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Intern BlogOff: Marketing to the Military (Pro)

The House bill to limit marketing to the military is a good safeguard from unfair products or services, but the notion of marketing to a captive audience shouldn’t be discounted. Some may argue that such direct marketing — soldiers and officers are a captive audience in some ways — is unfair. Why? It’s a good practice to speak directly to your target group or demographic. That’s a basic precept of advertising, sales, and marketing.

In fact, when a product is customized for a particular group, they benefit. Those consumers are getting something tailored to their needs. The life of a soldier is very different than a civilian. They may want stronger over-the-counter pain medication. Members of the military living overseas may want more durable books or products with strong packaging for their travels. Perhaps they’re more domestic while living on the military base, but aren’t there 100% of the time.

The same applies to other target groups. Some schools have cafeterias with McDonald’s food or Snapple drinks. I wish I had that when I was in school. There are hospitals in similar situations. This targeted marketing and business partnership provides something familiar for patients — and something convenient for visitors. If parents don’t want their children eating fas tfood at school, they should pack a lunch. And hospital visitors can choose to avoid the hospital’s restaurant by eating before or after their visit.

What it comes down to is offering customers choices. Those who dislike something can avoid it. If you are a soldier in the American military, you can happily purchase a product or service tailored to your lifestyle, or you can happily ignore it and get a standard, average, mass-market good from outside the base.

You are the buyer; you have the purchasing power. Use it.

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