While women may be the first group of people that come to mind when you think “shopping”, smart advertisers know that women are not the only ones making significant purchasing decisions. However, the advertising consumption habits of young male consumers are entirely different from members of other target audiences, making reaching them an ongoing challenge. 

So we’re going to tell you a little secret. For free. Reaching the young male consumer is as easy as simply shifting your perspective: and advertising to the military audience in the U.S.. The military audience is primarily male, and easily reachable through hyper-targeted media buying strategies. 

For decades, Refuel Agency has worked closely with the military and veteran audience in the U.S., understanding what makes them who they are, conducting proprietary research, and supporting them. Here are 3 key insights to help you reach and advertise to young male consumers in the U.S.. 

advertise to young male consumers

Why advertise to the military audience

At Refuel, we’ve been working with the special military consumer audience for over 30 years. This audience, made up of 40 million military personnel nationwide and possessing $1.2T in buying power, can be split into the following categories: 

  • Active duty military
  • Reserve/guard
  • Post 9/11 veterans
  • Veterans
  • Retirees
  • Military families

Successfully marketing to this community means connecting your brand with millions of brand-loyal customers wielding trillions in spending power, with a 35% higher income and 3 times more vacation time than most civilians. This is a powerful audience for your brand—but you’ve got to get it right. 

Read next: 4 Secrets You Didn’t Know About US Army Advertising

1. Leverage the power of on-base advertising

Reaching the young male consumers of the military audience in the U.S. can be a challenge. The military community is highly transient, often relocating to different bases or different areas around the country. This community also has very different shopping patterns and media preferences than the general population. 

But utilizing on-base advertising acts as a bridge to this valuable audience by bringing your message to an environment that will provide the highest numbers of repeat impressions amongst your target audience. In fact, brands have discovered the power of advertising on-base–the ability to reach a unique, fully-employed and loyal consumer via a hyper-local campaign. 

On-base advertising is available all over military bases in highly-trafficked areas such as gyms, at events, at housing facilities, in commissaries, and more. 

Read next: How to Advertise Your Brand During Military Appreciation Month

2. Be authentic

The sacrifice that comes with serving our country is not one that’s easily understood by those who haven’t lived it. And the military community is one that is uniquely bonded through lived experiences and the military culture that is a part of their identity. 

Given this, military marketing campaigns that fail to accurately represent the military experience, culture, or language will fall completely flat and instead alienate your target audience. So when you’re marketing to veterans, you’re going to want to do your research—so you can create authentic campaigns that will resonate. 

So how do you ensure that your campaigns are authentic? First, check your stock images. Members of the military audience will be the first to notice incorrect uniforms or haircuts. Ensure that the creative you’re using is an accurate depiction of the military community, or you will be written off from the start. 

And second, beware of stereotypes. There are a lot of different types of veterans, varying in age, experience, and the type of service they offered. Don’t assume that the first thing that comes to mind is going to cut it when it comes to marketing to veterans.

Read next: 6 Examples of Brands That Got Military Advertising Right

3. Reach hard-to-reach male consumers through print advertising

Military print marketing is a marketing tactic in which brands place ads in various print materials targeted specifically towards the military audience. This is a particularly effective marketing tactic because our data shows that the military audience is more engaged with military-specific print media than they are non-military print media. 

Based on the Military Explorer Series 2021, military print readership is on the rise with 76% of Active Duty members reading on-base newspapers compared to 71% back in 2020. In addition, 80% of Reserve and National Guard and 65% of Post 9/11 Veterans are also reading base newspapers, which are significant boosts from 2020 by +29% and +51% respectively.

advertise to young male consumers

Read next: If You’re Wondering What Authentic Military Marketing Looks Like, This is It

Looking to find out how to advertise to young male consumers? The best military advertising strategy includes a mix of detailed consumer data sets, targeted media placements, customized creatives, research, and partnership leverage that can help your message make an impact. You can find out more here. At Refuel Agency, we’ve specialized in military advertising for over 30 years, and we can create a personalized, targeted media plan to win over the military audience strategically. Learn more about our military marketing solutions, or contact us for your customized media and marketing plan.

Christina O'Toole

Christina is a data-driven, full stack marketer with over 20 years success leading marketing in technology, higher ed and publishing industries. Christina has developed hundreds of marketing campaigns and built all facets of programs including lifecycle journeys, creative direction and lead generation. She now heads corporate marketing at Refuel Agency.