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Want to know where to begin your next big marketing strategy? Who should you market to? If you’re not researching this now, and making decisions on where to put those advertising and marketing (and manufacturing) dollars, you’re already behind.

Chromosome X

Women and girls are entering the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry at a record setting pace. In fact, the boon for women in the industry is quickly out numbering men as far as spending dollars. Will there ever be more women hunters and shooters than men? Probably not, but dollar for dollar, women will spend more for themselves, their husbands and family than men ever will. Women spend 80% of all sport apparel dollars and control 60% of all money spent on men’s clothing. Advertisers and manufacturers should take note – that’s a hell of a lot of money.

But will they? According to one survey, 91% of the women feel that the advertisers don’t understand them. If you’re in marketing or advertising, that’s scary. Why? Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases.

Faberge Organics Knew

Back in the 1970’s Faberge had a commercial for their wheat germ oil and honey shampoo that claimed “If you tell two friends about Faberge Organics shampoo with wheat germ oil and honey, then they’ll tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on”. While the commercial was kind of annoying, it resonated a very harsh truth. Women talk. A lot. If there’s a product they love – or hate – they will tell their friends. With the internet age, that information can now be broadcast a thousand fold.

If you’re slapping pink on a product, or photograph a woman wearing pink camo, you’re not doing enough and you don’t know your audience. Organizations like DIVA WOW, AG & AG, NRA’s Women on Target and others prove there is a huge resource to be tapped into – and they’re educated, skilled, know their guns and gear, and are looking for manufacturers who hear their cry for women oriented, sized, and fitted equipment.

Women are short and tall, big and small. They have boobs that get in the way, or hips that are round. They aren’t men or boys. Guns need to fit shorter arms and smaller hands. Clothes should account for larger breasts and bigger butts and shorter (or longer) legs. Manufacturers and advertisers should know that women can’t hunt turkey and ducks in pink camo waving around pink guns, or wear waders with a man’s size 12 shoe just so it will fit their hips.

Doing it Right

There are a few companies out there that get it. DPMS Panther Arms makes a line of woman sized AR-15’s and actively supports women in the field. Sig Sauer has many pistols and rifles fitted for and styled to please women. But the best companies I’ve seen are those owned by women. A new line of high-end concealed handgun bags created by Abby Walker of Aegis Bags caters to discriminating women who want to carry and look good doing it. Kirstie Pike, who owns Próis Hunting, and their ‘Badassery Defined‘ ad campaign really gets it. The women in the hunting and shooting world are active, tough, skilled and empowered. Focusing Próis advertising campaigns with messages that don’t portray women as sex objects or weak-willed ninnies but instead as hard hunting bad asses has created a mega-boom of followers and an extremely loyal fan base. I am one of them.

Other companies are following suit, but unfortunately, there is still a large gap in the outdoor industry when it comes to women and their buying power.

Boomers

One huge outdoor enthusiast segment wields more spending clout than any other: Baby boomer women. These women represent a portion of the buying public no marketer can afford to ignore (Mary Brown, Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer—The Baby-Boomer Woman). They are more financially empowered than any previous generation of women and are the healthiest, wealthiest and most active generation of women in history (Demographics by Mark Miller). Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States. The Boomer woman is a consumer that luxury brands and services want to resonate with (Claire Behar, Senior Partner and Director, New Business Development, Fleishman-Hillard New York). The more mature woman consumer places the highest priority in making memories and experiences. They don’t buy things to have more things; they want the experience to go along with it (Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing).

Boomer women are the marquee players in our country’s culture and commerce. They are educated, have a high income, and once the college bills are out of the way and children launch their own households, the discretionary spending power of 50-plus women soars. They spend 2.5 times what the average person spends (Karen Vogel, The Women’s Congress and co-founder and president of New Generation Event Solutions & Marti Barletta, Primetime Women). Women are the primary buyers for many big-ticket items like guns and once in a lifetime hunts. They’re also responsible for bringing the next several generations into the market and industry.

I’d Tap That

How can you tap into this giant market that’s ready, willing and able to spend their hard earned dollars? Ask questions. Hire a woman – or four – to help with your marketing and advertising. Talk to them. Women in this industry know what they want and they’re screaming those needs at the top of their lungs. All you have to do…is listen.