How Marketing to the Military Brought Purple 6x Conversions

Posted on Sep 20, 2019 · 4 min read

Purple needed a customer acquisition strategy that would help it stand out from the crowd. The company had a revolutionary product—a mattress developed by world-class innovators of comfort technology. But it was also competing with 200 other mattress brands for the attention of consumers. 

The solution? Marketing to the military with a gated, personalized offer. The results speak for themselves: 

  • 6x increase in conversions
  • 49 hours saved in customer service
  • ROAS of 25:1

Read on to learn how Purple created this success.

Marketing to the Military Was the First Step

Purple had a patented No Pressure™ mattress that critics loved, but the company still needed a way to rise above the noise. Purple’s team decided to target the military—a consumer tribe that aligned with the company’s high-quality, made-in-USA brand identity. 

Marketing to the military was a smart move that had tremendous potential. The military community has 37 million customers with more than $1 trillion in spending power.

The bigger question was how to reach them.

Give the Military What They Want: Personalized Offers

To engage the military, Purple created a 10% discount for everyone in their community.  This included active and reservist military, veterans, retirees, military spouses, and registered dependents. Personalized military offers like this are highly appealing:

  • 95% of military members say they’re more likely to shop from a retailer who offers a military discount.
  • 94% say they notice when companies are “military-friendly” and have a positive impression of those brands.
  • The military community purchases more products online than civilians, and 71% say they’ll use a military discount “way more” if it’s available online.

Manual Verification Creates Friction 

Purple’s military offer was popular, but the process for verifying eligible customers wasn’t.

Military shoppers had to interrupt their online shopping to call and speak to a customer service agent to verify their eligibility for the offer. This was a time-consuming step that put the full responsibility for fraud prevention on Purple’s customer service team.

Purple knew its military discount was a winning strategy, and they wanted to expand it. But they knew they needed to improve their verification process first. The company needed a platform that would:

  • Help scale-up its military marketing efforts.
  • Streamline the process for customers.
  • Remove the burden on its customer service team.

Alisa Gammon, Purple’s social advertising director, was charged with finding the right solution.

She considered working with an affiliate to verify customers but decided not to as it would have created a poor customer experience. Military shoppers would have to leave Purple’s website to create an account with the affiliate, who would then control the customers’ data. 

It also meant Purple would have to give the affiliate a slice of the revenue, something Alisa wanted to avoid.

Instead, she decided to relaunch Purple’s military discount using digital verification to confirm customers’ eligibility. 

Digital Verification Benefits Customers and Brands

Using digital verification enabled Purple to:

  • Provide a Frictionless, In-Brand Experience. Military members simply enter basic information when they check out, receive instant verification, and complete their purchase. 
  • Secure the Personalized Offer. Purple’s customer service team no longer had to carry the burden of preventing fraud. Digital verification uses authoritative data sources to instantly confirm a customer’s military status.
  • Respect Customer Privacy. Purple collects only basic customer data that’s never shared with an affiliate who would use it for their own marketing. Purple also avoids the risks involved in maintaining Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
  • Nurture Customer Loyalty. Digital verification is an opt-in process. Military customers willingly give Purple data it can use to nurture them well beyond this first purchase.

Digital verification gave Alisa and her team the confidence to broadly promote the discount through social channels like Facebook and Pinterest. They targeted relevant groups like military schools and personalized the offer even further with imagery and messaging that resonated with the military community.

Marketing to the Military Generated an ROAS of 25:1

Purple’s new military discount program paid off. Relaunching their personalized military offer with digital verification increased conversions by 6x and generated an ROAS of 25:1

Switching from manual to digital verification also saved Purple considerable time and resources. They’ve reduced their verification-related support calls to zero and are saving its customer service team 49 hours per month.

“The success has been phenomenal,” said Alisa. “Our personalized military offer is helping Purple stand out in our highly competitive space. We’re providing a better customer experience and increasing our revenue. It’s a win-win across the board.”

Purple was so inspired by the success of their military program, it decided to expand it to include first responders. The company is considering using personalized offers to reach students and teachers as well.

A service member smiling. The military community has 34 million buyers with $1 trillion in spending power.

Download our e-book: Best Practices for Connecting with the Military Community

Tony Coray by Tony Coray