, Ferguson has an internal marketing team and an agency kind of within their, their, their organization when they come to point a point it's for projects that are either overflow or things that they feel like they really need someone with industry perspective or, and that's what this one was. It was, we are looking to help raise awareness of the trades as a whole beyond some of the channels that we're more used to using, or not really sure exactly the best way to go about doing this. And they wanted someone with better industry perspective to help them figure it out.

Joel (4m 13s):

So how did, how did it unfold? What was the conversation like? What sort of the mission of the campaign? Was it just to create a better image? Was it actually sort of, we want applicants, like we want to call to action. Like what exactly was sort of the, the initial conversations about you remember

Megan (4m 30s):

The initial conversations were that it was more about the industry as a whole. So this is an coming out of their corporate social responsibility budget, and it is focused more on raising awareness of the value of a career in skilled trades. It wasn't about driving applicants for Ferguson. It actually wasn't even about promoting their brand at all. That was like a tertiary component to the campaign. What they were looking for is who should we be reaching in terms of, is it kids in high school, kids in college, their parents who's the right audience for a campaign like this, what messages would resonate with them? How do we best get a message in the market? Because Ferguson, like a lot of our clients is really heavily invested in important organizations like skills, USA and others that help people who are already interested in a career in the trades be able to achieve their dreams, but there's not enough people that are interested.

Megan (5m 25s):

And so it was trying to create a better funnel, like a level above where they had been investing their dollars.

Joel (5m 31s):

So you mentioned kids in high school. So the target market was let's call it 16 to 24, something around that, that level. So there's no desire to get old people that it may be left or retired back into the industry.

Megan (5m 45s):

That's a problem in the industry actually, is that like, I think it's a quarter of the industry is still people that are over the age of 55. And so, you know, nearing retirement. So they're really looking to what is the future of skilled, skilled trades. And so that's why it was 16 to 24 year olds was the target. And in our research, we found that you have to target both the 16 to 24 year old and their parent that it's still not a decision that someone is making autonomously at that age. So we were trying to get kids that were maybe on the fence about going into a trade program at their high school or had gone to college and figured out it wasn't right for them.

Megan (6m 25s):

And the parent is still heavily involved in like the what's next or where am I going with my future here type conversation for kids that age.

Joel (6m 32s):

Sure. And that's a challenging problem. I know that we've talked on the show about a high percentage of that age group, want to be, you know, influencers on social media and they think that that's the way to get a job. So that's something really sexy. The trades are, are definitely on the opposite side of that was the, was the goal of obviously with video, you can, you can relay a visual image, was the message. Mainly this can be sexy too, or like, Hey, you can start a career, build a foundation, look that tick talk influencer careers. Probably not kind of workout now that you said that, but I think it would be a significant problem. I assume that you, you thought about, geez, these guys have, you know, they can be a DoorDash driver. They can be, you hope to be an influencer. Those are things that would be really hard.

Joel (7m 13s):

I think to message out and get them on the trades road. Was that thought about in the campaign when you were looking at, how do we message this thing?

Megan (7m 21s):

There's a lot of stigmas around a career in the trades. So, you know, one being that it's male-dominated, another being that it doesn't really require a lot of intelligence and other one that you don't make a lot of money. So we definitely, we wanted to use a mix of data-driven headlines that pushed back at the misconceptions of what a career in the trades would look like along with imagery that would then support that it is a diverse field. You know, that a lot of different people have career options. And so it is an edit. You mentioned, you know, against influencers, you know, that is it's hard. You know, the, the images do show what it's like to really have a career in the trades. It is, it is a physical job, but it is not something that really everyone can find a role.

Megan (8m 6s):

There's a lot of different options.

Joel (8m 7s):

One of the campaign target, was it a national campaign? Was it regional to the Midwest or Northeast? Like talk about the targeting in terms of geo?

Megan (8m 17s):

So there were, it was a national campaign from a digital perspective. And then there were portions of the campaign that at point a point we did, and then the proportions of the campaign that we turned to assets over to the Ferguson team to deploy. And so they did a lot more with some PR, some out-of-home and select markets and particular, the paid social component. There was advanced TV, there was Snapchat. All of those things were done at a national scale.

Joel (8m 41s):

You mentioned that that Ferguson was involved. I think a lot of times they just give it to the agency or the, the, the S the service and just say, figure it out. So the fact that they were involved as interesting w were there elements on their side where they would take maybe the video and embedded into their career site or job descriptions or their main site, like, did they actively push the video to their traffic? Their visitors

Megan (9m 5s):

Don't know the answer to that question, don't know. Okay.

Joel (9m 7s):

But I'm sure you recommended that they get the most out of their, out of their content. So you, you make the video. Did you guys make it in-house? Did you outsource it? Talk about that process.

