Grow archery

ATA’s Archery Equipment Development Program Targets New Customers

The program helps ATA-member manufacturers get their products field-tested by youth, women and beginners.
Photo Credit: Nebraska Game and Parks

Author: Cassie Scott

How could receiving feedback on archery products aimed at women, children and programs help your business?

Easy! You’d know what customers in your target demographic really want, helping you sell more products. Did you know that 34 percent of the 23.8 million Americans who shot archery in 2015 were female? In addition, Girl Power Marketing found about 74.9 percent of women identified themselves as the primary shoppers for their household. Knowing what compels women and children to choose certain products is valuable intel.

The question is, where do you get reliable product feedback? The answer: Archery Trade Association’s Archery Equipment Development Program.

What’s AEDP?

The AEDP collects data is extremely valuable and can help lead to more equipment sales by youth, women and program leaders. Photo Credit: Kelly Modla.

The Archery Equipment Development Program helps ATA-member manufacturers get their products field-tested by youth, women and beginners.

These ATA-vetted field testers come from the ATA’s many partners, including summer-camp programs, parks and recreation groups, and Archery Range Operators. Testers evaluate products submitted by ATA manufacturers in an unbiased, objective way and provide their feedback using ATA-designed surveys.

ATA staff members interpret the survey results, compile a confidential summary and deliver the feedback to the ATA-member manufacturer who submitted their product. The manufacturer can then use the feedback to improve their design or market their product.

The general information about what youth, women and instructors are looking for in equipment can also be shared with the industry by the ATA. This data is extremely valuable and can help lead to more equipment sales to youth, women and program leaders.

All equipment that is positively reviewed by ATA-vetted field testers will be showcased at the ATA Trade Show.

Who participates?

The program benefits both manufacturers and retailers by giving manufacturers an opportunity to have their equipment tested objectively, while identifying products for retailers to provide in their shop for customers new to archery.

On the manufacturer side, the program tests products that are either on the market or in development, such as targets, bows and accessories. Testers rate durability, ease of use and affordability to get a better feel for how youth, women and beginners react to products. Then manufacturers receive a detailed summary of consumer feedback on their product.

On the retailer side, the program identifies products that have been vetted and field-tested to ensure positive experiences for consumers. Retailers learn about product availability and product details to help to leverage marketing efforts at their store.

ATA partners, such as summer camp program organizers and parks and recreation groups, also benefit because they are exposed to the products they test during their programs. In turn, this creates product awareness for students and parents.

Program Praise

"To be able to supply an archery program with a quality product that is durable, easy-to-store and fun to shoot allows instructors to spend more time with students and less time maintaining equipment." Tanja Washburn. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

AEDP has been underway for almost a year, and the positive feedback is rolling in.

“The Archery Equipment Development Program provides a great opportunity for manufacturers who want to test the waters, see if they’re onto something, or if they need to make adjustments because they missed the mark,” said Chris James, vice president of sales, national accounts, for FeraDyne Outdoors. “We wanted to get some feedback and see how our products were accepted and performing in a high-use environment before bringing them to the market. The program gave us the strengths of our products, as well as some of the drawbacks. Overall, the program is a good way to get controlled feedback in a focused environment.”

Tanja Washburn, vice president of Rinehart Targets, likes the program’s premise.

“Rinehart Targets chose to participate in the Archery Equipment Development Program because it fits with one of our core goals, which is supporting organizations that share our passion for connecting youth to the sport of archery and inspiring an affinity for the outdoors,” Washburn said. “To be able to supply an archery program with a quality product that is durable, easy-to-store and fun to shoot allows instructors to spend more time with students and less time maintaining equipment. By having our products “torture tested” by various level archery programs and participants, we received quality feedback that allows for product improvements.”

According to Dave Parker, general manager of Bear Archery, if the product is reviewed positively, having it displayed at the Show is a major program highlight.

“The program gives us the opportunity to have our products showcased at the largest trade event in our industry,” Parker said. “Knowing our products will be displayed to retailers at the ATA Trade Show gives us an additional point of exposure. It also gives the buyer more confidence to choose those products to carry and sell in their store because they’ve been vetted and field-tested by ATA focus groups. I’d recommend the program to everyone because there is no downside to it. For the cost of providing the equipment, you’re going to get some honest, real-world, focus-group feedback. That’s really valuable to a manufacturer.”

How do I join?

Manufacturers can contact Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs, at (301) 580-1238 or Jennifermazur@archerytrade.org to get involved.

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