Are You Over It?

Features - Marketing Matters

An upstate New York-based marketing agency uses innovation to help pest control companies re-invent their marketing strategies.

November 5, 2020

Overit, a creative advertising and marketing agency in Albany, N.Y., is using new and innovative approaches to break the traditional mold of advertising within the pest control industry.

Through its work with Catseye, A-1 Pest Control, Thomas Pest Services, Dixon Pest Services and Citywide Exterminating, Overit has pushed the boundaries of innovation by creating campaigns typically associated with their high-level clients, such as Marvel and Netflix.

Dan Dinsmore, owner and founder of Overit, said, “We dug in really deep and found out that, creatively, we were able to do all of the things that we do for very high-level clients, in the pest control industry, and it had a great effect on sales and growth. So, we kept going.”

Dinsmore said that Overit has grown to become passionate about working with the pest control industry and this market has become a main focus for the company.

“We relate really well to folks in the industry,” Dinsmore said. “We know the industry really well and we’ve become really focused on (pest control) expertise.”

Some examples of out-of-the-box advertising that Overit has done for pest control companies include Pixar-like characters with storylines, comic strips, mobile phone applications, games and even stuffed animals.

The company is currently developing an audio and voice application for the pest industry that aids in pest identification.

“We’re looking into new, creative ways to use video and mobile phones to be able to identify pests,” Dinsmore said.

In 2012, Overit completed a major renovation of the former St. Theresa of Avila Church in Albany, N.Y., and moved their staff into the space.

CATSEYE MAKEOVER. One of the company’s most visual campaigns for a pest control company is the work the firm did for Albany-based Catseye, primarily between 2010 and 2015. As part of this campaign, Overit worked on a cartoon pilot in which they created brand stories based on a central cat character. Overit also worked on online advertising, content marketing and video game development for Catseye. As a result of Overit’s work, Catseye’s total lead value increased by $99,010, their paid search leads increased by 64 percent and time users spent on the company’s website increased by 40 percent.

Catseye has since sold its upstate New York business so — except for some small updates along with some animation and 3D work — all their marketing and advertising moved in-house.

It was Overit’s work with Catseye that caught the attention and interest of other pest control companies, including Thomas Pest Services in upstate N.Y.

Sarah Thomas-Clark of Thomas Pest Services said that she was initially intimidated to reach out to Overit because they worked with larger companies. However, she was drawn to their progressive approach to marketing.

The company focuses carefully on PMPs’ needs, Thomas-Clark said. “They want to be able to look at things and make sure it’s going to provide you value.”

Thomas-Clark said that, despite COVID-19, Overit has helped Thomas Pest Services grow tremendously.

“We’re having a terrific year and I definitely attribute my growth to having them as a partner,” Thomas-Clark said.

Specifically, Thomas-Clark said Overit has helped boost her company’s web traffic. Since the beginning of 2020, Thomas Pest Solutions has had a 40 percent increase in new website users, a 125 percent increase in web page reviews and a 56 percent decrease in bounce rate, which is the number of users who leave a site after viewing one page. The company’s revenue is also up 33 percent year over year (YOY) through May, with January of 2020 posting a 50 percent YOY increase alone, according to Alex Tancredi, senior business development associate for Overit.

Examples of Overit’s work. Top: A-1 Pest Control’s digital ad set. Bottom: Catseye characters (Caddie, Brainy and Brawny) and the firm’s mobile website.

A GOOD FIT. Tancredi and Dinsmore said Overit has helped companies like Thomas Pest Services increase sales because of its innovative approach to marketing.

“Instantaneously, when we started creating higher level, quality content, as in print pieces, commercials, websites and digital marketing, we saw that we were seeing drastic increases in sales,” Dinsmore said.

Dinsmore credits individuals within the pest control industry for their openness to innovation.

