Terminix Working on New Recruiting Ad Campaign to Bring Women to Bug Business

Sep 18, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
A mosquito sits down for dinner

We’ve come a long way, baby — but not so far that women are beating down the door for a job that has to do with creepy crawlers.

Yeah, Terminix salespeople, even though they’re selling, not spraying, are mostly men. The company, owned by ServiceMaster, is working with TMP on trying to change that, preparing a campaign that will bring together “girls and bugs.”

We’ve talked about the pest-control business before: it’s not one of those industries a lot of college students, particularly women, say they’re dreaming about working in. Then again, the same could be said for urology, but that has its virtues. And people can surprise you: a car-racing company, for example, found that women were far more interested in clicking on its job ads than it anticipated.

These sorts of issues were what ServiceMaster started talking about around May of this year with ServiceMaster’s ad agency of choice, TMP. On the ServiceMaster side, Andrea Hough, in particular, was interested in reaching more females. After all, it is females of who often are the ones being sold to — the ones who make the decision to have someone douse the garage with something that’ll kill off underground domestic terrorists.

On the TMP side, Courtney Saunders, an Atlanta-based regional VP, led the conversations. They brainstormed ideas, and Hough came up with a “girls and bugs” theme. That’s a running theme for the campaign — not actual words likely to appear in any ads.

TMP came back with a strategy for a campaign, and researched where potential job candidates might be, women who might want to make phone calls or go door to door asking people if they’d like someone to take care of their bugs.

The thing is — the overall value proposition at Terminix is the same as it is for men. ServiceMaster — a very conservative company, with Hough the recruiting progressive testing out new ideas — plays up its stability, and its earning potential. Saunders says it comes to candidates saying “here are the opportunities available in Terminix” and that “this isn’t all about taking your sprayer and killing cockroaches.”

TMP is working on advertisements as well as email campaigns. Its research came up with sites like Yahoo Shine as well as Women for Hire. Pinterest is a good target. TMP is also going to build a landing page for people who click on these ads, especially targeted to the “girls and bugs” target market; prior to that, though, candidates are being directed from ads to the regular career site.

On that landing page, ServiceMaster and TMP will feature videos of top performers, showing women who have been successful at Terminix.

TMP and ServiceMaster are also planning a second phase which will include what Saunders calls “grassroots efforts” — lunches with Junior League, for example, or sororities.

The full campaign will launch early next year. The ads as well as those videos mentioned above will be made this quarter.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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