Almost 2 years ago I launched Army Wife 101 with the idea in mind to document my journey through a deployment. Shortly thereafter my blog took off and I started to receive emails often asking me to try out products and in alot of cases hold giveaways. I did this without question because what could be better then trying out a product for free ,writing your opinion on it and then being able to give one to my readers?
Fast forward to the present and I have indulged myself into the world of social media and working more with brands, even managing to throw Twitter parties and doing some consulting work. I have learned alot and that I don’t have to take every offer thrown my way. I’ve learned that I should speak up if a product or pitch does not fit my niche.
That is why I am speaking up today to brands and PR people because I think it is time you know that you are overlooking a very valuable and powerful buying force known as the “Military Spouse”. “How is that” you ask?
Did you know that the military community in most cases dominates the retail market in any town or city a major military installation is located in?
Take for instance Fort Bragg ( the 2nd largest Army post in the US) , located in Fayetteville NC. A town where 85% of the population is military. A town that consists of Super Walmarts, Target, Best Buy, Toys R US, several grocery chains, restaurants and to top it off commissaries and AAFES Post Exchanges (PX). In addition to those you have a major mall with many top stores along with several shopping centers. At any given time when you enter any establishment in Fayetteville you are guaranteed to be surrounded by military and or their families.
One spouse Tonja Dreke got it right when she stated ” we have maintained buying power in an economy that has left many without any disposable income”.
According to Marine Corps Times “Federal figures showed seven of the country’s top 10_ metro areas for greatest growth in personal incomes were powered by military paychecks”. Fayetteville’s rising incomes were fueled by combat pay for troops from Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base serving in war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
According to Life Fayetteville, N.C., home to the Army’s Fort Bragg, saw its personal income rise by 6.6 percent.
So why I ask is it that brands seem to shy away from what could be some of their most valuable buying power? I constantly sift through some of social media’s top mom bloggers and see the flow of Twitter parties for every brand imaginable or people who have no knowlege or understanding of the military sector working with brands catering to this particular market…This makes me scratch my head?
Here you have millions of spouses and families who move every 2-3 years, have frequent baby booms to the point where the PX and Commissaries run out of pregnancy test, purchase new vehicles frequently, have their own commissaries and PX which carry most major brands to shop at (hello perfect people to market to) travel often, fly often, live worldwide, and many of whom have no choice but to shop online because they are overseas. Yet and still getting a major brand to do some campaigns including a military spouse blogger or geared towards military is like pulling teeth.
Take for instance GM/CHEVY they have great rebates for military which means we have more of a reason to purchase from them but for some reason I have yet to see a military blogger (who actually has a dominant military audience) review any of their cars in any of the blogger program they have done.
A certain show is one of the most watched in the history of a certain network, yet their mom panel (correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think I am ) has no one catering to that specific niche.
To those who say social media is about building relationships and we shouldn’t be jealous of each other, I say I’m supportive of my mom blogger community and wholeheartedly believe in building relationships. At the same time let’s be real enough to know that at the end of the day brands working with bloggers and letting us do products reviews and be part of mass online campaigns is all part of marketing with the hopes of selling more products. With that in mind I would hope they would seek out all niches simply because not everyone can identify with the big name bloggers you see so frequently.
So I say to brands I would love to see a focus on including military spouse bloggers in future outreach work. I admit I am not the typical mom blogger who goes to every conference, or has 2 million twitter followers, but I am averaging over 40K+ page views a month and have over 11,000 Facebook Fans and in this particular niche I am considered one of the top. Please stop looking at blogs some of which have no content value and focus on those who have a constant use and need for your products!
P.S. Compete.com stats are not always correct, please don’t use those to look at my stats :)
Part of A Powerful Buying Force
Powered by Facebook Comments
AMEN! Military holds alot of buying power. When we were stationed in Fort hood we realized if there wasnt a military post there the town probably wouldnt be there thats how much buying power we have.
You got that right. I used to live in Lumberton, NC (before I married my Air Force Man). I can remember driving the 35 miles to Fayetteville for all kinds of things because they had the better stores. I couldn’t walk into the mall without bumping into a military member or spouse. The stores there don’t really do much for military except the occasional discount. LOL. No Cheyenne, Wy (where we are stationed) this place wouldn’t exist without the military. Ok they might but it would be about 1/10th the size it is now. If only they would figure out that the military spouses spend money in town when the husband’s are out in the field and start offering us incentitives to leave the base.
We’ve been to Columbus, GA (home of Ft. Benning) and now San Antonio, TX (home of Ft, Sam Houston & 2 other AF bases). San Antonio is much more accommodating towards the military, there’s a reason it’s called Military City USA! I am wondering though, what else can retailers & service providers do besides offer discounts?
Thanks for stopping by!
The post is more speaking from a social media standpoint and working with brands. Speaking totally from a bloggers view :)
I have a product review site that does very well financially and numbers-wise, and I’ve advised certain partners of just this fact.
As to a “certain show”, if it is the one of which I am thinking–I’m not one of their editors but I am an affiliate and did teaser about the finale before it aired, which was posted on my site and their own.
One of their editors is also a former MilSpouse…and possibly others are current, though I do not know.
I believe they are very aware of the power of this community…it just takes time for big companies to move on certain things.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Yeah I did the teaser too, but it’s great to hear that most likely they are aware. I know their alot of digital mom affiliates, I would like to see one on their blogger panel as well, but I never say never and I hope I am wrong and that we will see one soon.
Thanks for weighing in , your opinion is definitely valuable here.
I love your site by the way :)
Very Very Very true… bwahahahaha many towns would be dead without the income flowing in from the military influences…
So true, Krystel. I was just thrown a bone by a large military banking and insurances company where we are ourselves longtime customers. I don’t have much to show in terms of views, but please DON’T disrespect me, please!
We are stationed at Bragg and it’s insane here! Sooooo many people. We are expected to get my soldiers here shortly, about 20,000 or so….If you think Skibo is bad now, just wait…. :) :)
Hi Krystel my online chocolate,cookie and candy shop might interest all military families for any occassion.Its unique because you download your favorite photo,logo or message on your favorite treat.Check out my website and my business site which will show how the products are made and some of our famous customers http://www.delicada.com/biz2/willh thank you and please give me your feedback its greatly appreciated.