Today is Veterans Day in the United States. It’s a day set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. My son is a veteran. He served in the 4th Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division and spent 12 months in the “red zone” in Baghdad where he was awarded the Close Combat Badge.
The 4th Brigade is the 3rd Infantry Division’s “Vanguard Brigade.” That means the 4th always takes the lead position. As a parent, I often wished my son was not part of a lead unit. However; as an American, I could not have been more proud of him. Today he has moved on to a new career and phase of his life.
The purpose of my story is not to debate the decisions of President Bush, the conflict in Iraq or whether or not I should have influenced his decision to join in the first place. What really got this started was today’s CBS Sunday Morning show. During that show I listened to a military recruiter address the challenges of recruiting in today’s environment. Looking at that challenge from a marketing perspective, how would you create a marketing strategy for the military? It would certainly be a challenging assignment.
As marketers, you’ve had challenging assignments in your past. When your product-service fell out of favor with your targeted audience how did you put the brakes on and change the direction? Or was your strategy just to hang-on until environmental factors shifted the winds for you? After all, military recruiters had people lining up shortly after Pearl Harbor and 9-11. Most marketers don’t like to wait, so I’ll bet that wasn’t your chosen option.
Once again, I’m only using the military angle to stir your marketing thoughts. The bottom line question is how do you turn around a product or brand that is falling out of favor with the intended target market? Does it mean you need to rethink how you are listening to your customer’s needs and desires? Or accept that your product has entered the decline phase of the product lifecycle and make adjustments accordingly?