The military is a very special community, made up of 42 million military personnel worldwide and wielding $1.2T in spending power. And after having worked with the military community for over 30 years, it’s safe to say that we’ve collected a few little-known secrets about U.S. army advertising. At Refuel, we’re here to help our clients achieve results… which is why we’re opening the vault and sharing some of our most meaningful secrets to help supercharge your military marketing campaign. Let’s get started.

u.s. army advertising

1. The US army supports brands that support the military

According to our Military Explorer SeriesTM, 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. 

Read next: How to Advertise to Military Families

2. The military strongly identifies with their community

Members of the US army understandly place a large emphasis on their role as a part of the military community. The military community is one that is bonded by shared values, shared sacrifice, and shared experiences. 

So it makes sense that when polled, 85% declared that they identify with being a part of the military community – almost as strongly as they identify with their family role (which 88% responded that they do).

When crafting your US army advertising campaigns, demonstrating your understanding of this military affinity is crucial. Members of the military audience want to know that brands understand and are catering to their unique experience and identity.

Read next: How to Advertise During Military Appreciation Month

3. Members of the military don’t stay in the military forever

While those who choose to enlist in the military do strongly identify with the community and their roles – they don’t stay in the military forever. Up to 250,000 military members, at an average age of 25, transition back to civilian life each year and officially adopt the veteran status. 

At that point, that means members of the military community are either entering the civilian workforce or returning to higher education. Our research found that the main interest areas of study are business and marketing, engineering, computer science, cyber security, and law. Thirty-five percent are interested in non-military employment, with interest in similar occupations—business, computer info systems, engineering, and security. Federal government jobs are a popular option with 39% of service members transitioning to that field.  

Of course, military ties don’t go away. Former military members tend to stay connected to the military community and involve themselves in Veteran Service Organizations. Our research found that three out of four service members have strong connections to Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) like the VA, VFW, and the Wounded Warrior Project. 

Read next: Understanding the Military Transition to Civilian Life

4. The US army is influenced by print media

Interestingly, print media is highly effective when it comes to reaching and influencing the US army and military community. Refuel Agency’s Military Explorer Series found that active duty military are 25% more likely to read military-related print magazines than the general population. (Refuel Military Explorer Series™).

In terms of on-base magazines, military newspapers, and military OOH ad results, upwards of 90% of military spouses took action after seeing these ads.  Additionally, you can show your appreciation to military personnel and earn brand loyalty by offering military discounts. Refuel Agency’s Military Explorer Series™ showed that the military community is more likely to be loyal to brands that offer military discounts—41% of military spouses were more likely to be loyal to brands that offer discounts. 

If your brand or agency’s goal is advertising to the US army – print is a strategy you simply can’t ignore.

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

How to reach the military audience

Marketing to the military community is not as straightforward as it sounds because the military community is multi-generational, multicultural, and live both on and off base all over the world. Active duty military have entirely different lifestyles than veterans do, and Gen Z military personnel consume media completely differently than their Gen X counterparts. The military community is nuanced — and marketing strategy should be, too. 

So what are the best ways to ensure your military advertising reaches the military community? 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. Here are a few effective media and marketing strategies when trying to reach the military: 

  • Digital and social media
  • On-base Out-of-Home — Digital and print OOH are important vehicles for the military departments to communicate to on-base personnel throughout the bases, and through Refuel Agency, also provide a way for brands to deliver up-to-date brand messages
  • MilitaryscapesTM — These customized, large-scale, high-impact media placements are a key part of an effective military marketing campaign, and generate high interest
  • Off-base media — Garner the attention of military personnel as the move through the community with billboards, bus ads, and more

At Refuel Agency, we’ve specialized in US army advertising for over 30 years, and we can create a personalized, targeted media plan to get your military discount in front of the military audience. Learn more about our military marketing solutions, or contact us for your customized media and marketing plan.

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.