Your ATA Board of Directors adopted its first strategic plan over a year ago. During its 2019 annual meeting, the Board and staff leadership updated the plan to reflect short- and long-range targets.
Those efforts, and everything your ATA works to accomplish, must serve our mission to inspire growth, increase participation, and preserve the sports of archery and bowhunting. If that mission sounds like it aligns with nationwide R3 efforts – to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters – that’s exactly what we’re after.
Among our many projects is a consumer marketing campaign by Allison Jasper and her marcom team. We’re confident it could spark the most tangible results. The campaign launched Aug. 1, and has a simple goal: drive new potential customers into our members’ pro shops. The campaign’s timing might raise some eyebrows. To help design it, we used ATA-member feedback, surveys of over 1,100 members of our target demographic, and the expertise of our external partners. We had one concern, of course. We’d be asking new customers to walk into pro shops during the year’s busiest season. In fact, our members report that over half of their annual business occurs during a three- to four-month span from late summer through fall.
Why pack more potential customers into a store’s busiest season? Simple. The vast majority of revenue in the archery/bowhunting industry gets generated by that second word: bowhunting. Our target market, mostly millennial males, is also more motivated by instant gratification than older generations like mine and many of yours. If we drive potential bowhunters into pro shops in spring, but they can’t go afield for six months, the industry would probably lose that customer. Although new customers could add pressure to a shop’s already-hectic selling season, the timing is right for folks who want to pick up a bow for the first time.
Either way, here’s the obvious question: Is the campaign working? Are we driving new customers into our members’ pro shops?
The simple answer is yes. In the campaign’s first two months, our commercials were viewed nearly 24 million times. If the campaign is working as designed, those in the industry, along with veteran archers and bowhunters, haven’t seen it. The campaign’s focus is new participants, not those already here. Our intent in playing the commercial on streaming video services is to create an emotional reaction to picking up a bow. It’s a thrill each of us feels when nocking an arrow.
When a viewer reacts, their next step is to visit the campaign’s website. We’ve seen over 26,000people do just that. From there, they can find their local pro shop, and see if the sport fits them. For those of you with marketing experience, and even those without, we know each step in this process generates increasingly fewer actions. During the campaign’s first 60 days, it drove 3,931 potential customers to our member pro shops.
This is the first time your ATA has tried a campaign like this. We had no benchmarks for measuring success. We’re building and redesigning it as we go to ensure the best possible results. During the campaign’s first month, for example, we aired 15- and 30-second spots. If you’ve spent any time watching streaming videos, you know 30 seconds can feel like an eternity. That proved to be the case for this campaign. Our target audience didn’t stick around long, so we stopped airing that 30-second commercial. Streaming media made that adjustment easy. The second month saw improvement, with nearly a 50% increase in viewers who completed the ad then visited the website. Bottom line? Nearly 4,000 new customers visited pro shops.
We have analyzed data from the campaign videos and made adjustments accordingly. Photo Credit: ATA
The more complicated questions from the field ask what we’re learning, how are we evolving the campaign, and how are we challenging our expectations? We can confidently report that 3,931 new potential customers visited pro shops in recent weeks, but we can’t necessarily guarantee the shop realized they were there. Although we track these visits, the customers don’t have to tell us where they went. They could have walked in, looked around and left. Or they could have walked in, sought advice, bought products, and never mentioned seeing the campaign’s commercial.
What our industry needs, and what your ATA plans next, is enhanced data reporting on factors like that. How many customers did we see last month, quarter and year? How much in overall sales did the archery/bowhunting industry generate? We want to generate those and other key performance metrics for our members’ benefit the next two years.
In the meantime, what are you hearing and seeing? If you’re a retailer, have you seen any change in new customers visiting your pro shop? If you’re a manufacturer, distributor or sales rep, have you seen anything in your business that could be related to this marketing effort? We’d love to hear from you, and we’re eager to keep improving the value of your ATA membership.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP THE INDUSTRY, TO HELP INDIVIDUAL BUSINESSES GET THE MOST OUT OF THE INDUSTRY, AND TO HELP YOU.