“We are working with clients that are very open to pushing the boundaries,” Dinsmore said. “And I think that was something that we found with our early pest control clients like Catseye. Having people that we get to work with that allow us to push boundaries and are open to new and innovative ideas has really paid off in a big way for our clients and our partners and us as well.”

Dinsmore also said that traditional advertising in the pest control industry needed to be taken to another level. Most companies were following what everyone else was doing, he said.

“There was just an immense opportunity, from a branding perspective and from a marketing perspective, to help leverage these companies and really create amazing brands,” Dinsmore added.

He said Overit strives to create memorable brands for companies and not just the services they provide. “Brand does matter, and uniqueness does matter,” Dinsmore said. “People want to be able to relate to who they’re doing business with and who’s coming into their home.”

Charles Dixon, owner of Dixon Pest Services in Thomasville, Ga., recognized this importance when hiring Overit in February 2020. Dixon decided to work with Overit after receiving a “glowing recommendation” from Bruce Roberts, owner of A-1 Pest Control, Lenoir, N.C. A-1 is a longtime member of the PCO networking organization PestOne along with Dixon Pest Services. “I just continue to be impressed,” Dixon said.

Unlike Dixon Pest Services, which has just begun working with Overit, A-1 Pest Control has been one of Overit’s clients since December 2018.

In 2019, A-1 finished 13 percent up YOY in total revenue, Tancredi said. So far in 2020, the company grew 13 percent at the end the first quarter, with March finishing 25 percent up compared to 2019, he added.

MORE DATA DRIVEN. Despite having creativity and branding at their roots, Tancredi said, as Overit has moved into the age of digital marketing, they have become more data driven.

One way that the company uses data to help its clients is through the use of a custom-built marketing analytics dashboard that they call “Overlytics.” The dashboards are customized from the ground up and can show clients everything that they are doing, even down to the weather data and how it might be affecting certain sales, Tancredi said.

By creating the Overlytics dashboard, Overit’s clients can view their data anytime and anywhere they want. This helps clients to achieve a comprehensive understanding of their company.

“For us, it’s about creating the most transparent funnel possible for our clients to have the most holistic understanding of everything they’re doing so that they can see all of their efforts at any time of day, anywhere they want,” Tancredi said.

Both Tancredi and Dinsmore say that Overit really aims to “dive into the weeds” of their clients’ businesses and act as an “extension of their team.” To do so, the company commits to visiting their client’s location and truly learning about the workings behind the business. Tancredi even mentioned going on ride-alongs with technicians.

“We’re really digging in to understand what makes your business tick,” Dinsmore said.

Outside of their work for the pest control industry, Overit has done advertising, production and web applications for Proctor & Gamble, Experion, Mercedes-Benz, The Daily Gazette, various shows for Netflix, Amazon and Apple Plus and more. The company even played a role in the production of Geico’s Pinocchio series that ran during this year’s Super Bowl.

The company has seven different departments that all play a role in the work it does for its clients. The departments include audio and studio, video production, application and web development, design and creative, digital strategy and analytics, public relations, and content.

“It’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of really talented people working together,” Tancredi said.

NEW DIGS. The creative agency strives to be innovative in all areas of their business, including their workspace. In 2012, after outgrowing their old space, Overit moved into an old church that they renovated as a workspace. The space allows for an open, collaborative environment for members of all teams to work together.

The company reutilized the church’s original materials, including transforming the wooden pews into desks. They also kept all the original stained-glass windows and other traditional elements to maintain the church’s architecture and dignity, Dinsmore said.

Tancredi said that he feels the building is a good representation of the company’s culture.

“The building itself gives off the essence of who we are,” he said. “It’s an incredibly designed space that really shows off what our creative abilities are.”

Dinsmore emphasized that nothing at Overit is cookie-cutter and the company aims to promote that mentality through the work it creates.

“We kind of think we helped break the mold of just copying everybody else,” Dinsmore said of Overit’s work with pest control companies. “It’s been a lot of fun and we continue to just keep pushing the boundaries there.”

The author is an Ohio-based writer.