Megan (9m 18s):

Yeah, we made the video in house, so we do a lot of video content development like this internally. There's some great stock imagery that relates to construction that is really starting to show a more diverse population. So Getty images did some work a couple of years ago to really show more about diversity equity inclusion, help create a better base of content for brands to choose from. So that's definitely been helpful, you know, really just edit it together to create a short form video with, you know, heavy, heavy superscript music bed, you know, really compelling visuals to engage. And we do a lot of video content that way we still do shoots, you know, there's a really great shot shoot in a mine that we've done. That's on our website and, you know, a lot of product photography, but we find that this for social content in particular is a really good way to cost-effectively get things done.

Joel (10m 7s):

In terms of length of video, do you have sort of a sweet spot that you found as an agency that a video should be in link? Because I think there's some, there's a lot of debate around, should it be six seconds? Should it be six minutes? Like where do you guys fall in terms of how long a video should be?

Megan (10m 21s):

Well, if you're paying to promote it, sometimes there are caps on the length, you know, based on certain social platforms. And we really recommend that you have to have a paid component to what you're doing, because the social media channels don't prioritize brand presence or corporate presence. So you're not gonna really get the bang for your buck, you know, the return that you want, unless you put some dollars behind it. So most of our videos I would say are in like the minute to 90 seconds range, you know, nothing's really beyond three, definitely nothing longer than what is compelling for your message. So if you're not interested in anymore, stop talking,

Joel (10m 59s):

And you mentioned, you mentioned stock video, and there's a lot of a debate, I think in our space of should use actual employees. Like how gritty should the film be and how should it, should you just hold it and talk? Or should you have a professional film crew come out? And it looks like you've done both. Is the stock content primarily a cost decision? I know this wasn't specifically a Ferguson video where if it was maybe you would actually video Ferguson employees doing plumbing and all the things that they do, like, do you have any opinion on stock versus sort of real life or real real folks and how companies should sort of decide which one should we use?

Megan (11m 37s):

And in the case of Ferguson, they don't employ the plumbers or the mechanical engineers of the people that are installing the product, you know? So, so there, I think it just depends on what your messages and what you're trying to communicate. You know, so a lot of our clients actually have some great imagery of store employees or things like that, that we can use when we go to create these short form videos. And I think it just it's who are you trying to reach and how will they receive that message, you know, is this the best way to communicate with them? Okay.

Joel (12m 6s):

So let's talk about the actual campaign and distribution of the video. Like what platforms did you use, what was sort of the thought process of who, who should we be using? Obviously with that age group? I think it would become pretty obvious that you're not going to be on MySpace or LinkedIn. So, so what was the thought around, where are we going to put this video?

Megan (12m 25s):

As we wanted to reach both the 16 to 24 year old and their parent, and a lot of them still live together in the same home, advanced TV was a great way to really target that population. So we used advanced TV. We used paid social because Facebook, Instagram, you know, parents and kids are both there. And then for the, the specific, the 16 to 24 year old demographic, we did use Snapchat to reach them as well. So it was really more of an omni-channel mix trying to, you know, make sure that they saw the message in multiple different channels, multiple different times, really driving them to try and engage with the content was what we were looking because the campaign wasn't about driving applicants for Ferguson, it wasn't about driving people to skills USA.

Megan (13m 10s):

It was really about just raising awareness of the benefit of a career in skilled trades.

Joel (13m 16s):

That's a haul. So when you say engagement, the engagement you were looking for was likes, shares, follows that kind of thing.

Megan (13m 25s):

Yeah. The length, making sure people watch the entire video, you know, things, things like that.

Joel (13m 30s):

So you have a few metrics from the campaign. What, what did you find in terms of views and your internal metrics?

Megan (13m 38s):

Yeah, we got over 7 million impressions of the campaign as a whole, which was, you know, the client was thrilled because it was about scale. The other thing that we got was over 250,000 engagements within social media. And that was really even more impressive than the scale of what we got, because that shows that the message was resonating with the audience that it was intended to reach. And that was really what we were trying to do.

Joel (14m 2s):

So as a, as an agency, what are sort of working in the trades is definitely a different strategy than if you were working with tech companies or more hip, I guess, organizations Money is cool people. So just curious from a marketing perspective, your overall thoughts on where social media is going, what platforms are up and coming, what are sort of fading? I have my own attitudes, but I'm just curious where, where you see the future of marketing and what we should be looking at. What's next, I guess basically is my question.

Megan (14m 35s):

Well, funny, you should mention it. I don't even think you know this, but we recently did a study about where is building products, marketing going in the new economy. And, you know, like you said, it's not exactly the hippest, you know, and because of that, it was really behind the digital evolution. You know, we're a lot of other organizations had been. So what we're seeing is that it's the digital evolution for building materials is finally here, you know, and we see a lot of clients investing in improving their web properties for architects, interior designers, contractors, because they're using them to replace what we're in person still largely an in-person sale. And so they need the product content to be able to feel comfortable to, you know, begin new product adoption or convert a spec or, you know, begin stocking a new product line.

