How MilitaryAvenue Helps Military Families and Why It is Important to Our Partners

MilitaryAvenue continuously finds new ways to help the military community. I wrote the blog below this morning after being invited to participate in a Department of Defense Roundtable for Bloggers. Some of the others invited to interview General Sharp included Stars and Stripes newspapers, Foreign Policy Magazine, etc. MilitaryAvenue's efforts to support the military community creates a positive image, brings us more followers and also more visits to your ads! You can find our Military Family blog at Our Letters to You. >>>>>

Update on Korea for Military Families - DoD Roundtable with General Walter "Skip" Sharp

The Department of Defense Roundtable hosted General Walter "Skip" Sharp this morning to answer blogger and online media questions about the current situation in Korea. General Sharp is the Commander of United States Forces Korea and he opened with his three priorities. A quick rundown of the priorities include the ability to fight and win, strengthen the alliance between the US and S Korea and improve the quality of life for military personnel and their families arriving in Korea!

My focus will be on the General's quality of life priority which has a direct impact on the military community's lifestyle and support in Korea. When the General arrived in 2008 there were 1,700 command sponsored families in country. Today there are 3,700 and by this time next year there will be 4,900. By 2016 they would like to have 6,000 families command sponsored with the final goal of 14,000.

The General stated that he does he have the budget for infrastructure improvements to support the military families due to several reasons. First, many of the outposts in Korea are being consolidated from locations of units from the end of open hostilities to more centralized locations such as Camp Humphrey and Osan Air Base. Second, the South Koreans have agreed to pay for these relocations and many of the improvements are already occurring. It will take 5-6 years to complete the build up. Housing and medical facilities are on track to meet deadlines but the General said the "long pole in the tent" was school facilities. They are working with the DODDS (Department of Defense Dependent Schools) folks to upgrade facilities and provide teachers for the families as they arrive.

As more families arrive in Korea, I asked if there were going to be command interest in military spouse employment. The General assured the Roundtable that he was personally involved in this issue and had started a spouse employment iniative a year ago. The spouses arrive with a visa that allows them to work in the Korean economy and the Korean Chamber of Commerce is working with the Command to assist with employment opportunities as well. The on post/base jobs will also provide more opportunity on the installations as they are built and open their doors! As schools have larger populations the qualified spouse teachers will receive opportunity there as well.

General Sharp provided a great forum for all of us and I certainly appreciate his time and efforts to keep the military community informed through the Roundtable process!

To listen to the 30 minute Roundtable go to DoD Live.

December Featured Military Reward


MilitaryAvenue continues to see a great out pouring of support for the military comunity! Our Veterans Day outreach was tremendous with numerous national, regional and local companies offering veterans a special on their day! We also continued to enjoy seeing all of the new ads at MilitaryAvenue! There are so many new ones and their great Military Rewards make choosing the best one a very tough job! The MilitaryAvenue team has chosen an apartment complex with a great MilitaryReward that reflects a military friendly owner and support to the military community! Thank you!

If you know of a business offering a military discount tell them about MilitaryAvenue!


This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:

Normandy Club Apartments

Their Military Reward says:

Receive your 1st month Free and $50 off each month when you sign a 12 month lease!!


Click here to view the coupon featured at Wright Patterson AFB!


A special thank you to Normandy Club Apartments and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.


We choose a Featured MilitaryReward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".


What Makes Up our Military Family?

Getting to Know Your Customer

There are more family members (57.6%) than Active Duty members (42.4%) in the DoD.


Note from MilitaryAvenue.com: This chart represents all Active Duty members. It does not take into account our retired military members as well as our National Guard and Reserve Forces.

Practical Applications:
Consider the fact that it is not only our service-members that makeup our "United States Military". The spouses & children should be considered when thinking about how to market your businesses to your local military installation.

MilitaryAvenue.com has made a niche with our Military Spouses. They hold the purse strings as their military-spouses are deployed or are TDY/TAD for an extended period of time. (TDY/TAD is similar to a business trip in civilian terms. Sometimes they are short, about a week; other times long, 30 days or more.)

We will always be thankful for our service-members and the sacrifice they give for our freedom but don't forget the family members they leave behind.

What does PCS mean to our MilitaryAvenue Partners?


Military acronyms are frequently a source of curiosity by our civilian family and friends and a source of much humor in the military community! Recently, my father, a WW2 veteran, told me of an acronym used by his pastor in a sermon that had its origin in WW2 GI slang and had become part of American culture and language. When the minister was informed of what he had just said if the acronym had been spelt out in its entirety, he was pretty surprised.

We don't want our MilitaryAvenue Partners surprised by the term PCS! While it does not contain any bad language itself, it might be considered to be the beginning of a period of bad language for many military families. A Permanent Change of Station is both a new location and new job for a military member and usually involves a long cross country trip and/or an overseas port. It also involves leaving friends and spouse jobs behind and finding new ones in the next location. We found them to be exciting times but also very challenging for the whole family for different reasons.

A PCS starts as a military personnel need that a human resource person must fill! Usually, military personnel move about every three years and they get a heads up or know that their turn is about to happen in the January time frame of a new year. They may have filled out "a dream sheet" of where they want to go and can start looking at their potential new location early in the year. They start doing research and asking questions like:

What is the climate like? What are the schools like? Is housing affordable? What do we do with our pets? Is there going to be a spouse job market? Can we find entertainment along the way for family? Visit extended family en route? Where do we find long term stay facilities when we arrive? Can we find a house before we get there? Apartment, on base housing or off base? Do we need a new car? Will we take two cars or sell one? Store it? Is it going to be a DITY move? Another acronym which means Do it Yourself and involves time and back strain. Can we use a rental truck or trailer? Realtor? Mortgage Company? Do I need to find a local bank/credit union? Child care facilities? Where do we find the answers to all these questions, learn a new job and keep the family glued together?

After answering many of these (and numerous others as well) 18 times we decided there had to be a help for military families in the Internet world! After the military orders arrive between February to April for a summer PCS (most occur in the summer) the time to dig into that new location gets serious! Many questions can be answered with some research at MilitaryAvenue (did you know that 100% of the military community have access to computer resources and 67% have made an online purchase?)! Almost all use it for research and assistance during a PCS!

