The military is a very special community, made up of 40 million military personnel and veterans worldwide and wielding $1.2T in spending power. This audience is composed of active duty military, military families, reserve and guard, and our focus audience today: veterans. For decades, Refuel Agency has worked closely with the special military + veteran audience in the U.S., and we’re honored to share our expert tips on how to market to veterans. 

Is your brand looking to advertise to veterans? Here are our top 4 tips for creating a veteran marketing strategy that is authentic, meaningful, and will drive results for your brand.

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1. 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.

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2. Offer Discounts to Veterans

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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3. Support VSOs

The military community has made incredible sacrifices for our country. They appreciate and are loyal to brands that support them and their community—and understand the unique challenges they face. Research from our Military Explorer Series™ shows that 33% of active duty military are loyal to brands that support veteran service organizations (VSOs). The military community takes notice when your brand is invested in them in the long-term. 

There are so many volunteer organizations that support our veterans in a wide variety of ways. These groups offer a range of support types from addressing specific needs through general assistance for wounded and disabled vets or just assisting in their transition stateside. 

From funding support animals to helping disabled veterans, researching a veteran-focused charity organization is only a few clicks away. For a few ideas on organizations that support veterans, gives a list of organizations which would be a good place to start.

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4. Feature the Veterans in Your Community

To appeal to veterans, highlight the veterans that are already a part of your company and your community. Showcase how your product or service is being used by veterans and highlight veterans 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 veterans through your brand identity. 

Are you ready to get started on your veteran marketing campaign? At Refuel Agency, we’ve been working with the military audience for over 30 years, and our combination of proprietary research, omnichannel solutions, and decades of experience make us uniquely qualified to deliver results for your brand or agency. Contact us today to get started.

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.