The window is now open to compete for one of the Army’s newest functional areas, FA58, the Enterprise Marketing and Behavioral Economics career field.
The Army’s marketing is transparent to most Soldiers who only see the advertisements, but modern marketing is much more involved and requires everything from strategy to advanced data analytics. This served as the primary reason for establishing the Army Enterprise Marketing Office (AEMO) in Chicago last year.
The creation of the FA58 career field provides the talent for AEMO by attracting well-qualified active-duty Army officers with skills related to marketing strategy, content creation, content delivery and marketing analytics.
FA58 selected its first group of 30 officers in March. The talent-based competitive selection process began in December and elicited almost 500 initiated applications. One of the main exercises that applicants were asked to conduct presented a business school-style case study on the challenges facing Army Marketing. Case study exercises are a common tool used by leading firms to evaluate an applicant’s ability to process multiple facts and data points, then determine a potential solution to a complex problem.
After an initial screening of applications, 15% of the applicant pool was invited for virtual interviews. FA58 ultimately selected a cohort that included officers from 19 different career fields across the Army.
“The selection process challenged me to identify which of my skills would best contribute to the success of Army Marketing,” said Maj. Nicole R. Miner, an FA58 officer working at AEMO. “It was pretty exciting to see that I would be able to draw from my experiences as a performance psychology consultant for Division 1 athletes, teaching at West Point, and of course my multiple positions as a military police officer.”
Miner manages and designs the GoArmy.com webpage ensuring it is the central voice to prospects interested in joining the Army.
The cohort included 21 officers with an MBA from a top-25 ranked program and some officers with prior professional experience in marketing. Three officers were selected for advanced civil schooling opportunities. These talented officers boasted Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as high as the 99th-percentile.
“The Army selection of our first group of FA58 officers has proven to be an overwhelming success, demonstrating the process works and that we have a lot of talent within our ranks,” said Dr. Casey Wardynski, assistant secretary of the Army (Manpower & Reserve Affairs). “As we move forward in this second selection opportunity to grow the ranks of Army marketing professionals, we continue to look for high-caliber officers who are creative, driven, and could rival any incoming consultant at a civilian advertising agency. Those with this talent and interest in marketing the Army should consider applying.”
FA58 seeks officers with a graduate degree relevant to marketing or behavioral economics such as a master’s degree in business administration, economics, or data analytics, or officers who have substantial prior professional experience in marketing.
FA58 is the Army’s newest functional area, but also the smallest. This has allowed the creators of FA58 to design a career field that optimizes many talent management considerations needed to both attract and retain top performing officers. To plan, design, and implement an innovative career field, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower & Reserve Affairs) enlisted the help of a few officers the Army had sent to top MBA programs.
The FA58 career field promotes a few things that its creators cite as major attractions for potential FA58 officers including: a modernized continuing professional education program, assignment stability, joining an innovative organization, and a strict focus on hiring the right people.
“The most talented officers have many options, both in and outside the Army,” said Maj. Aaron Stark, the program director. “High-performing officers want to know their talents will be properly valued and used to make an outsized difference. We designed FA58 to rigorously evaluate talents related to marketing and economics, then hire the right people for a very unique Army mission. The selection process emphasizes an officer’s ability to apply knowledge through talent assessment exercises rather than simply looking at their resume or degrees.”
Once selected, most FA58 officers move to Chicago where they engage in marketing operations alongside the Army’s contracted advertising agency, DDB. Some FA58 officers move to West Point where they form the core of an independent Marketing Research Cell that analyzes marketing challenges through an academic lens.
The FA58 program is expected to expand to support up to five regional marketing teams located across the country, whose role will be to coordinate and synchronize marketing operations in the region while also ensuring Army Marketing is able to support accessions commanders with curated local marketing and data analytics.
“Working in Army Marketing is a challenging assignment that is wildly different than anything I've done prior,” said Lt. Col. Cecil E. Wolberton III, an FA58 officer at AEMO. “There are endless opportunities for professional development and getting out of your comfort zone. I've had to quickly learn everything from cloud architecture to different analytics platforms to the nuances of each social media channel.”
Wolberton initially managed the GoArmy.com social media content and placement on all platforms. He is now in charge of the Data & Data Infrastructure team.
Since its establishment in August 2019, AEMO has already begun to produce results. AEMO’s new “What’s Your Warrior?” marketing campaign has garnered much interest across all media platforms resulting in a 35% increase in visitors on the GoArmy.com website, as compared to November 2018.
“In the year since we opened the marketing office, the quality of the officers selected for FA58 who have come to Chicago has been outstanding,” said Maj. Gen. Alex Fink, chief of Army Marketing. “The talents they bring have had an immediate impact on our marketing mission.”
If interested in joining FA58 and the Army Marketing team, there is an ongoing application process that ends Sept. 16. It is open to active-duty Army officers who are captains in year group 15 or older, all majors, and all lieutenant colonels (FA58 is not yet available in the National Guard or Army Reserve). More information on FA58 is available by contacting the FA58 proponent office via the branch homepage on the Army Human Resources Command website or by referencing MILPER message 20-245.