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Caterpillar honored for technician recruiting efforts

Successful Dealer Staff August 5, 2014

Caterpiller and marketing firm Simantel have won the “Campaign of the Year: B-to-B” at the Ad Age Small Agency Awards for their recent dealer technician recruitment campaign.

Caterpillar was motivated to start the campaign due to a technician shortage being faced by its CAT dealerships, and the commercial vehicle industry at large. The company says more than 80 percent of its dealer workforce is made up of skilled technicians, and bringing in new, talented professionals to fill tech openings was becoming an increasing challenge.

To build its campaign, Caterpillar turned to Simantel, a marketing and communications firm. Simantel then responded by bringing in former “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe, whose convictions about the value of hard work are well documented, the company says.

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The agency put Rowe at the center of Caterpillar’s messaging, strengthening his praise of the “value of vocational work” with stories of real Caterpillar technicians, the company says. The effort included print, web and online video, but the biggest benefit came from Rowe himself, and the publication of his book “Profoundly Disconnected: A True Confession From Mike Rowe.” The book, focusing heavily on the value of work, landed Rowe on a smattering of TV talk shows including “Fox & Friends” and “The Dennis Miller Show,” and each press event allowed him another opportunity to spotlight Caterpillar’s technician shortage and its hunt for new technicians.

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“The book was the result of a brainstorming session between Simantel, our Caterpillar client and Mike,” says Maggie Whalen, executive creative director at Simantel. “This team loves to throw around ideas and push the limits of what is possible.”

Overall, Simantel says the campaign drove daily recruitment leads up by 290 percent for Caterpillar, and nabbed the two businesses the Campaign of the Year award.

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