Attendees at the 2014 NSSF Industry Summit were kept engaged through the jam-packed schedule June 9-11 in Springfield, Mass. Over 210 attendees convened to learn more about what is currently being implemented to target shooting and hunting participation and to be given forward-looking strategies. Leaders from the firearms industry participated, representing a blend of ranges, retailers, manufacturers, state fish and wildlife agencies and conservation organizations.
The Summit began with a presentation on the “Models of Success” program, offering a proven blueprint for projects to boost target shooting and hunting participation. These programs began in 2010, and the presentation showed the overall effectiveness of pilot programs launched to date. Not only were pilots that were effective highlighted but also pilots that were not as effective. It is just as important to show programs that didn’t have the intended outreach so they are not duplicated and so time and funds will be better used elsewhere.
Energetic and innovative speakers provided the attendees with presentations on forward-thinking trends and how to market to your audience. Keynoters were Jeremy Gutsche, author of Exploiting Chaos and founder of Trendhunter.com, and Jonah Berger, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the bestselling book Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
The breakout sessions were led by multiple presenters on a variety of topics, featuring TED-style talks, which are concise 15-minute presentations. Presenters responded to a “call for presentations” and were chosen to present during these sessions. Topics highlighted were diversity, marketing, target shooting participation and responses to social media attacks, as well as special events that work.
A topic that was discussed and presented several times during the Summit was the need to diversify our customer base. By the year 2030, nearly one-third of the U.S. population will be Latino. With these eye-opening numbers, we need to begin to look at how we can welcome and encourage multi-cultural participation to the shooting sports. Speaker John C. Robinson, author of Birding for Everyone, told Summit attendees about the strategies he has seen work in his 30 years of encouraging youth and minorities to enjoy nature and the outdoors.
An NSSF-led Latino outreach pilot program was also discussed during the general session. NSSF is currently encouraging the Latino communities in the Miami area to visit a participating shooting range. A multi-media campaign will welcome and encourage Latino shooters to visit a website to choose a range that fits their needs and give target shooting a try. As this pilot programs progresses throughout this year, NSSF will be showcasing the results of the advertising campaign and the overall participation during the 2015 NSSF Industry Summit.
This initiative will be rolled-out to other areas around the country and will be looking for more ranges to help introduce new, multicultural customers. Keep in mind how you can diversify your customer base and participate in this effort.
We are currently planning the agenda for the 2015 NSSF Industry Summit and hope to see you there. That Summit will take place June 2-4 in Savannah, Ga. In the next couple of months, NSSF will be rolling-out another Call for Presentations for breakout session topics and presenters. Please be on the look-out for these announcements. Also, the 2015 Summit will be focused on where we, as an industry, are on hitting the goal of increasing hunting and target shooting participation by 20 percent over the last five years. Diversity will be another theme of this upcoming Summit.
We want you to be a stakeholder in the future of hunting and the shooting sports. Please remember to mark your calendars to play a part in continuing the upward trend of participation in the industry. Your continued involvement will play an important role not only in making this event a success but also in the future prosperity of hunting and the shooting sports.