So many decisions are made long distance with the Internet resources available and so our military family found hotels en route, visited that National Park or amusement park to break up the trip, moved themselves with a truck rental, found a realtor they are looking forward to meeting upon arrival, found a new vet and kennel before arrival and a couple of spouse job opportunities look very promising! The school districts look pretty good but a visit upon arrival will be needed to make a final decision-maybe that realtor can help! Arrival time is here! Found the temporary housing/long term stay location with that great Military Reward and the temporary storage unit and returned the truck! All arranged in advance but now what do I need to do locally?

When does school start? Find that house or apartment in a week? Maybe two? Closing in 6 weeks! Where are the good restaurants? Movie rentals? Personal services-need a haircut before I meet the new boss! Dry cleaners? Clothes for the new area? (ever move from Iceland to Virginia or Florida to Iceland?) New household supplies and services? How about that housing inspector? Where is the new child care? Where do I print my updated resume for that new spouse job interview?

Our Partners may not aware of the potential for the military marketplace so I found some data to show you how much money the federal government spent on military PCS actions in 2004! Ready to count zeros? The military personnel needs involved 757,595 relocations and $3,635,383,000*! That is $3.63 Billion in one year and it has historically risen about 5% per year! That is federal dollars and does not include personal funding! Many of those dollars are reimbursed to the military community for their costs for transportation, DITY moves, storage, meal reimbursement, long term stay facilities, and dislocation allowances to cover some of the individual costs involved in a PCS! So a large portion is discretionary funding for the military personnel! Where, when, how, and what is usually determined by the military personnel!

Our MilitaryAvenue Partners are critical to making a PCS a success for our military personnel and families! Thank you for your support to this hard working and Internet savvy community! MilitaryAvenue.com provides the STREET between the inside the gate community and Your outside the gate business!

- Colonel (Ret) Dale Kissinger
of MilitaryAvenue.com


Not a partner already? Become one today! http://www.militaryavenue.com/ListWithUs.aspx


* As reported by GSA at http://www.gsa.gov/

A Market that Rewards the 'Sponsors'

The kinship, camaraderie and loyalty of the military is legendary and unrivaled. As a result, it can also be a bit of a “closed club.” That’s why it pays to be a sponsor at your local military installation. Once you are, the power of word-of-mouth takes over quickly. That’s one reason why MilitaryAvenue.com traffic has grown so quickly and continues to build. It’s also why there is so much power in reaching the military on a site specifically intended for this unique audience.

A few of the key benefits of an Installation Sponsorship

Central Michigan University – Sponsor of 6 installations two years running, including the Pentagon

The perfect option for companies looking to raise awareness within a local base community, this sponsorship package is designed to fit the needs of regional firms or brands interested in a specific installation or geographic area. As a Base Sponsor your company will be integrated into MilitaryAvenue.com content dedicated to a specific installation. For an annual fee, your company will receive premiere placement as the exclusive sponsor for your selected installation. Multiple base packages are available.

This program includes:
• Exclusive Sponsor Category Banner on all pages for selected military installation, links to extensive “more information” page.
• Preferred placement in the local business directory of selected installation.
• Preferred placement in the Military Rewards directory of selected installation.
• Listing includes company logo, up to six images and a 100-character position statement.
• Top placement in directory listings.
• Sponsor summary and web link on MilitaryAvenue.com web site.
• Opportunity to include up to six additional base specific images.
• Direct link to company website.
• Logo included in “Upcoming Local Events” page of selected installation.
• Opportunities to deliver sponsor promotional materials to military community at special events and through mailings.

Your Sponsorship will allow our services to grow and further assist military families. We will work hard to make sure you are rewarded as the “Sponsor”.

Still want more information? Call our team at 616.855.4134 or send an email to dan@militaryavenue.com.


Respectfully,

Dan Kissinger
MilitaryAvenue.com
616.855.4134 - Office
616.821.6919 - Cell

post-Veterans Day: A Call to Action

Did you know there are more than just a hand-full of ways to thank a veteran? Our MilitaryAvenue team was busy brainstorming easy ways for the every-day American to thank a Veteran and we came up with quite a list! If you missed it check it out: "101 Ways to Thank a Veteran" It was featured at Army.mil, many-personal and professional blogs, a number of military-gear sites, facebook accounts, and tweeted all over twitter. People want to share how THEY can help support our US Veterans!

So now is the call to action!

25.Offer a Military Discount year round and include veterans. Don't forget a
Military Discount equals a free ad on MilitaryAvenue.com. Find out more: Why
is a Military Discount Valuable for a Marketing Strategy


Do you offer a Military Discount year round? We don't just give 'Thanks' on Thanksgiving; we do it year round. We aren't thankful for our family only on Christmas; we are year round. We aren't thankful to be a great country only on the 4th of July; we do it year round. We shouldn't give thanks to our Veterans only on Veterans Day!

If you are a MilitaryAvenue.com Partner already, THANK YOU! Please let others know how they can 'Thank our Veterans'.

If you haven't signed-up yet become a MilitaryAvenue.com Partner today. You will be proud of thanking our military-families 365 days a year!

- The MilitaryAvenue.com Team

November's Featured Military Reward


Fall is definitely here and our beautiful leaves in Michigan are now gone! During October we continued to see a rapid growth in the number of new ads at MilitaryAvenue offering a Military Reward! We enjoy seeing all of the new ads at MilitaryAvenue because they are connecting the military community with military friendly businesses that support the troops with actions! There are so many new ones and their great Military Rewards make choosing the best one a very tough job! The MilitaryAvenue team has chosen a military family owned photography business with a great MilitaryReward! If you know of a business offering a military discount tell them about MilitaryAvenue!


This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:

Bittner Photography

Their Military Reward says:

25% Discount to Military Personnel & Family. Thanks for serving our country!!!


Click here to view the coupon featured at the Pentagon, Andrews AFB and Ft Myer.


A special thank you to Bittner Photography and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.


We choose a Featured MilitaryReward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".


