Marketing Your New And Used Car Dealership To Military Veterans

Veterans at ceremony

In our article titled How To Market Your New or Used Car Dealership To Active Duty Military, we discussed how to market your dealership to active duty military personnel. But what about the twenty million non-retiree veterans? Eighty-five percent of non-retiree military veterans are in their prime car-buying years of 25-54. What can you do to reach out to this segment of the population? 

Why Market to Military Members

Over 250,000 military members transition back to civilian life each year. These veterans need everything from employment to housing to transportation.

Veterans Buying Statistics

  • 20M veterans (non-retiree)
  • 3.1M post 9/11 Veterans
  • 85% are ages 25-54
  • 2.2M retirees
  • Spending power = $939 billion

Younger vs. Older Veterans

Similar to the contrast in age groups among the civilian population, there is a difference between the younger, 18-34 millennial veterans and their 35+ veteran counterparts, especially with social media and web usage patterns.  

Millennial veterans continue to consume traditional media like radio and print but tend to favor digital, social, and streaming media channels. Millennial veterans continue to engage in military-specific content in a variety of ways, even after their service has completed.  

Almost half of the military veterans frequently visit military-specific websites, and they do so at a rate that is three times higher than veterans who are 35 years or older. With print marketing, half of younger veterans are heavy readers of military-related magazines, and they tend to be much more likely to read these publications than older veterans.

There are three Military-specific websites that do allow for digital ads placement.

Stay in Touch

The best way to encourage veterans to become customers could come through direct mail or in-store promotions, and the messages will resonate better if the messaging appeals to the service to their country. Keep in touch with your military veteran customers by collecting their email addresses and adding them to a veterans-only contact list. Remind them regularly that you offer a military discount even for veterans, and be sure to give them a heads up about any exclusive sales or promotions you’re running for holidays like Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

You can collect email addresses through any of your dealership online opt-in mechanisms, and consider adding a checkbox asking if they are active duty or a veteran, or spouses of active duty or veterans. With your proximity to the base, it won’t look out of place to a civilian on your opt-in form. You may even consider running a periodic special contest or sweepstakes just for service members and their families. Participants provide their email addresses to enter.

Educational resources for understanding the military audience

If you are looking to learn more about how to reach an audience of veterans, several websites cater to serving the needs of veterans after they have finished their service. Here is a partial list:

Consider Employing Veterans

Since your dealership is located near a military installation, consider hiring veterans, especially in your sales roles. This is especially true for “newly minted” veterans, as they will be more in touch with life as an active duty military than someone who has been out twenty years or more. Things change in the military, especially during times of conflict. Combat veterans will be better at relating to soldiers, and vice versa.

Veteran employees also know the Army terminology, ranks, and titles. A veteran sales manager is more likely to attend important deployment ceremonies.

Many of the big box stores like Home Depot offer a standing military discount as do the manufacturers. But aside from Veterans Day and Memorial Day, few businesses consider creating Active Duty or Veterans-only marketing campaigns. Work with your agency, or with your veteran employees to craft year-long marketing campaigns that are innovative, and speak to your veteran community.