Veterans Sound Off about Companies' Military Promotions, Marketing [Survey]
Military discounts, giveaways, advertisements, and awareness campaigns have become increasingly common among commerical enterprises. For example, last year Walmart joined forces with several other organizations to “Greenlight a Vet,” a campaign that encouraged Americans to support veterans by installing and shining a green light.
What, we wondered, do military personnel and veterans think about all this attention from for-profit companies? It's an important question, especially considering the size of the military population: 22 million veterans across the country (source: U.S. Census Bureau) and 1.4 million currently in uniform (source: Defense Manpower Data Center).
Field Agent located and surveyed 205 current and former members of the U.S. military. To ensure we were surveying actual veterans and military personnel, we required participants to submit a photo of their military I.D. or discharge papers. Our goal was to understand the attitudes and behaviors of service members/veterans toward the military-specific marketing and promotions of companies.
Below we present findings in 5 different areas: attitudes, loyalties, advertisements, military discounts, and offers. That’s acronym A.L.A.M.O., for any military readers out there.
(A)ttitudes of servicemembers and veterans toward military-supportive companies:
The results were crystal clear: Respondents overwhelmingly have a positive opinion of businesses that support military personnel and veterans.
"I have a great appreciation for companies who truly support the military and understand the sacrifices made," said one 28-year-old servicemember from Royal, Nebraska.
Virtually the entire sample (96%) agreed with the statement, "I have a more favorable opinion of companies that show public support for current and former military personnel."
(L)oyalties of current and former military personnel to companies that support the military and its veterans
Almost everyone in the survey, 97%, indicated they are at least a little more likely to spend their dollars with military-supportive companies. Indeed, 71% said they're “much more likely."
Such loyalty may even provide a competitive advantage. Asked whether they had ever purchased one brand over another because it showed public support for the military, 82% answered “yes.”
(A)dvertisements honoring military heroes and their service
And what about those commercials, the ones that voice support for military personnel and veterans against a backdrop of patriotic images and music? Do they influence the spending of current and former military personnel? 90% said such advertisements exert at least a little influence over their purchase decisions. Almost half, 49%, called them “extremely” or “very" influential.
(M)ilitary discounts for current members of the U.S. Armed Forces
We identified a subset of 56 respondents currently serving in the military. Because some companies offer year-round military discounts, we wondered what sway, if any, these discounts hold over the spending decisions of service members. 71% said year-round military discounts are “extremely” or “very” influential to their purchase decisions.
Discounts may also inspire brand loyalty from servicemembers. 91% of current military personnel in our survey said they're more loyal to companies that offer year-round military discounts.
(O)ffers and special Veteran’s Day deals
From restaurants to theme parks, with each passing year a growing number of companies offer special Veteran’s Day promotions to current and former military. We collected several insights about these holiday deals and giveaways:
- 91% of those surveyed have at some time taken advantage of Veteran’s Day deals, freebies
- 95% of veterans and military personnel say they are more likely to support companies that offer Veteran’s Day discounts/freebies
- 41% say they would actually stop or reduce their spending with companies that do not offer Veteran’s Day discounts/freebies
- 45% said long lines/wait times prevent them from taking full advantage of Veteran's Day promotions
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