MAPP Tip of the Month


"Walk a mile in my shoes" is usually used to describe what you should do before you criticize someone. I would like to use it differently to describe what you should do while considering marketing to the military community!


Have you ever walked a mile in a pair of combat boots?! How about the sneakers of a young child who has a parent in Iraq/Afghanistan and fears they might not seem them again? Or the heels of a woman who goes to bed every night without her husband knowing he is flying dangerous missions and she can't fall asleep without praying for him for an hour? Or wear a husband's dress shoes while he worries about his wife in a combat zone without him nearby? How about a parent's work shoes that raised and protected a child and now that child is in combat and they can no longer protect them?

Those "shoes" reflect the military community and what they face day to day and cope quite well with I might add due to community support such as yours! Schools, military programs, the Red Cross, YMCA, etc have all leaned forward to help the military community while it is fighting the nation's wars and you as a MilitaryAvenue Partner are doing the same! Thank you so much!

Tell your story while you listen to theirs! How do you walk in their combat boots in your ad! A simple "thank you" says a lot! Take the time to make the ad tell your story of support and appreciation. Make the Business Profile and Military Reward have some pzazz! Believe me everyone likes a buck but some times recognition for a sacrifice, job well done, etc. carries a bigger kick when reviewing an ad. Update your ad with a year round MilitaryReward but if there is a special event add a special for the troops coming home, Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Week, etc.

Once you make contact with a military community member interested in your services or products; make it stick by showing appreciation for veterans, military members and their families during business hours! Train your front line sales personnel to look for an ID card at the register and tell them about the military specials and say thank you! How do you present yourself as military friendly!

Have you hired a veteran recently, a military family member or the teen age/college age kids of a deployed parent? Do it and then tell the community about it! Show how military friendly you are!

Veterans Day 2009 - What are you doing to honor our Veterans?

We are searching high and low for the businesses are taking the time to appreciate the military veteran this Veteran's Day. Not just your "Veterans Day deals" for the general public ... but the restaurant, the local merchant, the flower-shop, the home-improvement store, you name it, that wants to show their genuine appreciation for our veteran this Veterans Day 2009.




Click on our list above and revisit as we get closer November 11. We want to hear from you, too. If you know of an area military-Veteran's Day celebration place it as an event at your installation or if you know of a merchant (like yourself!) that is tipping their hat and digging into their bottom-line to honor our veterans send me an email with the details!


We look forward to hearing from you & finding out how our veteran's are being served!
- The MilitaryAvenue team
PS - How are you serving the veterans this Veterans Day? We Thank Veterans Campaign

October Featured Military Reward

The cool of Fall is here and we enjoy seeing all of the new ads at MilitaryAvenue! There are so many new ones and their great Military Rewards make choosing the best one a very tough job! As most of the country starts cooling off, indoor activities and entertainment can be a top search/choice for military members in a new community! Do you know a theatre that gives a military discount? Tell them about MilitaryAvenue!


This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:
UltraStar Cinemas Mission MarketPlace 13
431 College Blvd
Oceanside, CA


Their Military Reward says:


Click here to view coupon featured at Camp Pendleton.
A special thank you to UltraStar Cinemas Mission MarketPlace 13 and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.


We choose a Featured MilitaryReward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".

Putting Your Best Foot Forward


On the first of every month MilitaryAvenue Alerts is published to thousands of members of the military community around the country.

These are service-members and spouses, the decision makers, that are interested in the latest & most up to date military-discount and -incentive in their area, your area!

Do you keep your MilitaryAvenue ad up to date? We want to keep our military families interested in receiving Alerts and do not want to be 'grabbing their attention' with out of date ads. Therefore, the most up to date ads are listed first in the Alerts email that is sent out each month.

A great action-item to add to your electronic-calendar is a monthly-reoccurrence: "Update my ad on MilitaryAvenue". Update it the week prior to the first of the month and know that your ad will be seen first, above the 'less-then-up-to-date ads'.

Questions to ask yourself each month:

  • Has my physical-address changed?
  • Has my email changed?
  • Is my phone number up to date?
  • Does my business profile convey my professionalism and desire to meet my military-families needs? (You have 500 characters in your coupon and 1,000 characters in your Business Profile. The First Class package and higher have even more points-of-impact!)
  • With a First-Class ad or above you can have a picture. Is your photo up to date?
  • Consider having a standard Military-Discount but then adding something special for that month. Need some ideas?
We want to help you reach the military-community! Be sure to put your best foot forward for them. The first of the month will be here before you know it.

- The MilitaryAvenue.com team

PS: Do you want to receive monthly-Military Alerts also? Sign-up here: http://www.militaryavenue.com/answers/signup.aspx. (This is different then your Business Partner Account!) Be sure to select your nearest-installation when creating your user profile so that we know which 'Alerts' to send your way!

MilitaryAvenue & Supporting the Youth

Military families ... They deal with frequest moves, and in turn getting to know new communities. They also can deal with deployments or days away on missions that they (as family members) can't know details about. It isn't easy for a military family. Not only are they missing their solder, airman, marine, coastie or sailor, but they are also worried about them.

Military Family Support. It is a necessity. There are many ways the military families can find the support they need. They search for outreach programs, ways to connect. They need them. They can find it on base at their local Family Support Center or through their Youth Center. They can also find it off-base or -post. They can find the support they need through a local church, through their children's school, or at a local YMCA.

We, at MilitaryAvenue, created a category for children's support. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church Youth Groups, YMCA programs... you get the picture. All ways that children from preschool age to college can find the outreach they need as they struggle with the worries, missing mom or dad for a year at a time, or getting to know new friends in a new world for them.



Military & Family -> Youth Programs


Like our category Worship Services, a Military Discount is NOT required to create a free-ad. If you are the representative of a Youth Program and want to spread the word to the military-community simply explain how your organization is going to support the military-family. This will fulfill the requirements for the Military Discount field.

We can't wait to see your ad on MilitaryAvenue. Thank you! from thousands of US Military Families for supporting us all.


- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com, a proud Army-wife who has benefited from organizations like yours!


PS Thank you to Girl Scouts of Western Washington for being our first "Youth Activities" Partner.

