WARC, a leader in recognizing marketing best practices and insights from the world’s top brands, has featured a case study highlighting the success of 50,000feet’s “Come Back to Move Forward” campaign. 50,000feet, in partnership with P33, World Business Chicago, Rise Interactive and more than 50 Chicago employers, developed the campaign with a goal of recruiting and retaining 10,000 mid-career tech professionals by 2023. To date, “Come Back to Move Forward” has reached more than 1.2 million tech professionals.


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Challenge + Business Objectives: What was the background to the campaign and what was the brand hoping to achieve? e.g. launch new product, raise awareness, increase sales)


Attracting and retaining talent, especially in technology-related fields, has become core to delivering on most organizations' missions and critical to maintaining competitive advantage. The importance of attracting talent increased during the pandemic and continues as we move forward. Against this landscape, cities are seeking to become platforms to support the economic development needs of their community’s businesses and residents. These cities are working to become centers—or hubs—for innovation and creativity as well as sources for the next generation of talent. 

As part of Chicago’s mission to attract tech talent, P33 Chicago, in partnership with 50,000feet, Rise Interactive, World Business Chicago and more than 50 employers, has launched the “Come Back to Move Forward” campaign. This initiative aims to bring mid-career tech professionals, who have roots in or a connection to Chicago, back to the city. The targeted individuals hold in-demand skills in the fields of data, software, cloud, AI and engineering and currently reside in major tech hubs like Silicon Valley and other coastal cities. 


Insight: What research, either internal or external, helped to inform the strategy, e.g. what did you discover in focus groups or from research reports that steered you towards a solution?


To inform the marketing approach, P33 undertook market research that laid a strong foundation for perceptions of the City of Chicago as they related to professionals either considering a move to or from Chicago within their careers.


Solution: What was the strategy?


P33 tasked 50,000feet with developing the creative strategy and expression of the campaign, including messaging and visual design of the initiative’s landing page, testimonial videos from tech leaders and downloadable content as well as supporting ads to run across social media, out-of-home, radio and programmatic digital channels. P33 and 50,000feet partnered with Rise Interactive, a top performance marketing agency, to develop and implement a comprehensive media plan and strategy to target 100,000 tech professionals in major cities with high concentrations of tech talent, including San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, Denver, Austin, Dallas and Washington, D.C. Through a segmented approach, the campaign has reached mid-career tech professionals who already have a connection to Chicago, whether through growing up in the city, attending university in Illinois or having friends or family in the area. 


The campaign showcases job opportunities within the Chicago tech industry, appealing to those with relevant and applicable skills. Besides sharing expansive career opportunities, the campaign punctuates the higher quality and lower cost of living in comparison to other major metropolitan markets.


Execution: How was the strategy executed?


The campaign’s goal to encourage homegrown talent to return to the city has helped garner visibility for the city’s rapidly growing tech community, increasing access to funding for local companies and generating desire for companies to either start their business in Chicago or relocate their existing business to the city. This collaboration benefits corporations, start-ups, venture capitalists and academic partners across the Chicagoland area.


In addition to raising awareness, the initiative offers interested professionals the opportunity to interview with established and emerging tech companies in Chicago who are actively hiring, along with the chance to win a “Welcome Back” incentive package of unique Chicago offerings. 


Participating companies include Google, Microsoft, Allstate, Motorola, Amount, M1 Finance and Oak Street Health, among others, and the list continues to expand. Building on P33’s mission to drive Chicago’s tech community to accelerate economic growth, access, inclusion and equity for all Chicagoans, the not-for-profit organization also works closely with the City of Chicago.


Results: Please list as many results as you can that demonstrate the success of this campaign (e.g. sales effectiveness, ROI, brand awareness)


With a goal of recruiting and retaining 10,000 tech professionals within two years, the campaign to date has reached more than 1.2 million tech professionals, resulting in more than 400 tech professionals inquiring to learn more about Chicago.


In addition, the campaign has helped to establish the brand language and voice for Techicago, representative of the dynamic and diverse tech community throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.