Author: Matt Kormann
It’s no secret the archery and bowhunting industry is evolving. It’s incredible what the broader outdoor recreation community is doing to get ahead of the curve. The ATA has been central to those efforts.
The Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports met in May at Lincoln, Nebraska, for the inaugural National R3 Symposium. ATA proudly sponsored the event along with many other corporations, trade associations and conservation organizations. The event drew literally standing-room-only crowds. Manufacturers and retailers from many industries worked with conservation groups, R3 coordinators, state wildlife directors and U.S. Fish and Wildlife representatives to begin charting a path to Recruit, Retain and Reactivate hunters.
I was most interested to hear whether this powerhouse team would willingly work to enact meaningful change. We all agree that bowhunting is in trouble if we do nothing. I left the symposium feeling optimistic. The challenges ahead might seem insurmountable, but we’re a team of brilliant organizations that are passionate about conservation. I wouldn’t bet against us when we stand together.
What were the big takeaways, and what comes next?
The symposium’s timing was perfect for the ATA. As we wrap up the first month of our 90-day strategic planning process, there’s no better time for us to evolve, try new things, and work more effectively for our members. And the meetings weren’t just about light-bulb moments – even though there were some of those. I was glad to hear things that reinforced the ATA’s past actions and future plans.
Several organizations have realized big wins with their creative mentoring programs. Therefore, instead of starting from scratch with our own bowhunting mentor program, we intend to leverage those successes and partnerships to take our ideas even higher. Photo Credit: ATA.
I was blown away by the depth of discussions on mentoring. Those talks reinforced something I’ve written about from a personal perspective, but they went so much deeper. Several organizations have realized big wins with their creative mentoring programs. Therefore, instead of starting from scratch with our own bowhunting mentor program, we intend to leverage those successes and partnerships to take our ideas even higher.
As with everything we do, it’ll be critical to measure our mentoring success. But such measurements were another hot topic at the symposium. How will we know if we moved the needle? How much return on investment will we achieve? Many organizations struggle to identify those returns, and the R3 community recognizes that big hurdle. As we identify new ways to engage bowhunters, we must identify new ways to ensure we’re achieving our commitment to support our members by making it easier for you to do business.
Finally, I was impressed by the marketing concepts I saw and learned. While “millennials” is a term often spoken like a curse word, we must not fear or sneer at this generation. This year millennials will wield the most spending power of any generation. They’re also more likely to share personal information with brands they trust. Experts have also learned that millennials don’t value celebrity endorsements as much as other generations do. Reaching them means sharing experiences they’ll enjoy when bowhunting or shooting archery, using our members’ products, and shopping in our members’ stores. This next generation is smart, they pay attention, and they’re our industry’s future in every way.
All those experiences sent me home confident that we have a positive future. It won’t look like it has the past 30 years – or even the previous five – but if we collaborate and break from our comfort zones, we’ll have much to celebrate down the road.
What do you think about when you think of R3? We’d love to hear from you.