My Answer to a Realtor's Question about Reaching Out to the Military Community


I recently had the following email request from a realtor in the Ft Knox, Kentucky area:

I have several builders in the area as well as clients that really want to get something going with the Ft Knox military community. What are we not doing that we should be doing?

Here is how I responded! I hope you find it helpful and it is applicable to business owners/marketing outside of real estate too!



First, what you are doing right is reaching out to the military community! Your ad at MilitaryAvenue has now been opened XXX times in the last year during a major recession!



I can give you some recommendations from my experiences with the business community while on active duty and as a Partner at MilitaryAvenue.



Are you aware of any outreach programs at Ft Knox through their Public Affairs Office? Do they have recognition programs for the soldiers you can participate in? For example, the Air Force had a quarterly program for the Outstanding Airman, NCO, Senior NCO and Junior Officer which was a breakfast. Business leaders/participants attended and offered a recognition gift as a Thank You! They announced the name of the business supporters as a Thank You to them and it paid to get your name in front of the audience. The PA office will know about this type of program if they have one similar to it.



Are you familiar with Family Morale Welfare & Recreation? They provide programs for the soldiers and families such as tours, outdoor recreation, youth sports and other venues. They have usually have a website and at Ft Knox they have a twitter account! You can keep up with events such as youth sports and other activities through twitter.com. I noticed their twitter account has a list of events. Their account is knoxmwr at twitter.com. They also will have a monthly flier with marketing/advertising available. Have you thought about sponsoring a youth soccer, basketball, etc team? I think it would be a great investment to get a group of builders together and do a sponsorship.



Speaking of Sponsor, the Base/Post Sponsor Banner ad at Ft Knox is available too! The best spot on the site for Ft Knox and it is exclusive.



Do you write? Or have someone who can for you? We really like to post articles on the site from partners with an area of expertise that is informative for the military community! We give full recognition to our writer partners with a link to their ad but ask that the article be informative versus just marketing. So maybe a builder would write about what to look for in a new house and a lender would write about using the VA loan (advantages and disadvantages for example). You could write about current market issues or any number of topics!



Do you follow MilitaryAvenue Answers? Sign up here and when a soldier or family member asks a question about Ft Knox or Real Estate it will come to your in box (only in your area of expertise or location). If you would like to provide an answer be sure to list your contact information so that others who see the Answer recognize a mil friendly realtor. What a great way to help a soldier’s family looking for information about Ft Knox, schools, communities to live in, etc.



I hope this helps and it just came off the top of my head so be sure to send any questions my way so we can help!



Sincerely,

Dale

Why is a Military Discount Valuable for a Marketing Strategy

Become a MilitaryAvenue Partner TODAY!


Occasionally I revert back to my military experiences when planning events for the family. I receive some friendly harassment from family members who are used to it and also those still adapting to the "colonel" in their lives. But my planning is part of the strategy of getting the most of life; following my principles and God; and taking time to care for those who I protect and love. So my strategy sets the tone for my planning.

What is strategy? To better help me explain why a business should offer a military discount as part of their marketing plan I did some research. Strategy is from a Greek word and basically outlines the policies of the organization to meet goals! Goals like how much in sales, revenue and profit do we need to keep our doors open? That is what I am talking about! So after establishing some policies we then need to plan to fulfill our strategy and meet our goals!

Why should I market to the military?


A marketing plan to reach the military community with your products or services means you are aiming at a young demographic of 18-34 year olds (most with families)! They are frequently deployed to many locations around the world in defense of your freedom! That would almost seem like its enough but that is a patriotic emotional appeal and does not fully explain why a discount should be part of your plan! They have significant choices of product/services to choose from and why would you not want them to help you grow?

What should I consider?


Will a discount increase my sales?
Will the increased sales meet my goals?
How much of a discount can I afford? One time? Special events? Continous?
Does my competition offer a military discount?
Where is the nearest installation? Do you know how many customers are military? Do you want to increase military sales?

What are the benefits?


Expanded market with larger military presence!
Being seen as a military friendly business is often a draw for newcomers.
Civilian population appreciates your support to the military community too!
Increased market reach through branding of your product/services with military personnel spreading the word for you!

Conclusion


The idea of developing a strategy and planning for your sales to a larger military audience can be exciting! Have you thought it through? Ready to design it? Talk to us and we can help you reach out to the military community today! List with us for free with a discount or upgrade to reach a wider audience! We use multiple social media to spread the word about your ads! Facebook, Links from Government websites, Twitter and more! We want to help the military community connect with reliable, ethical and intelligent businesses who care about their country and want to profit while supporting the deserving men and women of our armed forces and their families!


READY? CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED



PS: Thank you Penske for the great support to the military community with your services and military discount!

Military Support Organizations - get your name out there!

USOs, VFWs, American Legions, Fisher Houses & other military support organizations... Make your presence known to the military community on MilitaryAvenue!


Did you know that you too can be listed on MilitaryAvenue? Be sure to get the word out about the support you give to the military community around you. Create an ad, where you will be listed not only in the "Rewards" section around that Military Base but also in the category "Military Support" at that base.



Not only will you be listed on MilitaryAvenue ... but you will also be included in our monthly Alerts, sent directly to our military-subscribers email boxes.


What else can you do on MilitaryAvenue? List events on MilitaryAvenue around your installation. Having a special event for the military-community then let us know! We can't wait to post it for our families to get a feel for their new community.





- The MilitaryAvenue Team

September Featured Military Reward


September is here and the kids are back in school, many military folks are settling into new locations and finding new restaurants to eat at and enjoy new surroundings! Near Jacksonville Naval Air Station and Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville the sailors and other military personnel can find a restaurant with a great Military Reward discount!

This month's Featured Military Reward recognizes:

The Ortega Hurricane Grill and Wings at 5907 Roosevelt Boulevard!

Their Military Reward says:

Ortega Location Only!!! 20% off entire check with Military or GS ID. 99 cent Hurricane Lager. Gameroom, Sporting events (college and pro package). We cater.

Click here to view coupon featured at Jacksonville NAS.

