3 Things the United States Air Force Taught Me about Marketing
by Aaryck Enriquez
2006 – 2012 was a period of my life that will forever be defined by one thing: Air Force.
Being an Airman taught me many life lessons; like how to fill out a USAF ID10t Form, when to “stop eating crayons” as my drill sergeant once put it, why I should remove my head from my own rear-end and many other armed services classics. Thus, from these life lessons, I have learned a few things about marketing and would like to share some of these nuggets of wisdom with you!
So, here are 3 Things the United States Air Force Taught Me about Marketing.
- Know Your Objective
It was 0515 (5:15am) and all I can see is the beet-red face of a large man yelling at me. Flecks of spit covered my sweating face and I couldn’t tell what was perspiration and what was spit. However, I had a 6’4 problem in front of me to deal with, so I ignored it. Two hours had passed since our drill sergeants had the brilliant idea of a training tactic that involved doing inspections at 0315. They found a major infraction within my bunk: my 5-inch-wide rolled up socks broke the 4-inch-wide rolled up socks rule. I honestly believed the socks had to be 5 inches. Despite my ignorance, I was still reprimanded with non-stop pushups, an upended mattress and verbal violence for two hours because I didn’t know my objectives.
While marketing isn’t as intense as getting yelled at about socks before you’ve had breakfast, you and/or your clients are pouring a lot of money into the marketing campaigns. So, take it from me and my 5-inch-wide rolled up socks – you may want to treat it as such by knowing your objectives inside and out. Knowing your objectives will not only help maximize efficiency in your campaigns, but it will also help you get the biggest return on investment.
- Adapt to Adversity
“Sergeant, it’s cold outside.”
“It’s always cold outside. It’s Wyoming,” I replied.
“Yeah, but like, it’s June!”
Some time has passed since I botched the 4 inch-wide rolled up sock rule. I was recently promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and I barely knew what I was doing. The hail was coming down hard on us and a tornado warning has been issued. If I said I wasn’t scared, I would be telling the absolute truth because this California boy was excited to see his first real tornado up close and personal. However, for the sake of everyone’s safety, we got back into the Humvee and drove back to our main site. Once the storm was over, multiple alarms were going off due to the adverse weather and my team and I had to “strike the sites” to make sure they reset and were functional again.
This lasted for hours. In the cold. In the middle of June… Wyoming is an odd place.
After working on several alarms at different sites, my team was tired, hungry and cold. The only warmth we had was from our flak vests, helmets and cigarettes. Still, we kept at resetting the alarms at each site, no matter the issue. Whenever we faced an issue, we made sure we adapted to the environment and kept pushing on, no matter what.
No, marketing is not that intense, however, it does require thick skin! One of my marketing professors from the best university of all time, Colorado State, agrees with this mentality because he says anything goes in the marketing industry. However, adhering to best practices, being flexible and addressing issues on the spot can help a marketing campaign excel!
- Attention to Detail
Remember the sock story I just told you? Well, that’s applicable in marketing, as well. Case in point: you try rolling your socks up into a perfectly cylindrical 4-inch roll! Gotta pay attention…
Paying attention to the details makes all the difference in the copy, graphics, audiences, objectives, data and much more. “Keep your head on a swivel” and maintain vigilance. Your bottom line depends on it! Hua.