© 2016. Military Out-Of-Home, Oak Hill, NY
To quote Wikipedia, military bases “can range from small outposts to military cities containing up to 100,000 people.” Regardless of the population count, I like to think of them more as “towns.” As with all towns, there are places for work, recreation and family.
We all know that bases or installations will have a command center for essential military purposes where the senior management organization is focused on carrying out a specific, military mission, e.g., air superiority, ground combat excellence, intelligence, special operations, warfare training, specific skills training, weapons development, logistics, military communications, medicine, etc. More than mission though, with an all-volunteer armed forces for about 40 years, the Department of Defense has to maintain morale and quality of life to attract new recruits and retain the personnel it has invested in training so heavily.
Most people would be surprised to know that not everyone can qualify to join today’s military. In many ways, service members represent the crème de la crème of America’s well-rounded youth. To gain admission, new recruits pass a physical fitness test, score high enough on a basic IQ test, and come up clean on a criminal background check. Think of it this way, everyone who goes into the military could probably get into college, but not everyone who goes to college could get into the military. So the key to military recruiting and retention is providing opportunity, significant assistance for family life, as well as support for recreational activities on par with what civilians enjoy.
There is a support tier that meets basic needs with on-base housing, clubs, fast food restaurants and food courts, gas stations, religious chapels, snack bars, convenience stores, supermarkets, hair salons, schools, dental and health clinics, laundromats, etc. Services at these locations are affordable on military pay and benefits, which means they must be discounted as compared to what civilians pay for these services.
And beyond these necessities there is another y effective level of support at a wide variety of facilities such as fitness centers, pools, libraries, child development centers, youth centers, golf courses (more than 75 of them with at least 18-holes), auto skills/hobby centers, outdoor recreational centers (e.g., athletic fields, campgrounds, RV parks, etc.), arts and crafts centers, bowling centers, full service travel agencies, shooting ranges, stables, marinas, on-base lodging, and even automotive vehicle resale lots. Some bases even have their own schools, and if not, they will provide guidance for parents through the local school district.
So they really are self-contained towns meeting most of the needs necessary for a well-balanced, daily life. These facilities are central to the life of the service personnel, their families, retirees and civilian workers when on base. Many of these venues offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities, and with the right strategic insights and targeting knowledge, can be harnessed to generate effective marketing initiatives to build brands and efficient media buys that can build revenues for advertisers who wish to tap into this community with $200 Billion in spending power.
Remember, no base is exactly like another. The smallest is just “two Sailors and a boat,” while the largest have tens of thousands of troops and are bigger than the state of Rhode Island…really. Advertising venues vary by geography and climate, by command mandate, and often by mission. Don’t expect a marina at Altus AFB in Oklahoma, or an outdoor pool at JB Richardson-Elmendorf in Alaska. Boot camps are different than training bases, which are different than permanent duty stations. Some bases specialize in deployment. Others house lots of military families with kids, while others house mostly single service members. Some are very white collar and some are very blue collar in terms of the jobs that the majority of people in service at that base do on a daily basis.
So you want to make sure you are working with a resource that truly knows the market and has a granular understanding of the opportunities.
© 2016. Military Out-Of-Home, Oak Hill, NY