Gaming is not a new tool in the military's recruitment approach. Along with several corporations and a few nonprofits, the military has used video games the past few years to market their opportunities and appeal to a younger generation.
But as noted in The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, success requires moving from goods and commodities to complete experiences.
“An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.”A video game is just a good, but the new Army Experience Center is a $13 million dollar arcade according to the Times article. Some key facts:
- The Experience Center replaced five smaller recruitment stations, but costs approximately the same. By concentrating resources in one venue, recruiters can offer a more compelling experience.
- Philadelphia has been one of the more challenging areas for recruitment, so trying something very different here might seem less risky.
- Urban centers often don't have as strong a military presence, so the Center is an effective venue for sharing the Army's story overall regardless of visitors' interest in enlisting.
- The staff—both military and civilians— wear casual clothes to appear more approachable and less "hard sell."
- Three simulators engage participants in completing humanitarian missions, appealing to individuals' sense of being a part of something bigger than themselves.
- An informational kiosk describes more than 175 jobs available in the Army, promoting the fact that not all positions are combat roles.