Lowers Cost, Customizes Output for Integrated Local Recruitment Campaigns

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- When the U.S. Army changed its slogan from the 20-year-veteran "Be All You Can Be" to "An Army of One" in 2001, marketing materials needed to be quickly adjusted in recruitment offices from
The U.S. Army is using new methods for supporting local ad campaigns.
Tuscaloosa to Trenton. Moreover, the Army wanted to ensure local offices would retain the quality of the integrated marketing campaign in grassroots efforts.

Customizing ads
Working with pre-press agency Capps Digital, a unit of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, the Army established MOPS, the Media Online Placement System. Housing all Army creative digitally in Capps' "Datahive," the system allows recruiters to order customized ads and materials for local events, said Capt. Carl Fehrenbacher, local advertising project officer with U.S. Army Recruiting Command.

Print, radio, outdoor and collateral displays are routed automatically to the Burnett account team (and the media team at sibling Starcom Worldwide) and are published or produced in a matter of days. The process can be monitored as it happens, Capt. Fehrenbacher said.

From weeks to days
"What used to take eight weeks now takes five days, and with that we have been able to maintain our brand integrity," he said. Cost per ad was also reduced from $250 to $60, saving the Army $7 million in its local advertising budget.

The "Army of One" isn't alone. Other marketers are seeking out emerging technologies to manage integrated campaigns, said Roy Ralston. Mr. Ralston, a vice president in Rapp Collins' Dallas office, played a primary role in

developing a media optimization analysis program for online travel client Travelocity.

Travelocity was able to leverage three years of historical sales and marketing data to uncover how current media choices affect its bottom line with the system developed by the Omnicom Group agency. The result was a model that suggests optimum timing, spending and media mix to achieve quarterly goals.

Varying media mix
With its tagline "Go Virtually Anywhere," Travelocity relies on radio as the basis for its campaigns, but also includes cable TV, online, print and direct in its mix, using the Richards Group, Dallas, on creative and Omnicom's OMD for media buying, said Karla Rowland, Travelocity's senior marketing manager. "We want to reach customers at each point in the buying process," she said.

After working with the system for over a year, Travelocity has slashed its cost-per-site-visit by 20% using the model, which provides the company with weekly progress reports and allows it to tweak media plans as they unfold.

Stretching ad dollars
"It has totally changed the way we buy media and has really stretched our ad dollars," Ms. Rowland said. "We can better understand the difference in impact between a 30- and 60-second spot, and it has helped us pare down to make our newspaper buys more efficient."

With online systems, "[marketers] can see how all transactions take place, no matter what media or how it is used," said Capps' Datahive manager Bob LeBoeuf. "And the only way to get rid of costs is to know they're there."

Capps' digital consulting group is working with clients like Dow Chemical and Gateway on similar online programs to streamline local efforts and spending.

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