Author: Cassie Scott
To build a thriving business, you need retail know-how and industry awareness. This monthly interactive series grows those attributes by raising a dialogue with industry members and the archery community about what’s working, what’s not, and ideas for change.
This month, we talked to three ATA members about marketing strategies and minimized advertised price policies. Our experts include:
-Keith and Judy Weaver, owners of Weaver’s Archery, retailer
-Jen Kresser-Campbell, vice president of sales for Outtech, sales representative group
-Jay Everett, marketing manager for Hunter Safety System, manufacturer
Here’s what they had to say:
Jen Kresser-Campbell, vice-president of sale for Outtech replies, “There have been pressures on both [markets], but we are working with our retail partners to bring them the products, promotions and support they need to stay competitive. Our goal is to bring them the brands consumers ask for as they make decisions this season.” Photo Credit: Havana Outdoors.
1. Going into the 2017 busy season, how do you feel about the archery and bowhunting markets?
K&JW/Weaver’s Archery: We are definitely heading into the 2017 busy season. It feels like it will be a good year, trending a bit better than last year. There are some great equipment options.
JKC/Outtech: Outtech is very optimistic about these markets. There have been pressures on both [markets], but we are working with our retail partners to bring them the products, promotions and support they need to stay competitive. Our goal is to bring them the brands consumers ask for as they make decisions this season.
JE/Hunter Safety System: Hunter Safety System is optimistic about this year. The past few winters have been mild, and I think that has really hurt things. I hear from a lot of hunters they don’t like to hunt when it’s warm, myself included. The fact is, the more you hunt, the more wear and tear you put on equipment and the more you realize items need to be replaced. We are due for a cold winter. There are predictions that the cold weather will hit earlier, so we are hopeful this year will be an up year.
On the political front, with President Trump in office, gun sales have really slowed. Gun sales have taken a lot of revenue away from the archery industry the past eight years. We’re also hopeful some of that money will flow back into our industry.
2. How do you distribute your marketing dollars to make the most of your money?
K&JW/Weaver’s Archery: We do a local outdoor TV show, which provides infomercials about our business. We also use radio advertising for branding and continued awareness. We continue to develop and update our online presence, such as our website and social media accounts.
JKC/Outtech: For most of our brand partners the objective is multi-faceted. Creating pull-through begins with consumer recognition, education and activation. Today, this is generally done through traditional media outlets, as well as through social/digital avenues. Many more partners are expanding or shifting their budgets to incorporate social media platforms to create authentic content for their consumers. Additionally, many of our brands partner with retailers and support them with co-op or ad dollars that allow for consumer-targeted promotions to drive traffic at the retail level and build brand loyalty.
JE/Hunter Safety System: There has obviously been a big change in the marketing landscape with the millennial generation coming up and becoming more financially active in the economy. They tend to do things digitally. We’ve seen the shift from outdoor TV or print ads to digital advertisements. We try to stay ahead of the curve and up to speed on what’s happening in the digital sphere so we can make good decisions. However, you still need to be judicious about the decisions you make with digital advertisements. You wouldn’t put an ad directed toward a bowhunter in a golf magazine, would you? Well, it’s the same with digital ads. You need to be very targeted. The digital market changes quickly, so it takes a lot of energy and resources to stay up to date with the digital sphere. It’s difficult to keep up with, and we just do our best.
Keith and Judy Weaver, owners of Weaver’s Archery says, “We appreciate MAP policies and the companies that enforce them. When a company enforces a MAP policy, we can stay profitable without having the showroom for a competitor who wants to undercut pricing. We started to discontinue stocking manufacturers who do not have MAP policies and don’t enforce them, and those who supply Amazon.” Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.
3. Minimized Advertised Price enforcement is a hot topic these days. What’s your take on MAP and why?
K&JW/Weaver’s Archery: We appreciate MAP policies and the companies that enforce them. When a company enforces a MAP policy, we can stay profitable without having the showroom for a competitor who wants to undercut pricing. We started to discontinue stocking manufacturers who do not have MAP policies and don’t enforce them, and those who supply Amazon.
JKC/Outtech: We have brand partners that support a MAP strategy and others that subscribe to the market-dictating price. We have seen a shift to more brands working to manage retail pricing as online sales have grown. MAP pricing has many advantages for retailers, but enforcement is complex for vendors and limits promotional opportunities.
JE/Hunter Safety System: We do not do MAP pricing. The reason we don’t is because we give the dealer the freedom to run sales on our products they way they want to. If the dealer has a lot of stock and wants to get rid of it, or if they want to raise some money and put our products on sale, they have the availability to do so. Our position is, let the market decide. We give a suggested retail price, but ultimately, we let the market and our dealers decide what to do. So far that model has worked and been successful for us.
4. If you could play king/queen for a day, what needs to happen in the archery industry to benefit your company the most? Why?
K&JW/Weaver’s Archery: We, the individual, brick-and-mortar retailers need quality products with solid margins backed up by advertising to consumers. We also need manufacturers who are willing to enforce their MAP policies, not those who just say they have MAP policies but don’t do anything about price games.
JKC/Outtech: I would overdrive the cultivation of new participants to recreational archery and bowhunting. The industry needs to increase dollars spent to introduce archery to participants and create outlets for them to get the training, service and support needed to turn casual users into lifelong participants. As the pool of consumers increases, it creates opportunities for our retailers and brand partners to grow and develop new products/innovations. At the same time, we have to increase access to hunting lands and the programs that transition recreational archers into hunters. This ensures retention and perpetuates the demand for products for our brand partners.
JE/Hunter Safety System: First, going back to my earlier response, I’d call for better bowhunting weather earlier in the season.
Second, I think we are already starting to see this emerge, but we need more archery and bowhunting programs to introduce people to the sport and its avenues. The National Archery in the Schools Program is really starting to make a difference in terms of archery participation. Introducing kids to archery is good, because some of the participants will later convert into bowhunters. I’m excited to see bowhunting-specific programs like Scholastic 3-D Archery. The S3DA program is dialed in to bowhunting and does a great job of introducing people to our world. I’m excited to hear the ATA also created next-step archery programs like Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing to increase archery participation.
Third, people need to have a better understanding and appreciation for treestand safety. Treestand related incidents are the No. 1 cause of serious injury and death for hunters. I say “incidents” rather than “accidents” because they are virtually 100 percent preventable by using common-sense measures. Last year, over 5,000 people reported to emergency rooms for falls related to hunting from a treestand. If people use common-sense treestand safety practices, we can prevent injuries and save lives.
If you have questions or want to voice your concerns, please contact the ATA’s business office at (866) 266-2776 or (507) 233-8130.