A great big shout out to the Ortega Hurricane Grill and Wings and all of our MAPP Partners for supporting your Military Community with your Rewards!

Why Should Your Business Offer A Military Discount?




We choose a Featured Military Reward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".


Military Dates to Remember - Quarterly


As we strive to help connect our business partners with the military community we seek new ways to help you reach the military folks with your message. Just as the military community has gone to great lengths to be able reach any spot in the world we work hard to find new ways to help you reach out! One of our recommendations has been to stay in tune with the military community events in your local area.

To help you know when national events are about to occur I have decided to publish a quarterly listing of dates important to the military community so you can use them for marketing your message of involvement in their lives. So for September, October and November here is a list of dates you should know. If you know of others please leave a comment with your date and reason it is important.

September

11th Patriot Day


17th Constitution Day/Citizenship Day


18th US Air Force Birthday


18th (Third Friday of the Month)POW/MIA Recognition Day (Prisoner of War/Missing in Action)


The last Sunday in September is Gold Star Mother's Day in recognition of those who have lost a son or daughter in wartime.


October


13th US Navy Birthday


November

10th Marine Corps Birthday

11th Veterans Day



Thank you for the great support to your military community! Please pass on these dates to business organizations such as your chamber of commerce to insure that they are appropriately recognized! One other quick recommendation is to not just have a sale on days like Veterans Day but include a military discount or some recognition such as a small token of appreciation! Recognize those serving or who have served in some manner! Be military friendly and the word will spread rapidly!


PS: Thank you for the above image goes to Airman 1st Class Asha McMakin, US Air Force/Released.


The C-17 was the last great airplane I flew over a 30 year career and it has become a workhorse and has saved many American military lives by moving folks around instead of requiring ground convoys with their threats!

MAPP Tip of the Month



Are you aware of military community events? We recently saw a community respond to a military event that was way beyond the expected. Unfortunately it was a funeral for a young corporal killed in Afghanistan but hear me out on why its critical to have your ear to the ground and know what is going on around your nearby installations.

The community responded with an outpouring of support to the military family involved and placed thousands of flags, banners, etc up to show the support! They attended the services in mass! Literally. Almost every sign had an American Hero or Thank You for Serving comment and you could tell the community had their heart in it!

Hopefully you do not need to recognize a loss or funeral but how about a welcome home sign when its timely?? Or thank you to our service members or their families! Announce a military special in your window/store front! What are you doing to help them know you are military friendly? You can't tell them unless you know what is going on? Subscribe to the base newspaper and read it, follow the Installation Public Affairs office on Twitter, Facebook, their Website, etc.

MilitaryAvenue has some ideas for your ads and Rewards that could help your ad expand its market reach too! Take advantage of our expertise and knowledge of the American Military Community to reach them with your business' services or products!

PS: Remember that great outpouring of community support? One business on the procession route did not recognize our fallen hero but left their sale sign up during the funeral and procession. Either they were not aware (that would have been hard), or they did not elect to participate. Of course, I now elect to not step into their business due to their lack of support! Don't get caught like that! Conversely, when I saw a local business owner at the military funeral, I greeted him and will be back to his business again and again!

MilitaryAvenue Stimulus Package is Coming


MilitaryAvenue Partners! Watch your In Boxes next week for an announcement about a new stimulus package! We are going to offer our own stimulus package to help expand your marketing reach to the military community!

More next week!

PAIR Day at Ft Leavenworth


MilitaryAvenue just had a very exciting weekend attending a special event at Ft Leavenworth, Kansas hosted by the US Army's Family Morale Welfare Recreation. The Post Activities Information and Registration (PAIR) Day was held on Saturday.

It provided a great opportunity for us to spread the word about our wonderful patriotic business partners and share information with the large Army population and other service members stationed at Ft Leavenworth. The best part of this opportunity is that many of the military family participants are there for schools varying in length from 4-8 months and will be moving to your neighborhood soon! So we shared information about us and you at the same time to a very mobile commuity looking for your services and products in the near future!

Our booth featured easy to take business cards, small brochures and media kits about MilitaryAvenue and we had the biggest banner in the building for the 3,000+ military personnel who visited us. The MilitaryAvenue installation sponsor at Ft Leavenworth, Central Michigan University was in attendance and had a booth as well. We had a MilitaryAvenue Partner, Main Street Pet Resort and Day Spa right next to us and they provided extraordinaire support--Thank You Susan! We shared carnations with military spouses and smiling little girls from Platte City Flower and Gift Shoppe and had several drawings for gifts as well!

Shields Manor Bistro donated two wonderful giveaways, a large Magnum of Champagne and a coupon for $100 for a special night out for a military couple too! We had a sensational dinner at this fine dining restaurant with a wonderful ambiance and tremendous food and could recommend it to anyone! It is a best kept secret of Platte City! Thank you Dede and Max! DejaVu Salon & Day Spa donated salon products for a third drawing as well! We had MilitaryReward coupons from Goin Postal and Cooper's Creations that we shared with participants too!

USAA supported us with two iPods that we are giving with our monthly drawing for August for the new military signups at Ft Leavenworth as well!

We had fun, it told our story to a large military family audience and we shared our trademark plastic army men with a bunch of fun kids and laughing moms and dads! Do you have a military fair near you? Call the installation's Morale Welfare and Recreation folks and ask them for ideas. Maybe you could help start something new! Let us know of other events that you participate in for opportunities too!

A Magical Experience

I vaguely remember my college business 101 classes. It has been a few years after all, but certain bits and pieces have stuck with me. I DO remember studying Walt Disney and his 'magical' Disney World in Marketing 101; how the employees (ahem, Cast Members) were treated, how life was to feel transformed as you entered into a different world. How customers were guests.

I experienced Disney World first hand with my family as we took a much needed vacation, since my husband's return from Iraq. I was totally transformed into a six year old as we walked into the park on that first day. Disney World did things from putting bubble makers in the garbage cans at the beginning of the day (imagine bubbles floating all over the streets as you start your day), to parades with a wonderful sound systems two or three times a day, there was NO escaping the magic of Disney. Even the wonderfully, friendly custodial staff spread the feeling of belonging in the moment.

