On June 9, 1944, Private Joe Gandara’s detachment came under heavy enemy fire from a German force in Amfreville, France. After the gunfire had pinned him and his fellow soldiers to the ground for several hours, Gandara advanced voluntarily and alone toward the enemy, destroying three machine guns before he was fatally wounded. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor in 2014.
Veterans Day celebrates the tens of millions of heroes like Private Gandara who served in the US Armed Forces. It’s also an excellent opportunity for brands to show their appreciation for the tremendous sacrifices the military make for our country.
When done right, a campaign that genuinely honors the military can also build brand loyalty. And with 37 million members, the military community includes customers that align with any brand.
Why You Should Market to the Military
The military is as diverse as the country. More than half of veterans are 65 or older. But 46% of active duty soldiers are 24 years old or younger, and 43% are racial and ethnic minorities. And when you include reservists, spouses, and dependents, the military community has $1.2 trillion in spending power.
Engaging the military directly is a smart move because the military identity and the connections it fosters run deep. New research from SheerID and Military Times found that members strongly identify with being part of the military community (85%) nearly as often as they do their family role, such as being a spouse or parent (88%).
When you market to the military in a way that reflects who they are, they respond with the same kind of loyalty they feel towards each other. Ninety percent of the military said they’ve used a military discount, and 96% would share a military offer with others in their community.
Here’s how to ensure your marketing efforts hit the mark.
3 Tips for Making an Effective Veterans Day Campaign
01 Start with a Personalized Offer
Make an exclusive discount or experience the cornerstone of your campaign—it’s a great way to engage new customers. In fact, 74% of military members actively seek out brands that offer a military discount.
Purple’s success has been phenomenal—the program increased conversions by 6x and generated a 25:1 ROAS. The success inspired the mattress company to launch similar programs for teachers, medical workers, and other groups that altogether generated 58% of the previous year’s revenue in just eight weeks.
02 Thank the Military for Their Service
Use messaging that reflects genuine gratitude for sacrifices the entire military community makes. This creates a strong emotional connection—2 in 3 military feel “valued” and “supported”, and more than half also feel “thanked,” “honored,” and “respected.”
T-Mobile’s personalized offer to the military acknowledges this consumer community’s sense of identity and demonstrates shared values. Purple’s offer shows gratitude for the service that active, veteran, retired, and reservist military members provide.
03 Go Beyond the Discount
A personalized discount can initiate a lifelong relationship with military customers, but providing broader support is the way to truly win their hearts and minds.
More than 6 in 10 military members say they know a brand is military-friendly when it donates to a military-related cause, and nearly 7 in 10 say a brand is military-friendly when it sponsors programs that support the military or provides career support for veterans.
T-Mobile’s military support goes all-in with a multi-faceted initiative that includes:
- Pledging to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2023.
- Funding a free, online version of the non-profit FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program for all military and veterans.
- Investing more than half a billion dollars to improve telecom infrastructure around US military bases.
The military community is large, diverse, and deeply connected. A meaningful Veterans Day campaign that honors their service can bring them into your brand and create a network of loyal customers.