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
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