A couple of other more subtle things happened for us. As a military family we appreciated the effort that Disney has made to welcome us. Not through only the major, like their Armed Forces Salute Program (MAJOR Discount) and Shades of Green Resort (MAJORly nice accommodations), but the minor. The minor: It was HOT in Disney and we had stopped for lunch at small restaurant outside of 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. My husband was wearing a "National Guard" T-Shirt and the gal that served up our food asked him if he was in the Guard. Paul responded yes and she said "Thank you for your service." Then she upgraded our small-bottles of water (that came with the kids' meals) to large adult size bottles and gave us free dessert. It was minor, but felt major to be thanked.

What do you do that is *MAGICAL* for your military-families? Don't forget the minor details as you welcome your new & faithful military customers.


- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

August Featured Military Reward


August brings summer to a close for many military families who have relocated (PCS'd) and the routine of school and fall events rapidly approaches! This Reward is for all the military personnel at Ft Leavenworth, KS and Whiteman AFB, MO! In particular, those new to both installations including personnel attending school at the Army Command and Staff College. Many military personnel are unfamiliar with their area and looking for entertainment and local highlights to visit and this looks like a great one with a big thank you to our men and women in the armed services and their families.

This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:

AMERICAN HEARTLAND THEATRE

Their Military Reward says:

Come enjoy a live comedy, musical, or drama performance at AHT in Crown Center! ALL TICKETS ONLY $12.50 FOR GROUPS OF 5 OR MORE! (That's a savings of up to $17.50 per ticket!) Call or email group sales now to reserve seats! Must ask for the "Military Rate" when ordering. Go to www.ahtkc for show information and schedule. Free parking. Crown Center offers lots of shopping & dining choices. Footsteps away from Union Station.

Click here to view coupon featured at Ft Leavenworth and Whiteman AFB.

A great big shout out to American Heartland Theatre and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.

Why Should Your Business Offer A Military Discount?

We choose a Featured Military Reward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".




"Area Tourism" is Our Newest Category

We are always looking for new ideas to help the military community as they relocate, travel, seek new information about their area and find ways to reach out using online resources! So we were quite excited when the idea of an Area Tourism category was suggested.

We decided to create this category to fill this need for Tourism Offices, Convention Bureaus, Chamber of Commerce or other organizations to reach out to the military community.

See our first ad in Area Tourism that was placed at Ft Campbell and Ft Knox by Vevay/Switzerland County! It is a great ad and provides great coverage for all area businesses (many of whom have their own individual ads in their categories providing a great synergism)!

Does your area have an organization that handles tourism? If so, let the military know about your great resources, rest and relaxation opportunities, area highlights, tourist sites, etc through an ad at MilitaryAvenue in our newest category! Remind them how often the military relocate and how transitioning in a new community can be stressful!

Helping a military family find resources is the least we can do for those who serve us all so well! Thank you from the MilitaryAvenue team!

July Featured Military Reward

The heat of summer is here and our pets need to be groomed to help make it easier for them. Here is a great military family owned company that will come to you in the Panhandle of Florida!

This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:

ZOOM GROOM Mobile Pet Spa


Their Military Reward says:




We give a ten percent discount to all active, reserve, Guard, retired military and family members. Present this coupon for a free bag of Boggy Dog Bakery Gourmet Dog Treats at your pet's first grooming appointment. Limit one bag per family. Discount not available on "The Basics" grooming package.




Click here to view coupon featured at: Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field or Duke Field.


A special thank you to Zoom Groom Mobile Pet Spa and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.



We choose a Featured MilitaryReward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".

MAPP Tip of the Month


I spend a large part of my day reviewing your ads at MilitaryAvenue! Our new MAPP partners increase every day, some wisely update their ads, others place additional ads after their first (we allow three free ads within 100 miles) and some upgrade to get better visibility! While reviewing these ads I see how frequently ads are being opened by our viewers with our Tracking System.

I try to decipher why some ads are being visited (clicked on) more frequently than others. I have not done a scientific study but here are some ideas from my gut! I may have to do the scientific study someday when time and resources allow.

First, the ads opened most frequently are what the consumer needs. The ads speak to the military community with their service/product. This is a tough economic time but the military community is still relocating and looking for you in their new community! Wonder how long settling in takes? More than a year for this family who relocated 18 times and we were pretty good at it! Catch them before they get there or at the front door!

Second, the Military Reward is seen as military friendly! I have written about this before but I can't say it enough. The discount does not have to be large to be appealing but how you say it needs to be large! Thank them for their service to this great country! Remember we are at war and many have deployments in the future, are deployed or just returned. Note: A military family can tell when you do the minimum to get a free ad.

Third, tell them about yourself in the ad! There is a lot of room in the business profile, professional credentials, etc. that allow you to explain who you are. Remember, they don't know you from Adam! They are frequently new in the community--looking for a friendly face, product, service and you have a chance to tell them about you! Sometimes once is all you get! Putting your best foot forward is the old cliche! If you have a section for additional information with a paid ad, use it! Same with the images! They speak to someone about your business! Send them a message--friendly, welcoming, comfortable, etc!

Fourth, network with the military community and your fellow business friends! Tell other military friendly businesses about MilitaryAvenue and increase the number of ads at your installation. The more popular the installation, the more views, visits you get! Willing to take the lead at an installation? We provide a discount coupon for paid ads for multiple sign ups! Contact me at dale@militaryavenue.com for more information.

Finally, keep your ad up and current! I know we are all busy but 5 minutes a month to Log In and review your ads currency, edit and update! Also, you can check on the visits and see how you are doing with the Tracking System! Maybe the ad needs tweeking to bring more viewers to your business?

One last comment for you! The kiss of death for an ad is one that is built and walked away from for a year till renewal! Stay involved! Sign up for Answers (help the military community by answering a question about your area); Twitter with military personnel. Many military offices/units now have twitter accounts and we are starting to post them on the site. Have a great summer!

June Featured Military Reward

Are you a member of a group such as the Chamber of Commerce, a Mall, or Neighborhood Association? Want to start your own military friendly organization in your town like several businesses near Ft Leavenworth have done? The winner of the Featured Military Reward this month is a Mall with several businesses offering a Reward for military service! This could spur others to do the same!



