Marketing to Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting Customers │ Think Your Customer is “Old School” – Think Again
By Jeremy Flinn, Chief Marketing Officer
One of the most common reasons for not doing digital marketing in the hunting, fishing, shooting or tactical industry is that the primary customer does not exhibit the buying behavior of a typical online shopper. They are simply “old school” and buying behavior is influenced by one of three ways: TV, Print, or just by knowing the brands they always go with. I’m not here to argue the last point much because I know that true for even a millennial buyer like myself. I tend to buy many of the same brands I did growing up because they were reliable. However, what we have to be sure of is that the business is always think a step ahead. Let’s say that 75% of your business comes from this “old school buyer.” In the firearms sector this is often an older demographic, much like the aging hunting community. They are often financially secure, versus a kid coming out of college, but although they may the customer today, what about your business tomorrow.
Unfortunately at some point the customer of today will pass through this world, if you have done nothing with your brand to reach the customer of tomorrow, you’re a sitting duck. SiriusDecisions research group discovered even with today’s buyers, 67% of the buying behavior journey happens online. Simply put there is more to just being available, you must be found, be engaging, and be informative or you will not be in business for much longer.
As your secure customer begins to age, the buying behavior will rapidly fall off. Last time I check Social Security didn’t allow for much hobby spending, and with the average hunting, fishing, and shooting customer making $35,000 to $75,000 per year, it’s highly unlikely money won’t be an issue later in life.
The 2014-2019 Daedal Research on the US Sporting Goods Market Trends revealed that many sporting goods and specialty retail store are not growing or driving business, in fact eCommerce is the sole reason for pushing companies’ bottom lines north. Though the industry may be growing in revenue, aside from eCommerce, selling sectors (like retail) grew a measly 2%.
In today’s outdoor industry marketplace, you need to have three major actions in mind:
- Be measureable – If you are spending money and not tracking traffic, sales, or impressions related directly to the ads, you are blind to your ROI potential. The worst thing to say is “well its marketing budget allotted, we don’t need to keep track.” Measure what can be measured, and evaluate what the ROI is, or in many cases, is not.
- Be Hyper-connected – Ever cruise the web and see the product, service or brand you recently viewed seem to pop up everywhere. Yea, that’s them embracing inbound marketing. The more places you are in, the more impressions made. BUT it must be for the right cost.
- Adapt to the Shift – The buying shift is happening right now. Customers use online resources more than 2/3 of the time to start the buying process. Yet I still see hunting, fishing, and shooting companies with non-mobile responsive websites! Ever hear of Mobilegeddon? Apparently not…
Whether now or in the future, you will likely have 80% of your revenue come from 20% of your customers. If you are not constantly working to grow, and in the outdoor industry replenish, that 20% your revenue will suffer.