First responders provide communities with invaluable services – keeping their communities safe and functioning well. However, many brands and agencies neglect how to market to first responders, opting instead for broad, mass-market campaigns aimed to reach and please everyone equally. 

Unfortunately, these campaigns often fail to make an impact and ultimately fall flat of their goals. Why? They lack both the creative and media-placement hyper-targeting that allows campaigns to reach specific and influence sets of consumers in their daily lives. Specificity allows your brand to deliver meaningful, targeted value propositions to the consumers who will resonate most. 

That’s where Refuel comes in. If your brand is looking to advertise to first responders, whether locally in your community or on a broader scale – as media experts, Refuel Agency is here to help.

marketing to first responders

What is a first responder?

First responders can be defined as anyone with specialized training who is among the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency. First responders typically include law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMT’s, and firefighters. The military community is also closely intertwined with first responders – while just six percent of the U.S. population has served in the military, veterans make up 10 percent of EMTs, 19 percent of firefighters, and 25 percent of police offices (according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Labor).

Tried-and-true tactic to reach first responders

1. Offer first-responder discounts

Offering customer discounts is a tried-and-true strategy to earning loyal customers. But in the military community, that’s even more true. According to our Military Explorer Series™, the military community is 22% more likely to support brands that offer military discounts, and 26% more likely to show support to brands that are equally supportive of the military community. 

There are two kinds of military discounts you can offer. The first is an evergreen military discount that applies to members of the military community throughout the calendar year. The second is a seasonal military discount, like a Military Appreciation Month discount that applies during the month of May, for example. 

It used to be challenging to offer a military discount due to the complexities of identifying members of the military community. Often military personnel used had to call a service representative to verify their military affiliation, which created friction in the sales process. Now that process is exceedingly simple. Solutions like SheerID provide an in-brand, frictionless experience that ensures military personnel receive their military discounts easily.

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2. Utilize print and out-of-home advertising

In a world of digital advertising, consumers are accustomed to being inundated with ads on every platform at every hour of the day. Digital advertising is everywhere (as well as ad blockers)—and that creates a sense of fatigue. 

Print media and out-of-home media have the ability to break through this digital noise and make an impact—and the research is there to prove it. 

It must also be a natural fit for the advertiser. Coming into the community for a short campaign is not going to build the trust that’s needed and may reflect negatively on the brand or advertiser. It is important to connect on a local community level and support first responders. So, targeted advertising is key, especially with first responder audiences. 

Read next: How to Market to Veterans

3. Feature first-responders in your community

When advertising to first responders, highlight the first responders that are already a part of your company and your community. Showcase how your product or service is being used by first responders and highlight first responders that are a part of your company. Actions speak much louder than words, and it goes a long way to demonstrate how you’re already invested in supporting first responders through your brand identity. 

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Are you ready to create specialized, targeted advertising campaigns that drive results? At Refuel Agency, we have 30 years of experience driving strategic campaigns for brands and agencies alike, across sectors and across the United States. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Liz Carmo

Liz Carmo brings over 14 years of experience with Refuel Agency. While an expert in all Refuel’s core markets, she quickly formed a passion for the military division. Liz has been a pioneer in the military space with building our partner relationships that allow us to keep competitive pricing and top industry knowledge. Her passion towards the military market, creativity, and deep consumer insights help Refuel’s key brands grow their business.