If you think your client’s product is a tough sell, try selling the Army in the fifth year of a war. Today’s Wall Street Journal looks at the new approaches the Army is taking–appealing to Mom and Dad in order to sign up Junior:
The Army has been enlisting youths for decades by promising them money for college. Starting in January, it will try out a different sort of pitch in selected cities: offering up to $40,000 toward the purchase of a home or the creation of a business.
Taking a page from law firms and investment banks, the Army has already begun to offer hefty signing bonuses to recruits separate from the housing and business incentives. Those who sign on for four years of service can receive up to $40,000, with those willing to begin basic training within 30 days of signing their enlistment contracts receiving up to $20,000 more, depending on their specialty.
The aggressive marketing and large cash bonuses have helped the Army meet its recruiting goals, but barely. It missed its monthly targets earlier in the year, signing up 5,101 of the 5,500 recruits it wanted in May and 7,031 of the 8,400 recruits it sought for June. It exceeded its targets for the rest of the summer, however, recruiting 9,972 soldiers in July and 10,126 in August compared with goals of 9,750 and 9,600, respectively. The Army exceeded its overall goal of 80,000 for fiscal 2007 by recruiting 80,407 soldiers but only after allowing in a large number of recruits who had criminal records or who lacked high-school diplomas.
“We know most 18-year-old kids don’t think about mortgages yet,” Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel, said recently. “We’re going after the influencers.”