I was attending a training session for the DOD Employer Support to Guard and Reserve (ESGR). During the session I was asked to give an impromptu introduction into “Marketing”. Since there is an on-going conversation as to the similarities and differences between commercial influence (marketing, sales & Public Relations) and PSYOP/MISO, I thought I would share the essence of that presentation in this posting.
I view the commercial influence world as three complementary functions: Public Relations (PR), marketing and sales. Unlike the military where the reporting structure is clear, this is sometimes not the case in the commercial sector. I have been in organizations where Marketing, Sales and PR each are headed by Vice Presidents and report to the CEO. In other places Marketing and PR are combined.
PR has a clear mission: communicate the organization’s messages.
Sales also has a clear mission: generate revenue.
Marketing’s job is primarily to support sales, but can also provide support to PR.
In the military world Public Affairs (PR) is the CDR’s voice to the media. They reach target audiences both foreign and domestic through the media.
PSYOP, for the sake of discussion, has the marketing and sales missions.
In this case I equate sales to “Face to Face” communications. PSYOP teams are in direct, personal contact with the population and take on the role of a sales force.
MISO forces create products that are used in the media and are used directly with the population. MISO can purchase or trade for print space or broadcast time. They can, as do commercial entities, hire contractors to write white papers, articles and OpEd materials in support of the CDR’s messages. (Note: this post is not meant to discuss issues of sourcing and attribution, but rather only the techniques.
MISO also creates leaflets (sort of like commercial brochures), posters, comic books, etc.
Commercial entities are making aggressive use of Social Media with an emphasis on FaceBook and Twitter. Strikes me that PA is the right military specialty to take the CDR’s messages through Social Media. I’m not quite sure that MISO doctrine has caught up with MISO’s role in Social Media and invite informed readers to chime in here.
The point of today’s entry is that there are valid comparisons between commercial influence and PSYOP/MISO. They may not be exactly right – but they certainly can explain MISO to CDR and other stakeholders.