How to Market to Millennial Military Veterans

How to Market to Millennial Military Veterans

April 18, 2017

Marketing to Millennial Military Veterans

Where can Advertisers Find Them (and Keep Them)?

When looking at the U.S Military Veteran population, there is a vast difference between young, 18-34 Millennial Veterans versus their 35+ Veteran counterparts – especially when it comes to media consumption patterns.  Veteran millennials trust and use traditional media, but tend to favor digital, social and streaming media vehicles.

Veteran millennials may have entered the civilian world but they continue to engage in Military specific content in a variety of ways.  After leaving service, almost half (48%) of Veteran millennials frequently visit Military specific websites, 3.3x more likely than Veterans 35+.   In terms of print, younger veterans (46%) are heavy readers of Military related magazines; 4x more likely to read these vehicles than older veterans.

Streaming media also hits the mark with these Veteran millennials. 2 of 3 Military Veterans in this demographic, often watch streaming video and 61% often use streaming radio (while only 21% of older veterans do so). Moreover, there are more young Veterans using Netflix (52%) and YouTube (48%) than traditional TV. Pandora is their #1 music source.  Similar to general market consumers, young Veterans look to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter for social networking.  They also show a tremendous affinitiy toward Military specific social media channels such as RallyPoint, an online Military platform with over 1,100,000 military members, continues to see more than 1,000 join each day.

Similar to older Veterans, the brand loyalty that started as an Active Duty service member remains with these young Veterans, as U.S. Army Veteran Daniel Anderson, 2004-2009, describes:

There are few Brands that I am loyal to. I love brands when they have excellent customer service. Specifically, one brand comes to mind in service excellence that also hires Veterans, and have a very trustworthy banking system.  They ensure that I speak to an expert as immediately as possible for any insurance or financial query I may have.

While I was in the military, I bought my very first television at the age of 20 at an AAFES.  It was a flat screen big box Sony Television for 250 dollars. I have never bought a television from another company. Word of Mouth rules as Active Duty and carries on post service.  Bottom line, what seals the deal for me, is if employment, charity, and support of any kind is given to the military by a particular brand, then I will purchase my goods from them. 

While looking at millennial Veterans as a brand loyal consumer group, we also need to realize that brands need to earn their trust to become part of their current and future awareness, influence and purchasing decisions. In Anderson’s words:

The number one problem that I have with advertisements via television, streaming services, and magazine ads is that the people portrayed as beyond their means.  A big expensive house, with high priced clothing, digital devices and cars all beyond their means. The majority of Veterans I know, in my generation, don’t live like that.  We respect realism.  You do not need to lie to us.

Refuel Military is dedicated to helping brands authentically and creatively reach the Military market through proprietary research, strategy development, media planning + buying, and data driven results. Contact Refuel Agency for proprietary Military Market Research studies on Veteran media consumption, brand loyalty, purchasing behaviors, and more.


Author:  Liz Carmo, VP Military / Refuel Agency