Trade Show

The ATA, Young Guns Archery and You: Improving the Youth Market

The more you know about this growing demographic, the easier it is to please them.
Photo Credit: ASA Cullman Alabama

Author: Cassie Scott

Children are notorious for speaking their mind. Ask them what they think, and they’ll tell you. As a bow manufacturer, if you don’t ask youths what they think about your products, how will you know? The Archery Trade Association works with youths to discover what they think to help your business improve.

According to an Archery Shooters Association’s spokesperson, the number of archers in the ASA’s youth division increased 24 percent from 2015 to 2016. In addition, over 25 percent of all registered ASA archers came from the youth class in 2016.

The Scholastic 3-D Archery program, an organization dedicated to youth archers, has grown tremendously since its launch in 2013. The program grew from three states to 34 in four years and now enrolls over 2,600 youths nationwide, said Jim Reeder, S3DA’s national outreach coordinator.

With the number of youth archers on the rise, the more you know about this growing demographic, the easier it is to please them. If you want more young people to buy your archery products, the ATA’s new program can help.

Let the Archery Equipment Development Program Work for You

Through the Archery Equipment Development Program, ATA-vetted field testers evaluate the products designed for their audience in an unbiased, objective way. They provide their feedback using ATA-designed surveys. Photo Credit: ASA Cullman, AL.

The ATA’s Archery Equipment Development Program helps ATA-member manufacturers get valuable feedback on their products from youths, women and beginners. Through the program, ATA-vetted field testers evaluate the products designed for their audience in an unbiased, objective way. They provide their feedback using ATA-designed surveys.

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

Double Dip with Young Guns Archery LLC

Young Guns Archery LLC does not sell bows. Instead, they give kids an informational card to aid in the buying process. The card lists the child’s draw length, plus the make and model of their wish-list bow. Photo Credit: Young Guns.

To gather even more intel from youths, the ATA is working with Young Guns Archery LLC, owned by husband-and-wife team Heath and Julie McDonald. Young Guns Archery LLC gathers information to help manufacturers improve products meant for young archers while helping kids find appropriate archery equipment for their size and skill level.

“Young Guns provides a unique service that aligns with the goals of the Archery Equipment Development Program,” said Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs. “Their focus on women and the youth demographic allows for honest feedback on what equipment resonates with the target audience from a buyer’s perspective.”

The McDonalds started their business in 2016 after struggling to find bows that fit their children’s needs. They travel to ASA tournaments and other archery-related events with their children and their Young Guns Archery LLC trailer that is equipped with a shooting lane and multiple bows to help them serve young, aspiring archers and bowhunters.

To fit kids with appropriate archery equipment, Heath works one-on-one with shooters to find the “right” bow. At the same time, Julie works with the child to gather data regarding their likes and dislikes, and other information valuable for product development in the youth market.

“Our company gives kids the opportunity to demo multiple youth-dimensioned bows from various manufacturers in a safe and neutral environment,” Julie said. “We feel the key to retention is to find each child a bow they like shooting. If they feel comfortable shooting and find success on the target, they’re more likely to continue with archery.”

Young Guns Archery LLC does not sell bows. Instead, they give kids an informational card to aid in the buying process. The card lists the child’s draw length, plus the make and model of their wish-list bow. This process ensures the child gets the bow they need after leaving the trailer and helps simplify the ordering process for retailers.

“We serve archers, but we also serve manufacturers,” Heath said. “If a manufacturer lends us a bow, we help promote their company by allowing kids to test-drive their equipment. We put bows in the hands of youths and get data in return. We give the data we collect to the manufacturer to help them understand what the low-poundage, short-draw-length market is looking for so they can adapt and improve to sell more bows in the future.”

As Ohio Hunter Education instructors, certified Scholastic 3-D Archery Level 2 coaches, and Dayton Metro Park youth bowhunting team leaders, the McDonald’s are in business to help the archery and bowhunting industry in a way that resonates close to their hearts. By helping manufacturers and individual youth participants, Young Guns Archery LLC hopes to do even more work with the ATA’s support.

“The ATA drives the market,” Julie said. “We’re doing the same thing on a smaller level. We have the same goal and are approaching the same problem, so we hope together we can make a bigger difference.”

Get Involved at the 2018 ATA Trade Show

“Young Guns provides a unique service that aligns with the goals of the Archery Equipment Development Program,” said Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs. “Their focus on women and the youth demographic allows for honest feedback on what equipment resonates with the target audience from a buyer’s perspective.” Photo Credit: ASA Cullman, AL.

Kids say the darndest things. If you want to know what they’re saying about your archery products, join the Archery Equipment Development Program. Contact Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs, at (301) 580-1238 or Jennifermazur@archerytrade.org to get involved.

To learn more about Young Guns Archery LLC, be sure to visit Heath and Julie McDonald in the Member Services Area at the 2018 ATA Trade Show, Jan. 11-13, in Indianapolis.

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