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What ISIS can teach US Central Command about Content Marketing

Aug 18, 2022 | 0 comments

Like most Millennials, I get my honest news from Comedy Central. So, I was really shocked when Jon Stewart mentioned that US Central Command is using flyers (yes, printed content) to combat ISIS’s full-blown Social Media campaigns! I was not only offended as a tax-payer but also appalled as a believer in Content Marketing.

The image used in the flyer is a stark and bloody one that shows a monstrous-looking member of ISIS urging a frightened youth to step forward, as another militant shoves a man head-first into a meat grinder. The sign overhead reads “Daesh Recruiting Office,” making the case that those who join the militants are being fed into a machine in which they cannot survive.

I guess it’s fair to conclude that when it comes to Content Marketing,  State Department and US Central Command are in the dark ages. In fact, the last time I remember paying for flyers to be mailed to potential customers was more than 10 years ago. That’s because Direct Marketing (like Cold Calling) is very ineffective because more than 95% of the targeted audience are not interested in your message. So, unless US Central Command can target these flyers to reach the most vulnerable population of the Middle East between 10-25 years old who can read Arabic and live within a 2-mile radius of these airdrops; this effort is doomed to fail.

Another advantage of Social Media marketing is that it comes with robust tools for sharing and feedback. On Facebook alone, there are “re-targeting” strategies to make sure the message is delivered repeatedly to the same group. You can also create “custom audiences” with Facebook. On Twitter, there are opportunities to create followers and reach them with messages of hope and freedom that the US could champion.  

I just wish I was a fly on the wall at CENTCOM when they decided on Flyers as the best tool to combat ISIS’s full-blown Social Media campaign. It’s comical to think that flyers can combat Social Media campaigns. In fact, if we are trying to win the hearts and minds of Arab youth away from ISIS; we need to do better on Facebook, better Twitter, and better YouTube than ISIS. 

Trying to counter ISIS’s Social Media marketing machine with printed flyers is akin to taking a butter knife to a gunfight. It’s not going to be pretty and the US will certainly lose.

What do you think?

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