This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:

Liberty Village Premium Outlets


Their Military Reward says:

Military personnel and dependents who show current military ID at the Info Center will receive a FREE VIP Coupon Book with hundreds of dollars in savings offers (reg $5) redeemable at participating stores. Individual stores offering military (with ID) discounts* include Bass, Designer Fragrances & Cosmetic Co. - LancĂ´me, Izod, Jockey, L’eggs Hanes Bali Playtex, Nautica, Nike Factory Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen and Zales Outlet. *See store for details. Restrictions and terms apply.




A special thank you to Liberty Village Premium Outlets and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.


We choose a Featured MilitaryReward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".

New Posts ~new opportunites~ on MilitaryAvenue.com

We have recently added two more installations to MilitaryAvenue.com at the request of our users, our military family!

I just signed up. (for Military Alerts) It is a great site! I sent a message asking to add Camp Shelby as one of the institutions. - MP Wife


It is exciting when we get feedback from our military members and their spouses. Daily we find out what they want on the site, what they haven't been able to find anywhere else, what is missing, what we can improve, what they *love*.

So for the moment we have two 'stubs', Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, near Hattiesburg, Mississippi as well as Broken Arrow Armed Forces Reserve Center, near Tulsa, Oklahoma. Do you have colleagues in this area? Let them know!

They can be the first to offer a Military Reward in their area on MilitaryAvenue; and for that I am sure they will thank you! These two installations won't be stubs for long. Before we know it they will be full-fledged, jam-packed with information installations!

The more military-discounts we offer in an area the more military-families we draw. The more families we have using MilitaryAvenue the more exposure your own ad gets! It can't get much better than that. So send a shout-out to the area-businesses you know; help us spread the word!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Who holds the purse strings of a military family?

By Deborah Kissinger

Not all Military Spouses carry a purse, but they do hold the purse strings!

Statistics show that the majority of today's military members are young, educated, computer savvy and married. These are your neighbors! These are your customers and clients.

Military spouses, like their active duty counterparts, must learn to adapt and operate in new environments. Environments that may change every two to three years.

The news is full of stories about the continual deployment and regular overseas tours that are part of the military lifestyle. The spouse is the family member that is left in charge to handle the needs of the family as they occur with purse strings in hand.

A 2005 report, published by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense focused in on Military Spouses. There are 679,738 spouses of Active Duty members. Just over half (51.2%) of the spouses are 30 years of age or younger. Nearly 30 percent (29.4%) of the spouses are over the age of 35.

Not content to just take a stab at what is best, today's military families do their homework and are expert Internet researchers. Because of your participation, MilitaryAvenue.com has grown to become a trusted online resource and an excellent place to showcase your enterprise.

The sheer numbers of Military Spouses are astounding. This is an audience with members that shop and participate in your neighborhood. For the most part, this is a new and mobile society. One that does not have the comfort of shopping at the same place year after year, because all too often every few years are marked by household set ups in different states or even hemispheres.

As a military spouse for many years, I can say from experience that some of my best commercial relationships, were built with those who warmly welcomed us in the first few weeks of our relocation.

You would be surprised at the things that made a difference. Often times it was something small, like a warm smile, a helpful attitude, or hearty hello, that drew us in initially.

This summer season, keep an eye out for new faces headed your way. Each one is a new opportunity to be at your personal best.

Thank you for serving those who serve!



**A 2005 report, published by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, under contract with Caliber, an ICF International Company.

Tips: MAPP Tip of the Month


Images! Don't they send a message? We see a million a day and some stick to us like velcro! This restaurant's message caught our attention as we drove by during a weekend trip. If we are ever back in the area and need to stop for a meal I know they will be our choice. Why? Their message was clear and they reached out to say thank you to veterans.

How do you send your message to the military community nearby? Do you recognize them? Thank them? Does your message resonate with their needs? I am so impressed with one of our Partners who reaches out to her military audience and knows how to as well! Susan of Main Street Pet Resort and Day Spa in Platte City, Missouri knows the Ft Leavenworth military community. She participates in installation events and sends us "Event" information to help new military families find their way around. She is also a business leader and helps coordinate other business owners' efforts to support the post nearby!

It can be as simple as a sign like above, a military discount/Reward or a friendly smile/handshake. The message you send should be clear: You appreciate their service to your country and their business as well!

Have you seen other images of military appreciation? Send them to us so we can share with others!

Tips: MAPP Partners--Thinking!


Keep up with Your Marketing (and see what others are doing as well)

Are you aware of new business trends? Had some coffee/tea and ready to stimulate your marketing approach? Who is your competition? What is new? When is the best time to offer a sale to the military community? What did my marketing due to for sales this month? All questions for a savvy business person to stay on top of and aware that change is inevitable!

We strongly recommend that you maintain awareness of the military community's needs and the cycle of business opportunities with them. How do you monitor your ad(s) to meet these changes? One method is to Sign Up for Our Monthly Alerts! Alerts are emails sent directly to the Inbox of military members at your nearby installation once a month announcing MilitaryRewards (yours included)! I repeat: Directly to their Inbox! A great marketing tool and you should be on top of it!

Sign up for Alerts so you can:

See your Reward as it is seen by the military community!

Update if necessary!

Review other local ads for ideas/trends!

Know who your competitors are!


Memorial Day is May 25th, 2009

I began this blog with an image search and that brought tears to my eyes. I found one image of a young woman laying on a grave at Arlington National Cemetery grieving for her lost fiance killed defending his country. There are many other images and stories of countless others, too. I could not show that particular image as I felt it would somehow violate the trust and relationship that was demonstrated by her grief.

Business blogs are not normally emotion filled but on this Memorial Day what are you doing to recognize those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect you and your family? Show the military community that you care; participate in the event by more than opening your doors for sales, etc. Products and services are critical to your success--I get it! But on this Memorial Day, remember those who made it possible to enjoy the freedoms we have-- get it?

