ORLANDO, Fla. --
Enhanced area canvassing has been an important tool in Marine recruiting for many years, but recent changes to this practice may make recruiters’ efforts far more effective in drawing potential applicants.
The typical event model for Marine recruiting is a pull-up challenge for prizes covered in Marines’ branding. This is an attractive venture to Marines, former Marines, parents of Marines, and some of the target market. But the demographics are far from optimal.
“Our target, the high school aged male, is not always attracted to the physical challenge of our pull-up bar,” said Staff Sgt. Jason R. Pochily, 30-year-old staff non-commissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Substation Port Richey, Recruiting Station Orlando. “Part of our challenge as recruiters is to find a way to entice them to our table.”
The answer to the challenge was found in the addition of a significant prize with no physical requirements. Participants still have the option of participating in the Marines’ pull-up challenge for branded gear, but can also enter a raffle for a chance at something bigger by simply filling out a lead card.
In 2010, the Marines of Recruiting Station Orlando used a variety of incentives, provided through marketing partnerships, to increase their traffic at EAC events:
• Tampa’s 98 Rockfest – Autographed Alice in Chains guitar
• Orlando’s Earthday Birthday 17 – Autographed drumhead, signed by Korn, Papa Roach and Sevendust
• Tampa Bay Rays baseball games – customized souvenir bats, a team autographed baseball bat • 97x The Next Big Thing – Private backstage performance with Paper Tongues, meet & greet with Sick Puppies, autographed symbol from all bands
• Ocoee Founder’s Day – Autographed Clint Black guitar
• Calle Orange Latin Festival – Backstage meet & greet • Orlando Magic games – Custom Magic jersey, team autographed basketball, autographed jersey The added incentive and lack of requirement for physical prowess significantly increased traffic and lead generation at all events. Every event using the new incentive saw at least double the lead generation of previous years, while some tripled and event quadrupled the amount of participation.
• 98 Rockfest o 2009 – 86 leads o 2010 – 208 leads
• Ocoee Founders’ Day o 2009 – 68 leads o 2010 – 224 leads
• Earthday Birthday 17 o 2009 – 85 o 2010 – 380
“Using a lead card as a raffle ticket means that every person who wants the autographed item or backstage experience we are giving away, has to come talk to us,” said Pochily, a native of New Port Richey, Fla.
These raffle incentives have also been augmented by customized awareness campaigns produced in coordination with the Marketing and Public Affairs Marine. Radio commercials, stage announcements, fliers, and video board commercials can be produced by local radio stations and event venues to raise awareness for the incentive.
Radio commercial example: “They are the ones who protect this country, the President, and now…..the 98 Rock autographed guitar! (Rock music begins in the background) If you think you have what it takes to take this bad boy home, just step up to the Marines pull-up challenge and EARN your chance to wield the axe! 98 Rock and the U.S. Marines, on the plaza from 3-7. See you there… (Motivated Ooorah sound) if you have a pair!”
The combination of incentives tailored to market interests and awareness generated through local advertising has been proven effective in Central Florida. “This process provides access to a larger spectrum of the market, to more than the usual suspects,” said Master Sgt. Rafael Camacho Jr., 34-year-old recruiter instructor for Recruiting Station Orlando. “People are always interested in winning something.”