May 20, 2009:
The U.S. Navy has been using the same advertising agency, Campbell Ewald, for ten years now. The navy recently extended that for another four years. The reason for this long tenure is not just 94 straight months of the navy surpassing it recruiting goals. No, the major achievement was using a lot of new media, like the Internet in general and social networking sites in particular, to get the navy message out, and communicate with prospective recruits. The navy is a high-tech operation, with a lot of built-in appeal for the young people the navy wants. The U.S. Navy recruiting effort has been the leader in using the Internet to communicate and connect with potential recruits.
Even though the U.S. Navy has been downsizing nearly every year for the past two decades, they still have to hustle to get quality new recruits to replace those who retire or do not re-enlist. The navy has also found that using the Internet to connect with the sailors they already have, pays big dividends. Six years ago, for example, the navy ran a web based survey, to find out what sailors liked, and didn't like, about their uniforms. Some 43,000 sailors took part, and a year later the navy made a bunch of simple, but very popular changes. There have been more "stay connected" efforts like that, via the Internet, since then. Thus the navy marketing effort for attracting troops, created ideas that proved very useful in keeping those already in uniform, feeling better about being there.