Originally Posted at http://sheepdog.townhall.com on July 26, 2006
Army recruiting ought to be of interest to every loyal American. We are a nation with an all-volunteer military force, and we're at war ... so recruiting is something everyone who cares about the military should be supportive of. The military isn't for everyone, naturally, and recruiters know this better than anyone else out there. However, in order to continue to be the world's finest military, we need to attract and retain the nation's finest young men and women.
In any case, I hope you are already encouraging the young people you encounter to look into what the Army has to offer. It has been a great career for many people, and a great start in life for many, many others.
There are some fairly major changes happening in the world of Army recruiting which I think might be of interest to many of my readers. In the past, the Army worked the target market pretty hard ... the way any skilled salesman would. However, in the past two years, they have been working to change that by teaching recruiters to operate differently. Rather than a sales-based approach, the Army has turned to a counseling format.
This was all brought on by some analysis which identified the current generation being recruited into the armed forces as "millenials," a term originally coined by sociologists' William Strauss and Neil Howe. The Millenials, allegedly, are the first generation to have been the target of advertising and sales pitches basically from the crib onward, and thus are "sales-resistant."
It occurred to high-level planners that Army recruiters already do more than just sell a product. To sell the Army as if it were merely a consumer product, in fact, is to devalue it. Service in the military is an entire lifestyle, an entire set of core values, an entirely unique form of service to one's country, and should be presented to the public as such. So Army recruiters are becoming career counselors, in effect. Recruiters are already fairly knowledgeable about various career options open to young people because they encounter them every day. They are already very familiar with the various ways a young person can get from point A to point B in their lives, either through college, apprenticeship in a trade, etc. Why not put all that knowledge to use?
So the idea is for recruiters to show the young people they encounter the various ways they can achieve their goals in life ... and most of the time, one of those options will be through the Army. Such is the confidence these planners have in the Army, in fact, that they believe the Army plan will often be the most appealing.
Thus far, it seems to be working. The Army is poised to meet its FY06 recruiting goals once again. Considering that we are in a time of war and that there is a great deal of very vocal opposition to it and to the military in general, this is a worthy achievement.
So the next time you pass a recruiting station, duck your head inside and say thanks to these young men and women working hours you would, frankly, not believe if I told you. They are providing the strength our nation relies on.
There is a very good write-up on this which has been published on Army News Service.
By the way, much of the high-level brainstorming and planning on this was done by a good friend (and former boss) of mine, whom I've asked to guest-blog here on sheepdog from time to time. He has agreed to post on a variety of topics, and I hope you'll see his byline soon. However, I'll wait and let him introduce himself.