Media Buying: a Case Study of the IBEW Recruitment Campaign

Media Buying Blog

What is Media Buying?

Media buying used to only live in the traditional advertising sphere. But with the dawn of digital marketing, media buying has swiftly transitioned to fit the new marketplace. Media buying either traditional or digital is an essential tool to any marketing strategy, no matter the budget.

Each media buy is unique to the client’s objectives, targets and budget, but the same fundamental principles apply to every media buy. The best way to explain the overall media buying process is with an example of a multichannel media buy. Oswego Creative has been working with the IBEW for nearly 2 decades including the creation and execution of local and national media buys.


The Client:

The IBEW, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, is the national electrical union that represents around 750,000 active and retired members in the US and Canada across a variety of fields. .

Oswego Creative has created the online video channels, IBEW Hour Power and Electric TV, to share the work of the IBEW and to recruit new members to their ranks. One of the IBEW mission is to recruit new members to their apprentice program. One of the most successful approaches to do this are Electricians Job Fairs.


The Marketing Plan:

An Electricians Job Fair is a recruiting event hosted by the union’s local in the area. At the event NECA contractors (National Electrical Contractors Association) are looking to hire experienced electricians on the spot. Additionally IBEW instructors and industry professionals that are looking for the next generation of electrical workers to enter the IBEW apprentice program. For these events to be successful people need to know that these events are taking place and what they are all about. That is where a media buy comes in.

In each promotional plan for each Electricians Job Fair is a TV and/or radio buy in the area. In addition to a media buy across traditional media outlets, the ads are also run on YouTube, using Google AdWords Pre-Roll. All web traffic is guided back to an event landing-page that includes a 30-second advertisement, all event information, and a contact form submission for interested parties to fill out. A social media campaign run simultaneously with the digital and traditional media buys.


The Media Buy:

An effective media buy needs to take in a number of factors: business goals, target market, target audience media usage, seasonality and timing. Taking all of these factors into consideration allows you to cost-effectively use your budget and get your message out to the correct audiences.

In developing the media buy for the Electricians Job Fairs, Oswego Creative looked at all of these factors to most effectively use the budget for these events.

The Audience

Who is the IBEW looking to target for these events?

  • Men, ages 18-55
  • Some education
  • Seeking employment
  • Looking to continue education
  • Career oriented
  • Interested in the trades


In what geographical area will these advertisements be run?

  • Nielsen DMA Region: For Example – South Bend-Elkhart IN, United States

Target Audience Media Usage

How much daily time is your target audiences time spending with each medium?

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Newspaper
  • Online


What will set your brand apart from the competition?

  • After looking at the competition, decide what verbiage or influential point you want to utilize to set yourself apart from the competition.
  • In this case, the selling point is a great starting wage, health insurance, pension, and benefits right away.

Seasonality or timing

What factors may effect the media buy?

  • Is it an election year? (During an election year, the price per spot may increase due to the competitive nature of TV advertising time.)
  • What are the local market watching patterns?
  • Are there other local events happening to compete with this event?

Based on these findings, also need to be taken into consideration when you put together the creative for the media buy.

The Creative:

The TV Schedule:

Media Buy TV Schedule

The Digital Schedule:

Digital Media Buy


The Media Buy Result:

Key Performance Indicators for a media buy are tracked by video views; clicks, contact form submissions, and foot traffic on the night of the Job Fair. The Return on Investment for the campaign is based off of each new hire or newly enrolled apprentice for the IBEW.

This is just one example of the local and national media buys that Oswego Creative has been providing for our clients for over 20 years. If you are looking for help with your next media buy or have any questions, contact us, we will be happy to help!



Media Buying