Marketing Audit on a Local Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

S. Navy has an excellent product mix as they are working to attract, recruit and retain key members of each position segment they have. The recruitment of the most highly skilled areas including nurses and physicians is the most pressing and requires the greatest level of consultation and one-on-one recruiting effort. The recruitment of Naval physicians is a critical need; it's clear from its position on the website and often there are face-to-face discussions and recruitment efforts on the part of the U.S. Navy to gain physicians directly into their branch of the service.


How is the product (good and/or service) of the organization you are auditing, currently distributed?

The U.S. Navy distributes it current set of recruitment offices throughout 26 American cities, which are accessible from the following Website: focus of each of the 26 city sites is on tailoring the recruitment process to regionalized needs by each market on the one hand and each position opening on the other. The U.S. Navy's approach to appealing to recent high school and college graduates through the sponsoring of NASCAR events and a car are cases in point. Overall the messaging looks to provide a sense of being in tune with current interests and needs of the recruitment base.

Are there VARIATIONS in distribution/delivery by TARGET MARKET?

As can be seen from the U.S. Navy recruitment website mentioned in the previous response, there is a wide variation in the approach taken in terms of creating a messaging specific to one geographic region over another. The critical requirements of high school graduates, college graduates, and professionals are center on concerns over having a future after committing to service with the U.S. Navy. While the Life Accelerator is a first step, there is also the need for specific microsites (small websites) for each of these specific markets to guide them further in their commitment to join the U.S. Navy.

There is also the critical need for tailoring an event-driven strategy specifically aimed at the high school graduate segment, including sponsoring extreme sports competitions and even band concerts. The U.S. Navy needs to show they are in step with the interests and needs of the high school age recruits first and foremost, as this is the largest potential market to recruit from. Event-driven marketing is critical in this segment as the members of this market are less inclined to believe traditional advertising vehicles including television and print advertising. Blogging of the U.S. Navy enlisted experience is also very critical for this segment; they need to hear the voice of the actual recruit and see if they like it or not.

How all this specifically relates to distribution/delivery by segment from the high school market of recruits is that the U.S. Navy needs to appear relevant and in their frame of reference overall. That's why events, from extreme sports to the sponsoring music events, to focusing on blogging by recruits of comparable age all are critical.

This same approach of matching the specific media uses and interests of the college graduates being recruited and the professionals also needs to be relied on to stay relevant to the markets being recruited from. For college graduates the opportunity to quickly gain managerial experience and training, and have an opportunity to learn leadership in a challenging position needs to be stressed more, and again, the use of blogs to communicate the immediacy and intensity of the challenges is critical. For college graduates to forsake a career in private industry for a commitment to the U.S. Navy clearly the excitement, continued education and focus on-the-job training in management and leadership, and the continual need to force oneself to improve all need to be communicated from a first-person perspective. This is in essence an alternative channel; it is the distribution of the most critical information any new college-age recruit could need, and that is the actual experiences of the recruits from their age and educational level discussing what day-to-day life is like.

The most markedly different variation in distribution or delivery will specifically be in the area of recruiting highly skilled professionals including nurses and physicians. In the case of these professionals, the intensive use of face-to-face meetings and consultation sessions is going to be the most effective. Many of these health professionals specifically have joined the healthcare profession to serve others and already have an altruistic and service-focused approach to their lives and the mission they are on at a personal level. Through the one-on-one and face-to-face discussions the opportunity to align these personal visions with the needs of the U.S. Navy in key healthcare profession areas will be critical. The high-touch model for this third group of professionals is critical for the success of recruiting in this highly prized skill segment.

Are there any ALTERNATIVE METHODS of DISTRIBUTION that would result in more service or less cost?

There are a multitude of distribution methods for recruitment that will result in greater service at much lower cost, and these include the following:

Applying guided selling technology for acquiring high-tech products on the Internet to the selection of career paths and positions in the U.S. Navy. This specific approach to applying a constraint-based technology that would allow recruits to selectively choose their interests and strengths then have the guided selling system (converted to a guided recruit system) provide a series of options for careers and positions could be an invaluable recruitment and planning tool. (Guided Selling, 2001) describes these functional requirements of guided selling as they relate to products, yet they could just as easily be aligned with assisting recruits define their U.S. Navy career objective and aspirations.

More aggressive of recruiting bonuses for those already in the U.S. Navy getting their friends to also sign up. Offering $5,000 as a finders' reward for each recruit that makes it through basic training to a person who recruits them would be effective in getting friends and acquaintances to recommend and help recruit.

U.S. Navy for the Day Program. This would be a program for high school seniors close to graduation having an opportunity to sepdn the day on a Navy ship, experiencing what life is like on a daily basis. The Dependents' Day Program is a comparable program, yet the U.S. Navy for the Day Program would be much more informative, with a thorough review of all ships' operations including armament, navigation, and propulsion systems.

How does your organization give adequate SERVICE to CUSTOMERS through these channels?

The service to customers through existing channels is sufficient; yet could be much more effective when infused with more non-traditional forms of communication into each of these specific recruiting markets. The critical issue of the entire approach of service to customers in each of these channels is the need for appearing as relevant as possible to them.

It needs to be a very urgent, very intense focus on the part of the U.S. Navy to specifically focus on these elements of how to gain and stay relevant for the specific segments of high school, college and professional recruit segments. As has been shown in this audit, each of these segments has a dramatically different set of needs in order to appeal to them. The focus on relevancy and intensity are critical, hence the focus on extreme sports events, sponsoring new bands, and sponsoring bloggers in each of the specific areas of the U.S. Navy are critical. So the bottom line is that while the U.S. Navy does deliver adequate service to customers today in recruiting in the three dominant segments included in this audit, they could be doing much more in order to attain best practices. What is curiously missing as well is the opportunity to travel globally and learn firsthand about globalization as Friedman (2005) specifically discusses in his book. The opportunity to view the more extreme spots in the world isn't even mentioned but would surely appeal to much high school age graduates for example.


Promotion & Personal Selling

Describe the SALES FORCE for the organization you are auditing.

The sales force is actually a group of Navy recruitment officers and enlisted men and women who staff the center mentioned at the beginning of this audit. Their roles vary, with several of them focused on assisting high school graduates with decisions on which area of the Navy to enlist into, and the more senior members of the recruitment staff working with local high schools, universities, and also youth groups, where the recruitment officers give overviews of what life is like in the U.S. Navy. The senior officers also have an abundance of materials and experience in working with parents who have high school age students interested in enlisting in the Navy. There are over a dozen officers and enlisted persons working in a recruitment development capacity in this center.

What is the ORGANIZATION of the sales force (by territory, market, product?

The recruitment staff is organized regionally with all members of the office visited representing…

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