Megan (15m 23s):

The other thing that we're seeing is that they're beginning to use more contemporary marketing channels, like social media, more often to engage. And you know, most of our clients about 18 months ago would have been saying things like, are you sure that my contractor, my architect, my, you know, property manager is wanting to engage with me on social media. Like they're all consumers. We know that they're there, but like, are they open to a brand message? And now the conversation has changed to how much more engagement can I get with insert audience segment in here because they are there. They're getting the engagement through social channels, largely, still Facebook and Instagram are the biggest followed by LinkedIn.

Megan (16m 5s):

And then also some Pinterest just driven by the visual nature of the platforms and the types of industry that we're in.

Joel (16m 11s):

Interesting. So you're a, you're a small business. How many employees are you up to now? 21. 21. Okay. So how has, how has COVID impacted you as a small business owner? How will your workplace look post COVID? I know you've, you've made some changes, but for all the small businesses out there that can relate, how was 2020 for you?

Megan (16m 31s):

Well, 20, 20, well, it was my first full year of business ownership.

Joel (16m 35s):

You timed it just right. Global

Megan (16m 37s):

Pandemic and global recession. I'm super, super grateful that, you know, point a point is in a segment of the economy that actually has done really well during all of the tragedy and trauma that you know, has, has occurred. We see that our team did a great job during COVID working remotely, and then we still delivered, I think, some amazing campaigns and, and, you know, best creative that we've ever done, you know, best targeting strategies that we've ever done evolved our capabilities, recruited new team members. But we do think there is some in-person human interaction that is important in the go-forward. So what we're doing is a hybrid model for our team, and we are going into a, a new space.

Megan (17m 22s):

That's kind of like a, we work, but we it's a little bit bigger. So we do have two offices, our own conference room, and four desks behind a door with our logo on it. But everything else is a flexible workspace. So it's more of a shared office environment. And we are an anchor tenant. We're one of three anchor tenants that are actually in the building. So it's, I mean, 500 square feet of anchor space, you know, and we were in 5,000 square feet before. So very different.

Joel (17m 51s):

So where those 20 hires all made in 2020 are most of them,

Megan (17m 54s):

Well, it was an existing business before, so I bought an existing business, but we have definitely grown in the back half of that.

Joel (18m 2s):

There were interviews made on zoom, or, and what were your takeaways from that? Or were there any tools that you use that were invaluable to that process?

Megan (18m 11s):

I don't know about tools in particular that were invaluable. I mean, certainly having a strong recruiter on your team is a great tool, but what we really have tried to do is hire for culture. So about two years ago, we started using a methodology called entrepreneurial operating system. It is, which is why they call it EOS, I think so that you don't have to say that every time. And we have been using that methodology and the core values that go with it and recruiting off of that has really helped in terms of who we build in culture that we have at point a point as a whole. So this week actually, and we, we did, we hired out a market for the first time. We never would have thought about that before.

Megan (18m 52s):

So we've been able to get some great talent that has experience in manufacturing and in building materials that pre COVID, we would have thought like, oh, they don't live here. That's, you know, not a possibility. And, but everyone, all of our remote team is in town this week, which is really exciting. And we're doing a team event tonight for the first time in 18 months. Just no agenda other than just come and be a human, you know,

Joel (19m 17s):

We'll head her tonight at progressive to check out again. So it sounds like you sort of fell into the employment side with Ferguson. I don't know if that was your expectation to do that. Do you think that more companies will come to you in your business in regards to recruiting retention? And is that something that you guys will embrace and do more of?

Megan (19m 38s):

Ferguson's not the only client that we've helped with a campaign around the benefit of a career in skilled trades. And we do a lot of other work as it relates to more promotion of training programs. Usually on the contractor side that exists for across our client base as a whole, because it's not just what you get at a trade school or the apprenticeship, you know, a lot of times there's product nuance that goes along with it. So a lot of our clients offer that what we're seeing different is a lot more clients investing in straight up recruitment marketing. So Ferguson was trying to raise awareness of the trades as a whole, not trying to drive applicants for Ferguson, but now we see a lot of clients, their marketing communications teams working in stronger partnership with HR to really help try and fill vacant positions that have really long lead times to fill, and then still not getting the candidate pool that they're interested in.

Megan (20m 32s):

So we're, we're seeing a lot more and, and trying to get a more diverse background of people as well. So, you know, really trying to go beyond, you know, who, who may work there now to have a more diverse employer base employment base,

Joel (20m 44s):

Megan, Kavinsky everybody. Megan, it's been such a joy sitting and talking with you and visiting again for our listeners who want to know more about you, or point to point, where should they go?

Megan (20m 54s):

Point to Joel,

Joel (20m 56s):

Easy as that, is that the number two or Tio?

Megan (20m 59s):


Joel (21m 4s):

We out!

OUTRO (21m 7s):

Thank you for listening to what's it called the podcast with Chad the cheese and we talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing, just a lot of shout outs of people you don't even know. And yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about chase, not one cheddar blue nacho pepper, Jack Swiss, so many cheeses and not one word. So with any ho be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode.

OUTRO (21m 52s):

And while you're at it, visit w w w dot Chad just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. There's some weird we out.


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