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.


Dan Kissinger
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!
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Helpful Information for our Partners and Small Business Owners as seen on Pinterest