By Daniel MaltaJanuary 17, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla., Jan. 17, 2019 -- After U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) missed its recruiting goal for fiscal 2018, every leader in the Army is trying to figure out how to help while recruiting command is working to completely revamp its approach. Working as both a Marine and Army marketer, I've been extremely interested in the conversation and how the Army plans to solve this problem.
Working within this industry, I've heard countless opinions over the years on Army commercials, advertisements, promotional items, sales techniques, etc. More times than not, that opinion is firmly grounded in what the individual finds appealing about the Army. The problem with that is we now live in a consumer-driven market. According to Drs. William M. Pride and O.C. Ferrell, authors of "Foundations of Marketing," this means that companies must now define themselves by how they satisfy consumers above all else. In short, to succeed, the Army must show American youths what they want to see, not what the Army wants them to see.
This requires us to know, understand, and even yield to those youths we are targeting for Army enlistment. This is a tough pill to swallow for many Soldiers as the Army prides itself on tradition and uniformity. Though the fact remains, we need this younger generation to join the Army to maintain the ranks.
Consequently, we must be willing to rethink our engagement initiatives and what information is being used to attract. The Army must be willing to make organizational changes as a means to not only satisfy the consumer (post-millennials) but to compete within an economy seeing record lows in unemployment.
How is this relevant to the average Soldier?
At the end of the day, we must all take an active role in recruiting as the number of qualified youths available dwindles and interest in service remains low. Whether you're a leader who works daily with younger Soldiers or a moderator for your unit's Facebook page, you have the opportunity to learn about and talk with this newest generation.
Take what you find appeals to them and share the Army story through that lens. Position yourself and the Army to highlight what satisfies their needs, wants, and desires.
Understanding the importance of adapting, USAREC has stated several major changes to recruiting:
1) The organization is moving away from the Army's traditional model of recruiting toward a more precise, modern approach of connecting with today's youth.
2) Virtual Recruiting Teams will be using the latest social media apps to communicate with and relate to young Americans.
3) There will be focus on educating youth and influencers in areas that have not traditionally had high interest in enlistment.
4) The Army will be seeking current Soldiers to build Army e-sports and functional fitness teams to compete and build awareness across the nation.
5) There will be better synchronization of local and national efforts.
6) The Army will better staff the recruiting team.
7) The Army is localizing marketing efforts to focus on a more regional approach directly linked with the recruiting force.