You have probably seen WWII movies where soldiers in a foxhole received a verbal order and then the words, “Pass it on!” True to that directive, word-of-mouth is one of the leading ways that consumer information is shared among military families, especially those on a base. In fact, when we have conducted military appreciation promotions such as turkey giveaways or toy drives over the holidays, the most effective media has been direct mail. Flyers, base-bloggers and online base-bulletin boards are important military media to consider using.
While conducting research for this blog post I read a case study on Fort Drum, N.Y. conducted by an area community college. It clearly illustrated the military community as “insular” and placed “significant value on word-of- mouth promotions.” In fact, the traditional media of local TV and radio produced very little impact. That’s understandable when you think how often this segment moves from place to place.
The study mentioned other important considerations like all advertising pieces need to include clear directions to reach your business as well as a website. Offer military customers referral rewards and other benefits to encourage them to share about your company with other families. Get in front of new arrivals by making sure your company brochure outlines the appreciation program and is included in any newcomer or “Welcome Wagon” package. This link explains more about the revealing study – it was completed in 2007, but the “Basic Training” it provides is insightful:
Now that we know how to get the message out, our next blog will touch on the potential of the military for your market.