How to Get Involved in Your Military Community and Increase Sales


Businesses need to market their product and/or services to increase sales and develop customer loyalty. Do you have a large military customer population nearby? How far away is the nearest post, base, camp, station, etc. Do you know the demographics? How can you reach them? One great idea is to participate in special events at the installations when an opportunity is there.

We recently participated in a special "Field Exercise Priceless Packages" at Ft Sill, OK where we saw a large turnout of businesses targeting military spouses of deployed or soon to be deployed soldiers. The businesses that attended the event recognized the audience and were prepared to tell their story and message. Some provided door prizes for the audience, others sent small packages to be placed in the gift bags presented to each attendee; major corporations such as USAA sponsored the event. Each knew that the audience was theirs to target.

But one of the best marketing efforts that we saw was About Face and Body Therapy Spa who sent representatives to give a short chair massage while attendees waited for dinner and during breaks in the presentation! They had a beautiful display, took the opportunity and provided an outreach that will increase sales. The next Field Exercise will be at Ft Bliss near El Paso, TX in June. Take the opportunity to participate if you want to reach the military audience at that post.

There are many ways to assist military families such as simply recognizing them for their service. Can you empathize with your military audience? Many have had multiple year long deployments--quite a sacrifice and a smile and a small gift could gain you a lifetime customer!

Gather information about your military community through military newspapers, participating in Chamber of Commerce military committees, military blogs, the installation public affairs office and social media such as twitter (a great to stay in tune at http://twitter.com/militaryavenue). Best wishes on a successful military sales campaign through involvement in Your Military Community!

Military Spouse Appreciation

Friday, May 8th, 2009, is National Military Spouse Appreciation Day. "The first Military Spouse Day was first celebrated in 1984 when then-President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the observance to honor the contributions of military spouses. The military now sets aside the Friday before Mother's Day each year to pay tribute to the spouses who play a vital role in the nation's defense." (http://www.army.mil/spouse/)

So what have you planned to honor the spouses in your community? It is not too late.

Simple ideas but a moment to say Thanks


If you see the flash of their ID as they make a transaction be sure to thank them!


Perhaps set out a bowl of chocolates with a little note of thanks for any military-spouses that walk through your doors.


Of course they give so much more but just an acknowledgement that they are appreciated can put a smile on their face.


Another idea: You could put a sign on your store-front: "If you are a military spouse come in for a free rose." Have a supply of roses on hand. Don't expect them to buy. Don't make it a sales-pitch opportunity. Just a simple chance to say Thank you.


Place a sign outside of your door: "Military Spouses are the Heart of the Military" Offer a significant discount on their purchase for the day.


Do you have a surplus of stock? Extra bottles of lotion? Extra home decorations? Seed packets? Whatever it may be that you are in the business of selling. Perhaps you can give something to each military-spouse that walks in the door that day, or weekend. It will clear some of your extra stock and can be a nice little gift.



I am a military-spouse. I just endured the longest year of my life. A deployment in Iraq left me at home as a single-mom with three growing boys. I missed the love-of-my-life. I handled things at home on my own. But with strength I became stronger! I know there are other spouses out there that want to hear 'Thank You' for keeping the embers at home lit!



- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

May Featured MilitaryReward


Summer is quickly approaching so this ad at Ft Carson brought a lot of sympathy votes for hot temperatures, family times and ice cream!



This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:


Cold Stone Creamery

Their Military Reward says:

Come see us for Military Mondays! Receive 15% off with your Military ID (Mondays Only)



Click here to view coupon featured at Ft Carson!

A special thank you to Cold Stone Creamery and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.


We choose a Featured MilitaryReward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".

Ft Sill, Altus AFB & Sheppard AFB Partners: Spouse Field Exercise coming your way!



Crooks & Henderson are coming to Fort Sill, Oklahoma! A wonderful evening of spouse pampering, tips for deployment, and a night out for well-deserved spouses of deployed-military members.
April 23 or April 24, 2009
A Seminar For Military Spouses
· Themed Care Package Ideas
· Deployment Survival Tips & Resources
· Networking
· Giveaways
· Fabulous Gift Bags
· Complimentary Meal, Dessert, & More

As a MilitaryAvenue Partner how does this affect you? MilitaryAvenue is a proud sponsor of this event and we will be in attendance! If you are a partner at Fort Sill, Sheppard AFB or Altus AFB we are going to *print* your reward and hand it to the spouses at the event.

UPDATE YOUR REWARDS AND BUSINESS PROFILE!

The spouses hold the purse-strings... especially during a military deployment. They are making the decisions where to shop, what to eat, how to plan their budget. And they are going to be looking at your Military Reward. You want to put your best face-forward!

Want to know exactly what we will be bringing to share with our spouses? Click the links to see the Military Alerts for each base:

We are sending the above Alerts to the print-shop next week (April 14th) so update your ads now.

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

PS: Know a military-spouse in the area? Send them to Army Wife Network to register for this wonderful event!

The Social Media Really Does Work

MilitaryAvenue really is the street to connect the military community and your business.

Leanne had written an earlier Social Media blog and I wanted to share an example of exactly how they can be used to connect your business with the military community! A great story for a Friday afternoon during a busy week!

This sale opportunity started with a question in Answers on MilitaryAvenue.com from a military family relocating to the D.C. area at Bolling AFB. If you are not familiar with the area it can be very intimidating and the spouse asked several questions and one in particular caught my eye. They were in need of some reasonably priced furniture and asked how to find it in the new area on Answers.

I had a follower on Twitter from CORT Furniture and recognized that they had stores in that area. So I asked Tom Allen on Twitter to respond to the question and help them out! Tom saw a great opportunity to help a military family settling into his area! A new customer from the social media! You can see Tom's response to the question posed on Answers . He used the opportunity to assist the family, provided information that they had requested and told them how to contact the nearby furniture store. He also mentioned CORT Furniture's MilitaryReward of 15% off so that other readers could see his offer too!

Want to share with us on Twitter and Answers? Follow MilAve_Col_K and MilitaryAvenue on Twitter! Want to help Answer military questions in your area? Sign up as an Expert and respond to their questions just like Tom did!

Thank you for your great support to the military community!
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