Marketing to the Military

If your business is located within 50 miles or so of a military base, you know the active duty military consumer is a big part of your business, or at least it should be. Yet, for a lot of companies, big and small, it is a population largely ignored. Much of that lack of focus is not about lack of interest, but a lack of resources to reach active duty military personnel, and the lack of ability to adequately message them.

There are more dependents in the military community than there are active-duty personnel. And the number of reservists, civilian employees, and retirees that live near major military installations accounts for ten of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of additional consumers, ready to participate in your business cycle.

Say a local market has a total economic impact of $6 billion or so (not an uncommon number for a mid-sized installation), that base likely will support around 23,000 personnel, with only 25-30% being active duty military members, the remaining percentages belong to base employed civilians and contractors. The direct payroll amount would be about 20-30% of that, or up to $2 billion annually, that’s money paid in salaries by the base, all pouring into the local economy. That that does not include indirect salaries paid by companies supporting the base, or working military spouses.  And keep in mind, the average enlisted military service member and their families receive Permanent Change of Station orders three times in the first six years of service. There is always a fresh supply of military consumers coming in and out of your nearby installation.

Military families have:

  • More free time in large blocks
  • 35% higher expendable income
  • 3 times more vacations
  • Move twice as often as civilian families
  • Travel 5 times more often than civilian families

How does your business attract those military supported dollars?

  1. The first thing a local business can do to attract military consumers is to be visible. 80% of military personnel have access to the internet at all times, even when deployed. If your business has a clean, modern web presence, chances are you would at least show up if your product or services were listed in a Google search. Since 75% of all local buyers search for a business online prior to making a purchase, this would be the logical first step. But it’s a big web wide world out there, and getting Inside the Gates of the military installation requires even more specific targeting. Get a military friendly web site development quote.

  2. Say “Thank You”. Our men and women in the military put themselves in harms way to protect our way of life, often a simple, and sincere “thank you” is enough to make a member of that community feel welcome, and appreciated. A window cling or sign in front of your business showing support for your local military installation can do a lot for your foot traffic.

  3. Offer Military Specials. Major retailers know the value of customer loyalty programs. Offering military discounts says, “Thank you”, as well as develops a loyal customer base that returns to your business again and again.

  4. Advertising. Ad spend to a targeted demographic is the key to making 1, 2, and 3 above work in your favor. Many military installations have sanctioned publications that are distributed on the base, near the base, and at very specific establishments with a built-in military audience, such at the Armed Services YMCA, for example. Often times these publications are put together by the Public Affairs Office, and contain the most recent information available for traveling military members, their families, civilian employees, and DOD contractors. MyBaseGuide print, mobile, and currently serve over 147 different military installations across the USA, Alaska and Hawaii, with base and post guides, and official maps. All publications are free of charge to the government, military and everyone else, so each publication receives wide distribution directly into the hands of your desired military customer.

  5. Be Sincere. We live in a loud world, a sincere policy of supporting and honoring our military members will go a long way in a crowd. Set your self apart from the start, be honest and sincere in your marketing efforts, and your desired military consumer will not only be attracted to your businesses, but spread positive word of mouth advertising that no dollar can buy! 

Select business types are allowed to participate in MyBaseGuide and HiMilitary publications.

Get Inside the Gate, check to see if there is a military installation guide for your local military base here, and if your business qualifies.

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