Matt's Blog

CEO Blog: Fiscal Year in Review

Matt Kormann reviews where the ATA stands after the fiscal year.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Matt Kormann

As we enter a new fiscal year for your ATA, it’s interesting to look at where we were 12 months ago and compare that to where we are today.

In my conversations with members, both at #ATA2019 and away from the Show, I’ve heard many of the same themes. Although those conversations took a more positive tone recently, concerns remain for our industry’s future. I think that’s healthy. I’ve long taken a slightly skeptical approach to ensure we don’t rest on what we have. Sales leaders often talk of “selling from second place.” That means never settling into a comfortable position, even if you’re clearly a market leader. Always assume someone is outperforming you, and that you’re chasing a big target.

It’s my intention that your ATA never rests or grows complacent. We have too much to do, and our members need us more than ever. That’s why we made many concrete advancements the past year.

The Action Alert System has been put into place and is currently being used to give members an opportunity to speak up on legislation. Photo Credit: ATA

In April 2018, an Action Alert system was just an idea from a couple of staff and Board members. Other organizations were using Action Alerts to great effect, but not the ATA. Fast-forward a year, and we’ve already used this new system several times. We’ve learned we can act with incredible speed when members bring legislative or agency issues to our attention.

In most cases, we could alert our members to a challenge, and request their input the same day we’re notified. The benefit to our members is real and immediate: They make their opinions heard, and reach out directly to those responsible for policies that affect archery and bowhunting in their states or at the federal level. Beyond that, your ATA can quickly determine which issues are most important to our members based on how quickly you act.

In just one short year, the ATA MarCom team created and launched a new brand for the ATA. Photo Credit: ATA

A year ago, your board and staff also identified a need for a new ATA look, and enhanced marketing efforts to benefit the industry. I think it’s fair to say most of us thought it would take a lot longer than 12 months to get there! Your board challenged our team incredibly hard. They thought launching the new brand couldn’t wait, and asked us to roll it out in Louisville. Our Marcom team and partners pulled out all the stops while ensuring we got a great result.

The work didn’t stop there. Board members insisted we do more to attract new archers and bowhunters. To do that, we’ll reach out to audiences we haven’t talked to before. Since March we’ve been producing several advertising spots, and creating a digital marketing campaign that’s set to launch in August. We can’t wait for new customers to see and hear these campaigns online, and to seek your products in pro shops in the weeks that follow the campaign’s launch.

The ATA continues to fight for policies that address CWD. Photo Credit: ATA

Meanwhile, chronic wasting disease remains a major concern for many members. Although the disease remains incurable, Dan Forster and our partners have been successful in their work with state wildlife agencies to ensure they consider the right policies for the right reasons. In a couple of instances, our efforts helped ensure state commissions and wildlife agencies gathered more data and considered policies that better align with our members’ needs.

We continue to hear from many members about challenges they face with counterfeiting and FET violations. We’ve enhanced our relationship with the IRS during the past year, ensured that like-minded partners take part in our discussions, and forged new relationships with some big names in online retailing. These fights are hard, and they’ll never end. We’re striving to evolve our approach faster than those trying to harm our industry. Our past efforts experienced varying success, and so we must reassess, change, and sometimes try something new. But that work is being done with you in mind. If your ATA can help create a more level playing field, we’ll take on that fight.

We’ve worked a great plan the past year, and we’re building another for the year ahead. I’m confident we’re accomplishing work on your behalf that will benefit all of us. Still, we can’t succeed without your input. Please continue letting your board and staff know how we can help.

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