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The Squeeze, Vol. 19: A Proper Thank You

The Squeeze, Vol. 19: A Proper Thank You.

There’s more than meets the eye.

What’s going on?
Today is Veterans Day. But how well do we actually know what and who we’re celebrating?

Veterans Day annually honors those who have selflessly served our country as members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The nation celebrates with patriotic events, brands offer veterans discount campaigns, and you’ve hopefully taken the opportunity to offer gratitude to the active and past military members in your life. But a recent survey reveals that Americans’ overall knowledge about the U.S. military and veterans is low. Test your own with the Veterans Day Pop Quiz below.

Here too are some things you may not have known about veterans as health care consumers:

1. An estimated one in three American military members deployed since 9/11 return with mental health and brain conditions (like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), anxiety, depression) brought on by things they experienced during service.

2. Toxic exposure during service has been linked to many cancers and other non-cancer related diseases (e.g., Parkinson’s, type II diabetes) in veterans. Prostate cancer rates in the military are twice those in the general population, with 12,000 new diagnoses annually.

3. Not all veterans utilize VA Healthcare. 50% of veterans use health care services other than those provided or paid for by VA. This is especially true of veterans younger than 45, who report better experiences at non-VA facilities. The biggest reasons veterans choose non-VA providers is easier access to care (as VA appointments often don’t take place as scheduled) and an established relationship with a provider they “really like and trust.”

What's The Squeeze?
As civilians and healthcare marketers, there is opportunity for us to connect with veterans more meaningfully.

Truly honoring our veterans means acknowledging and appreciating their sacrifices during and as a result of their service. Here are some initial ideas on how we can start doing so:
  • Support a veteran-owned business. Yelp recently introduced a new searchable attribute that allows business owners to self-identify as veteran-owned on their Yelp business page.
  • Create workforce opportunities. Veterans transitioning to civilian life often report difficulty in finding employment, but studies show that veterans’ abilities to adapt their skills and training to different tasks and contexts make them incredibly attractive employees. Ochsner Health just announced a goal to hire 300 veterans into clinical and nonclinical careers over the next three years.
  • Ensure veterans’ access to research, screening and treatment for high-risk conditions. (Prostate cancer appears to be a big area of outreach opportunity.) SPM Group clients Emory Healthcare and Rush are members of the Wounded Warrior Project’s Warrior Care Network, which offers a free outpatient program combining clinical treatment with wellness and health services to fast-track veterans’ journey to better mental and brain health.
  • Consider and accurately represent veterans as a niche target audience. There is clearly huge potential to do so, but our aforementioned knowledge gaps could lead us to misrepresent – and in turn fall flat with or offend – veterans. It will take commitment to strategize how best to connect with veterans and ensure we are avoiding stereotypes, accurately representing military regulations and members when doing so.

Related Insights.

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For more information, please contact
[email protected].