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7 Tips for Effectively Marketing to the Military

Photo of a young man in a soldier uniform, moving into a new apartment with his wife

7 Tips for Effectively Marketing to the Military

by Tony Coray
Senior Content Strategist
Posted on Mar 22, 2019 5 min read

Members of the armed services make great sacrifices for our country. National Military Appreciation Month is celebrated every May, and it’s an excellent time to recognize service members’ commitment and courage, and show appreciation for the families who support them at home and abroad.

So how do you honor members of the military in a way that stands out? Through gated, exclusive offers. Creating special, personalized promotions that only military members and their families can redeem is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business.  

Marketing to the Military with Exclusive Offers is a Powerful Move.

Members of the military make a conscious choice to serve our country, despite the dangers of the job, the grueling time commitment, and the chances they’ll be deployed halfway around the world. A gated offer recognizes that this commitment is a central and noble part of their identity.

With gated offers for the military, leading brands demonstrate their alignment with values that are important to members of the military “tribe,” such as:

  • Health and Fitness: the commitment driving Kettlebell Kitchen’s meal subscription service—and the 15% discount they offer to all military members and first responders.
  • Inner Strength: a core value shared by Alex and Ani, a jewelry brand that recognizes the special status of the military with a 15% discount year-round.
  • Diversity: a trait UNTUCKit celebrates by offering a 25% discount on its clothing line to members of the armed forces, veterans, and military families.
  • Made-in-America: an expression of rugged durability reflected by American Giant, the “quality first” clothing company that honors the military with an ongoing 20% military discount.

What do these and other brands know? That honoring the military with gated offers makes a difference—both in building customer loyalty and driving revenue growth.

Ninety-four percent of military members surveyed say they notice when companies are “military-friendly,” and that they have a positive impression of those companies. And this extends beyond the military and their families—even consumers who aren’t military think highly of brands that honor them.

A US soldier shopping online. Ninety-four percent of military members surveyed say they notice when companies are “military-friendly.”

Honoring the Military Taps into a Rich Segment and Inspires Loyalty.

It’s all in the numbers—marketing to the military using exclusive offers and discounts is lucrative:

  • 37 million military consumers have more than $1 trillion in spending power.
  • 95% say they are more likely to shop at a company that offers a military discount.
  • 84% prefer to shop at retailers year-round even if they only offer a military discount during military holidays like Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July.

It’s also a great customer acquisition strategy, particularly when you tie it to a loyalty program.

When Ryan Fagan, Lowe’s director of sales and operations planning, launched a military gated offer and tied it to the company’s MyLowe’s program, it brought in troves of new customers: “In a little over a year, we’ve seen millions of veteran customers enroll in the program, helping us build a seamless loyalty program,” he said.

The military community has 37 million members with $1 trillion in spending power.

Marketing to the military with exclusive offers is a winning strategy. Here’s how to do it right.

7 Tips for Creating Exclusive Promotions for the Military

  1. Make an attractive offer. Create a promotion that beats what’s available to the general public—offers of 15% or more perform better.
  2. Target more than active service members. Extend your offer to veterans, spouses, and dependents—a group 20 million strong.
  3. Create messaging that speaks from the heart. Thank them for their service and use words and images that convey honor, patriotism, bravery, and freedom.
  4. Leverage the power of word of mouth. Create shareable experiences for this close-knit community. More than 76% say they learn about military discounts via word of mouth.
  5. Make a splash during military-related holidays or special events. Veterans Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Military Appreciation Month in May are great times to launch your program.
  6. Make your offer highly visible and easy to access. Link, share, and promote your offer where military members and families will see it—on broader social sites as well as military-focused resources.
  7. Engage with the military audience online. Follow hashtags, listen, respond, and build loyalty on Facebook and LinkedIn groups where military members go for conversation.

You can learn more about these tips and other strategies for engaging the military in our webinar,  7 Ways to Honor the Military and Drive Revenue in 2019

Marketing to the Military Pays Off

Digital marketers across multiple industries—from retail to software, subscription, and travel industries—are successfully using gated offers for the military to acquire and retain loyal, high-value customers.

Travel company Globus plans vacation packages that appeal to the military and supports them with gated offers exclusively for this audience. Their military offer outperformed their other flash sales by 20%.

Vail Resorts created an exclusive military offer on 2018-2019 season pass products. CEO Rob Katz reported that more than 50% of purchasers were new customers, and revenue from the program far exceeded any revenue lost from the discount.

When Vail Resorts launched a gated military offer, more than 50% of purchasers were new customers.

And according to Ryan Fagan, Lowe’s military program is one of their best performing: “While we had expected these campaigns to drive greater awareness for our brand, the engagement rate on them is 2-3x higher than other campaigns we are running,” he said.

Want to Learn How to More Effectively Market to the Military?

Join us for our April 17 webinar: 7 Ways to Honor the Military and Drive Revenue in 2019You’ll learn:

  • Best practices for marketing to the military.
  • How to create an offer the military community will love.
  • How Lowe’s, Target, and T-Mobile use gated offers to support the military and grow revenue.

Register Now!