Air Force database speeds recruiting

For the last two months, the Air Force Recruiting Service has been using a custom database solution from Merkle Direct Marketing Inc. to process and track responses from all sources, target leads, and distribute those leads to recruitment offices around the country.

Merkle, a provider of information-based database marketing services, will help the Air Force Recruiting Service meet its 2003 enlistment goal of more than 36,000 volunteers, said Michael Mathias, senior vice president of client management services at the Lanham, Md.-based company. As part of the initiative, which started in December and went live on February 14, Merkle built and delivered a custom database solution using its proprietary Military Lead Management Knowledge Center, a database tool, Mathias said.

The Knowledge Center enables the company to target appropriate leads; process responses from direct mail, broadcast, print and the Internet; and distribute the most qualified leads to field recruitment offices, Mathias said, adding that Merkle then analyzes the data to help the Air Force better understand the effectiveness of the different types of outreach. "Merkle is providing a centralized lead-processing environment that satisfies both operational and analytical needs," he said. "Operational involves the process of lead recruiting. Analytical or marketing/analytics would be more outreach-based and would answer questions such as 'How do I increase my response rates?'"

Kerry Macaitis, the Air Force Recruiting Service's direct marketing account executive, said that organization is confident that Merkle is handling the lead management system "in the most effective and efficient manner possible," adding that the office was impressed the solution was delivered two weeks ahead of schedule.

Merkle already does the same type of recruitment-lead processing for the Marine Corps and the Army, Mathias said. The company is working with the Air Force Recruiting Service as a subcontractor through Austin, Texas-based GSD&M, a strategic marketing and advertising company.

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