Defining Barriers for Workforce and Business Development

Client :South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)

The South Dakota Governor asked us to help improve the State’s workforce development by connecting with current residents and attracting new employees and students from other states. To drive growth in this area, we needed a deep understanding of currently employed adults and college students’ awareness and perceptions of South Dakota as a viable place to live and work.


Presented with this opportunity during a time when the entire country needed to improve its economy and labor force, we needed to strategically define our target states for this campaign to be competitive and effective.


We surveyed over 1,200 employed adults and college students in 13 nearby states, representative of our target population. To determine the level of serious consideration they gave to real career opportunities that would require relocation to South Dakota, we asked specific questions about their general perceptions, attitudes and likelihood of relocating, both in general and to SD.


Over 60% of respondents reported that they would likely consider moving for the right job if the state had the specific attributes they desired.  The desired attributes for consideration included low cost of living, low crime, low taxes, and natural beauty. We discovered a need to raise awareness for the positive attributes and offerings of South Dakota, to motivate traffic. Using the insights gleaned from these studies, we developed a research-driven strategy for our initial education campaign, aiming to increase interest in the state. The campaign more than doubled the information requests and website engagement rate for our client.


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The people who made it happen.
  • Chris Wise
    VP, Insights and Strategy
  • Joseph Nother
    Chief Creative Officer, Co-CEO
  • Ryan Lee
    Sr. Manager, Strategy & Account Planning
  • Brea Parke
    Strategic Advisor
  • Katie Marshall
    Senior Art Director