News and views on what matters to me: mindfulness, leadership, public relations, marketing, social media, pop culture and every now and then I will surprise you with something else.
My last post discussed that military recruiters shouldn’t get too excited about filling the ROTC ranks this fall. Although this is a good time and the hard work should be commended, this is also the time to prepare for what will be a tough recruiting road in the future. This post will talk about things that can be done during this time of recruiting prosperity. Some methods that the military can apply also stand true for corporations that are looking to maximize their returns in a tough economy and with limited budgets.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you have probably figured out by now that I am a big believer in non-traditional marketing, especially when it comes to the military. Anyone that is in the business of promoting something so personal can’t rely heavily on traditional advertising to get their message across. Non-traditional marketing projects tend to be on a much smaller scale than traditional advertising. It is very interesting that as I was writing my post yesterday, Ad Age came out with an article advocating smaller pilot projects as one of the solutions to marketing in a tough economy. The article talked about an ROI study that talked about some of the most successful campaigns for Kellog and LG that were kick started by pilot project efforts.
Pilot programs are a great way to identify strengths and pinpoint weaknesses in marketing efforts. The benefit of these smaller programs would be especially a big benefit to the military, as they would be able to see immediate impact and take away key learnings. The National Guard does a great job with experimenting with marketing efforts such as the first military reality tv program that showcases the physically challenges of military life combined with “Survivor-type” show format. The National Guard has tested out other programs in the non-traditional arena that are proving to be successful. The initial investment for such “alternate” marketing campaigns are fairly low and the impact can be very high.
When recruiting is going well is one of the best times to invest in pilot programs. It is always easier to test methods when there is not a real pressure to meet numbers and scramble. Pilot programs offer alternate ways of telling a service branch’s story and showcase the benefits to service in ways that traditional advertising can’t convey. In a time that connecting to youth is difficult, it is through these experimental pilot programs that the military can come closer to figuring out what type of messaging youth responds to best. Best part, pilot programs are typically not a large investment.