Business

Want to Reach a New Generation of Bowhunters? Consider Marketing to Millennials.

According to Forbes, millennials represent about one-fourth the United States' population and roughly $200 billion of its annual buying power.
Photo Credit: Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Author: Cassie Scott

The United States is home to over 80 million millennials, who represent about one-fourth the country’s population and roughly $200 billion of its annual buying power, according to Forbes.

If you want more customers and more sales, you must market to millennials … the right way, which means on their terms.

Millennials, also called Generation Y, were born between 1977 and 2000. To generalize, they care about value, authenticity, brand loyalty, social engagement and high-quality products. They’re also patient, digitally savvy and find information quickly.

“Millennials are the future,” said Allison Jasper, ATA’s senior marketing manager. “The only way to ensure your business is profitable is to connect with them.”

Jasper said ATA members should market to millennials because they’re a huge demographic, they have lots of buying power, and other age groups rely on them to find the best products at the best price. Neighbors, co-workers and older family members realize millennials know how to find the right product at the right price. In fact, they often consult millennials before making purchases, and trust their recommendations.

So, how do you hook millennials, lure them into your store, and sell them products? Consider these tips and guidelines to appeal to this important, revenue-generating group.

Offer Authentic Content Digitally

Millennials, also called Generation Y, were born between 1977 and 2000. To generalize, they care about value, authenticity, brand loyalty, social engagement and high-quality products. They’re also patient, digitally savvy and find information quickly. Photo Credit: ATA

Most millennials don’t follow in their parents’ footsteps in how they consume media. They ditch cable and watch their favorite TV shows through paid streaming services. The same goes for music. Most millennials stream it through downloadable apps on their phones and forgo the radio.

Therefore, traditional advertising — aka “outbound marketing strategies” — like TV commercials, direct-mail campaigns, and radio, newspaper or magazine ads don’t reach this generation. In fact, a Hubspot article by Meaghan Moraes said most “young consumers find these campaigns are impersonal and company-focused, filled with logos and void of any real substance.”

So, how can you connect with the 18- to 35-year-old crowd? Try “inbound marketing strategies.” What’s that? Read on.

“Rather than product and service listings, millennials want videos, e-books, whitepapers, blog posts and other how-to information,” Moraes said. She suggests you regularly post helpful, genuine content online to intrigue and entertain millennials.

Be Visible and Active Online

Millennials spend an average of 25 hours online weekly, and 91 percent are regular Internet users, according to Advertising Age. What are they doing online? They watch videos, read blogs and product reviews, and skim social channels and websites. And as Moraes notes, they pin, like, snap, tweet, share, forward and comment on their findings.

To interact with millennials, you must go where they hang out: online. Having a website is vital for your business. Well-maintained social channels also help attract millennials. If your business is online, millennials will find you. Pique their curiosity, generate interest and help them learn about your business’s aspirations and mission. They’ll appreciate your honesty and see your efforts as an opportunity to connect.

Be Socially Responsible

Millennials enjoy helping others, and they find satisfaction in donating. To them, making a purchase or attending an event with a charitable component trumps all. Show them you’re socially responsible online and offline. Get involved and give back to your community. Photo Credit: ATA

Forbes found 62 percent of millennials are more likely to become loyal customers if a brand engages them on social networks. Practice good social listening skills, respond to customers on social media, and monitor what they’re saying about your store on Yelp and Google. You’ll earn their trust and a faithful customer, and they’ll likely refer friends and family to your business.

Millennials enjoy helping others, and they find satisfaction in donating. To them, making a purchase or attending an event with a charitable component trumps all. Show them you’re socially responsible online and offline. Get involved and give back to your community. Sponsor a community event; host a free archery class or tournament that’s open to the public; or donate time, money or resources to help a local charity. When millennials see you’re committed to helping others and honoring civic duties they’re more likely to stand behind your brand. Such efforts also help you create brand awareness and boost your business’s reputation.

Be Quality-Conscious

Millennials care more about quality than convenience. They’re known for comparing options and finding the best value, even if it means paying more for quality or service. However, they love a good coupon. In fact, 43 percent of millennials check for coupons or promotions on their smartphone while in a store, said Ryan Jenkins, an expert in generational differences and similarities.

Use that insight to your advantage. Understanding your customer is Step Two in ATA’s five-step plan to win more sales. Because millennials look around and take time to research products, make sure you offer coupons, packages or services; and explain your value and expertise. They’ll notice how your business is different and take advantage of your offerings.

Jenkins also notes that millennials trust experts, even if they’re strangers. Therefore, highlight your qualifications as a certified archery instructor. And look! You have quality employees, products and services. You’re racking up credibility points and increasing your value as we speak!

Offer Experiences, Not Materials

Millennials spend differently than older generations. They prefer to shop around and invest in quality products. And when they spend, they usually prefer an experience, like a memorable vacation rather than a new car or fancy clothes. Photo Credit: ATA

Millennials spend differently than older generations. They prefer to shop around and invest in quality products. And when they spend, they usually prefer an experience, like a memorable vacation rather than a new car or fancy clothes.

Therefore, emphasize the experience your millennial customers will receive when they shoot in a league or spend an evening bowhunting. That’s how you’ll win a millennial’s heart.

To tie together those last two marketing tips, consider this quote from an article in Business Insider, which discusses a Goldman Sachs’ podcast on the decline of baby-food purchases:

“Despite being sleep-deprived and strapped for time, millennial moms are choosing to forgo convenience in favor of the transparency that comes from knowing exactly what they’re feeding their babies,” wrote Emmie Martin.

The article noted that millennial moms increasingly prefer to buy products they can use to make their child’s food to ensure it’s organic, high-quality and cage-free.

Let’s do the math. Millennials value quality, they enjoy experiences, they trust expertise, and 69 percent of them crave adventure. Add it up and the answer is … You should introduce them to bowhunting! It’s a great opportunity and as Jasper notes, “What better way to know where your lean organic meat is coming from than to harvest it yourself?”

Millennials have lots to offer the archery and bowhunting industry as customers with cash. Hook them and they’ll be your most valuable customers for years to come.

Read more tips on how to market to millennials from Entrepreneur and Inc.

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