(Image Source: RallyPoint)
Where can your marketing messages get as many as 90,000 views for free among an audience that’s wealthier, better educated, and more loyal than the average consumer?
The answer is RallyPoint, the world’s largest military social network. We sat down with Nick Petros, RallyPoint’s vice president of marketing, and Dan Petrosssi, vice president of sales, to discuss audience insight and approaches that work best for marketers on their platform.
How does RallyPoint help military service members?
Nick: I think there’s two ways that RallyPoint helps. First and foremost, it’s about sharing information. While the military does a phenomenal job of building leaders, it’s very difficult to transfer information between them. Now service members can log on and connect with hundreds of other people who have done their exact job before.
The other big way is that when veterans get out of the military, it’s very difficult to communicate how valuable they are — you wouldn’t guess that someone had overseen millions of dollars of equipment at age 19 but on RallyPoint, you wear your rank, and people immediately recognize you for your accomplishments.
Dan: RallyPoint was built specifically to protect its members. Initially, service member information is set to private by default. It’s visible only to direct contacts. However, once verified, service members and veterans are able to see everyone’s information, and that ties back to ID.me– they help us authenticate that people who state that they’re military are who they say they are.
What about for brands?
Dan: We’re connecting great companies with the most valuable consumer population in the U.S. Because [service] members fill out a profile and add their military background and civilian experience when they join RallyPoint, companies can advertise and recruit across it in a very targeted way.
Our members are getting targeted information about what they want to hear, and companies are getting their message right to the people they want to reach.
Great breakdown of where our #veterans are currently employed!
— RallyPoint (@RallyPoint) April 6, 2017
What makes RallyPoint so different?
Dan: On RallyPoint, people and brands engage through conversations. It’s not just banner ads, although you can do that … with us, companies sponsor discussions and pose questions that spark engagement, and it often becomes viral — there are conversations where members are talking about USAA’s auto service, and USAA can weigh in. Or, Tesla is a great example: When they were looking [to hire] a tilt rotor mechanic to work in their high tech factory in California, they could create discussion and reach them directly.
We encourage advertisers to be part of the community.
Nick: And I think RallyPoint being an open network is a huge differentiator. To have 25,000 people engaged instantly? For marketers, the sky is the limit for your communication — we see conversations go to 90,000 views, for free.
How can marketers best engage service members?
Nick: This is a phrase I learned from our co-founder, who was a Green Beret: “Bottom line up-front.” That means that everyone, including marketers, must to get to the point quickly. As in, why is this job right for this service member’s experience? Why is this ad targeted to this member? If marketers can approach them like that, they’ll get a significantly higher response. It comes back to communicating value. I think that’s more necessary here than for the civilian community.
Also, recognize that you’re dealing with a network of leaders. They’re taught to be leaders at a very young age — they have more stable income, tend to make a little bit more than the average household over time, and consumer loyalty is probably higher.
And, there’s no other demographic that’s so uniform. The military is hundreds of years old. Veterans and new members share the exact same experiences. If you’re a marketer, figure out how to communicate authentically about what they need and you’ve unlocked thousands of people who value the exact same things.
Dan: And with our data, we know many of the life transitions that members are going through because they’re talking about it. When they’re going through a PCS [permanent change of station], we know they’ll need to sell their house, they might need new insurance. To get promoted, education is needed, and we know what rank they are and what they need.
Marketers can tap into those transitions and put themselves at the center of the conversations.
Any closing advice for marketers out there?
Dan: If you take a traditional approach, you’ll get traditional results. However, if you take an approach of engagement and education with the member community, results will be significantly higher. And we’re starting to see data to that effect.
What’s next for RallyPoint?
Nick: The next big win is really helping service members have access to the best companies that are trying to reach out to them.
Dan: Nick’s right. It’s bringing great companies that can bring education, financial, and health benefits to our members.