You’d be hard-pressed to find an outfit more devoted to tradition than the United States Marine Corps, but on the other hand, they didn’t get through almost 235 years of existence by failing to innovate.
In that spirit, the 87-year-old Marine Corps League, the nation’s only federally chartered Marine Corps-related veterans organization, came to Hammock Inc. four years ago seeking to reinvigorate their member magazine as part of a campaign to increase recruitment and retention.
As we reported a couple years ago, Semper Fi, the magazine of the Marine Corps League™, has been an essential tool for that campaign. It’s also proved to be a versatile tool for Marine Corps League programs, and a casebook example of objective-based content. Here is how we’ve done it:

  1. Creating Marine Military Expo Guides. Three times a year, Semper Fi is distributed at the Marine Military Expos which are co-sponsored by the League. The events bring fighting Marines and defense industries vendors together to examine, review, critique and evaluate gear being used in the field as well as potential new gear. Hammock produces the show guides for each event, which enhances the visibility of the Marine Corps League to vendors as well as to Marines.

    Marine Corps League volunteers hand out copies of the magazine and the guide to attendees, which gives the Leaguers a chance to introduce active-duty Marines to the organization. Recruitment efforts at these shows have been increasingly effective with the new magazine.
    Vendors have also responded: Advertising pages in the recent Marine West Expo have quintupled in the four years we have been producing it. This underwrites the cost of producing the directory and brings in significantly more net revenue for the League.

  2. Distribution during Marine Week. Similarly, the magazine figured prominently in last year’s inaugural Marine Week event held in Chicago. Scores of League members from Chicagoland volunteered to assist at Marine Week events, and their scarlet caps were everywhere.

    This included a VIP reception with National Security Advisor General James Jones (USMC, Ret., at left with MCL National Commandant James Laskey in scarlet jacket) as guest speaker. Wherever the League went, the magazine went, also, providing an informative leave-behind for spectators (including potential recruits).
    When Marine Week Boston kicks off in May, Semper Fi magazine will be there, too.

  3. Promoting a New Bricks-and-Mortar Store. Recently, Semper Fi has served as the major channel for announcing the opening of the League’s new bricks-and-mortar “Semper Fi Store” near League HQ in Fairfax, VA. Previously, the League sold merchandise solely by mail-order. The store allowed the League to greatly expand and diversify its merchandise. Also, being located in an area that is visited by, or home to, many Marine veterans, the store allows these Marines and their families a chance to browse the merchandise.

    Semper Fi magazine carried several stories about the Semper Fi Store, which opened in late 2009 and has been enjoying brisk business. The magazine also has a “Ship’s Store” section highlighting merchandise, and we have expanded that section to 4 pages from 3 to showcases more items.

  4. Passing Legislation. And finally, Semper Fi is helping the League on a new campaign—passage of legislation that would change the name of the Department of the Navy, to the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps. The name change would recognize, after more than 225 years, the relationship of the two services. The League is deeply committed to the Marine Corps Identity Cause campaign, and we look forward to announcing success.