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Jay’s Blog: Are You Looking?

“If you don’t look or listen, you’re certainly not going to see or hear what ATA is doing,” said Jay McAninch, ATA President/CEO. “But if you do look? Well, you’ll be amazed, and you’d probably be more optimistic about the future of archery and bowhunting.” r
Photo Credit: John Hafne

Author: Jay McAninch

Since announcing my plans to step down at the end of this year, I’ve had many people ask which were the best and worst companies to work with, and who was the least or most cooperative person.

Several long-time industry leaders also asked, “What was/is your greatest frustration with the industry?” That’s easy. My greatest frustration was/is industry people who seldom or never look, read or try to find out what ATA has done and is doing for its members, and yet accuse the ATA of doing nothing. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you don’t look or listen, you’re certainly not going to see or hear what ATA is doing. Therefore, your premise will always be true. But if you do look? Well, you’ll be amazed, and you’d probably be more optimistic about the future of archery and bowhunting.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Fifteen years have passed since the first person told me he didn’t know what the ATA was doing. We were sitting in his office. As he shared how little he saw and heard about the ATA, I gazed at an array of trade magazines spread across his desk.

I recognized the top magazine because it detailed the ATA’s work to fix federal excise tax issues. It even included a sidebar about the ATA’s efforts to forge a coalition with state wildlife agencies to strengthen our joint commitment to increasing bowhunting and archery participation. Next to that copy, another trade magazine featured information on how ATA issues grants to state agencies as leverage so they would provide a budget and staff to run the National Archery in the Schools Program. If those magazines were snakes they would have bitten him!

The ATA is dedicated to making the industry profitable and promoting member growth. We advocate and provide resources for our members on several issues, including counterfeiting, federal excise tax issues, Minimum Advertised Price policies, state-by-state buying and participation patterns, and more. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

A similar incident occurred at our Trade Show. A company leader stopped me in the hallway. After a brief update, he said he wished there was information available detailing the ATA’s work. As he talked, I looked over his shoulder at a sign that asked, “Did You Know?” ATA staff developed those informative signs and posted them all around the Show to help people learn what ATA was doing. They didn’t need to visit our website or read a magazine to learn about the ATA’s work on their behalf. The highlights were on the walls and pillars all around the Show. In fact, the sign I spotted behind this leader provided facts about archery and bowhunting’s growth in his home state. Go figure.

More recently I had a confrontation at the NABA Show with an executive whose company has a seat on the ATA Board of Directors. The individual stopped me in the hallway and berated me, saying repeatedly, “Jay, I’m just not seeing it.” He also said he was going to get things done himself because the ATA wasn’t doing anything. I assumed downturns in the industry and his business sparked his outburst, so I listened and politely tried to share what the ATA was doing to improve the situation.

Still, I was struck by his anger. After all, he was making assumptions without reviewing basic information the ATA had previously shared that would have helped him understand participation patterns in archery and bowhunting, the purchasing behaviors of bowhunters, and much more. We also provide information on what’s going on in every state so members can identify and capitalize on specific opportunities.

The bottom line is this: If you don’t read what the ATA provides, you’ll never be informed, and you’ll never receive the help we can provide. More important, we won’t know what you think, and we won’t have the benefit of your input. That’s not a winning strategy for anyone.

The ATA promotes industry growth through strategic partnerships with state agencies and community groups, and provides programs, instruction and facilities to help grow archery and bowhunting worldwide. Photo Credit: George Adrejko/AZGFD

As companies try to navigate out of tough times, the vehicle that carries them to profitability is fueled by information, assistance and collaboration. ATA has plenty of information and staff ready to help. In fact, our staff is your strongest asset. Here’s the proof:

    • If you’re wondering which programs are working to grow participation, contact Emily Beach, senior director of outreach and education. She can tell you what states are doing with NASP, Explore Bowhunting, Explore Archery and Explore Bowfishing. Likewise, if you want to help retailers get ATA ePRO, the software that provides retailers with digital operating savvy, contact Emily. She can help you with that, too. Emily can also tell you how organizations like USA Archery, NFAA, Scholastic 3-D Archery, Izaak Walton League, Salvation Army and several others are implementing archery and bowhunting programs. And do you want to build an archery range or, better yet, an archery park? Contact Emily. The ATA is here to help.


    • Do you need help registering for the Trade Show? Do you want to learn how to fully capitalize on the Trade Show? Contact Maria Lewis, ATA’s senior director of Trade Show and membership. Do you want to exhibit at the Show or gain attention with a sponsorship? Contact Maria. If you want to learn which services ATA can offer to help you run your business and grow your customer base, contact Maria. She can help you with that, too. If you’re a manufacturer and you need help with FET issues, or you’re interested in counterfeit products or Minimum Advertised Price policies, again, contact Maria. And if you’re a retailer and want to join a buying group, tell Maria. She can connect you with the right folks. What if you’re interested in the ATA Retail Council? You guessed it: Contact Maria.


    • To learn how to improve your social media and digital-media capabilities, contact Teresa Johnson, ATA’s senior director of communications. Teresa and her staff give seminars nationwide on using technology to improve companies’ bottom lines. If you wonder what ATA is doing to engage new archers, check out Archery360.com. What about engaging new bowhunters? Visit Bowhunting360.com. These platforms are on the web and Facebook, and help you find thousands of people who want to have fun with archery. To connect with these newbies, just talk to Teresa. She’ll ensure your retail business is on the ATA’s online shop locator.


    • To learn what’s going on with state wildlife agencies, contact Dan Forster, director of government relations. Dan meets regularly with the directors of state wildlife agencies nationwide, and stays engaged in conversations about how to grow participation, how to reduce regulatory barriers, and how to protect and manage wildlife. If you’re concerned about CWD in your state and what your wildlife agency might do to deal with this disease, ask Dan. If you wonder what’s happening nationally and within states to grow participation, Dan can fill you in on several major ATA initiatives.

 And if you simply want to discuss what ATA has done, is doing and should do in the future, call or email me. My email and phone are on our website, as are the emails and phone numbers for all our staff members. Simply click here, and you’ll find our team ready, willing and eager to help.

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