DMCNY Speakers Talk Brand, Database Marketing for Marines

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NEW YORK -- The U.S. Marine Corps is the only branch of the armed services that has met its recruitment goals for nine consecutive years.

A reason for the success has been its integrated branding and database marketing program, according to speakers at the Direct Marketing Club of New York's luncheon yesterday.

Jay Cronin, management director, senior partner at J. Walter Thompson in Atlanta, and Michael Mathias, senior vice president, client management services at Merkle Direct Marketing Inc., Lanham, MD, gave an overview of the work they've done for the Marines in the past 10 years.

Cronin explained how J. Walter Thompson uses a mix of brand advertising, direct marketing, recruitment sales, and marketing support materials to promote the Marines. More than 2,500 Marines are on active recruiting duty, he said.

Recruiting "is a very tough job, and they work around the clock," said Cronin, who added that recruiters have monthly mission goals. The Marines must recruit 38,383 new candidates each year.

Cronin said the branding approach aims to sell what it takes to become a Marine. The iconic symbol used is that of a single, elite warrior.

Mathias offered insights into the database challenges of finding recruits. Conducting database marketing for the Marines is similar to financial companies targeting credit offers because "you've got people who are highly responsive to an offer, but they don't qualify," he said.

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