Marketing in the firearm industry is a tricky subject for many reasons. This is mainly due to our audience. We are trying to reach largely made up of men with an increasing female interest. How do we reach both markets with one add? It may not be possible. Let’s take a look at the two markets.
Women are showing more and more interest in a male dominated industry. Don’t believe that us guys have had control over the market? Take a look at any shotgun that will fit women. They are all labeled “youth”. Okay, that is primarily because our smaller framed counterparts are more prone to fit weapons made to fit an early teen boy that needs a shorter buttstock.
Some of the attempts have been to put pink camo stocks on a youth model. Is this good marketing or just fueling a stereotype? Does it scream “girl gun” because we put pink on the same youth model? It’s hard to say. We in no way want to offend women trying to get into shooting. We love the fact that they are wanting to join us on the firing line. So how do we approach women with a firearm that will fit them and do so without patronizing? I really don’t have an answer for you yet. I’m working on it though. So, ladies, stand by for more for you from Crusader.
Guys, for a long time it took very little actual marketing to get us to buy guns. You went to your dad’s closet, saw what brand he shoots (and what rifle we grew up hunting with) and ordered one out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog. As long as you made a decent rifle people kept coming back.
Then there is always the group that you throw a calendar full of scantily clad women holding rifles that made even the size of their bulging breasts look small and we were ready to buy. I’m not quite sure how that method works. Are they trying to say that if we buy their rifle we look like “brick house” chick in a bikini or that we will be able to get women that look like the picture if we buy that rifle? Either way who doesn’t like a busty women, right?
We’ve come a long way when it comes to firearm marketing but it’s still a tough process. When it comes to marketing to men…it’s probably more difficult that marketing to women. Why? Because we have very short attention spans and that’s not a bad thing. What may get us throw our credit cards and first born children at the gun shop clerk one day (while yelling “TAKE MY MONEY”) may not have the same reaction even later that day. Sure we do our homework but let’s face it, we are a very visually stimulated animal. So how do you come up with a marketing champagne that will keep men’s attention every day? I still haven’t figured that one out, guys, so if you know how to do this….please let me know.
Women I think is the easiest market to take advantage of and the one that has seen the least amount of effort given to it. Sure there is a portion of the market that if you throw pink on it somewhere then you are their hero. Then there are the ones that see that as playing to a negative stereotype. Take my twelve year old daughter, for instance. I have offered to do some pink camo for her and been informed that it would completely insult her because that camo won’t do her any good out hunting. We have a segment of the female market that takes their firearms as seriously as we do guys. Not taking advantage of that has us loosing sales.
I think catering to the female market is fairly easy. Consider who we’re marketing to. Many of them are smaller framed and, though tough chicks, don’t usually prefer a long gun that gives her, her daily workout just to hold up long enough to run a stage at her local 3gun match. So, give her a lighter weight barrel, a light handguard, an adjustable stock, and the ability to run the optics that she desires and you have something that she will like. Only thing left is to name it. When you do, give it a name that makes her feel like she is every bit the warrior that you want men to feel like when buying a rifle. The same thing goes for any other firearm type you are trying to sell to the ladies.
Any way you look at it marketing is not for the faint at heart. One method may work for some while offending others. You try to dress up a gun to make one group happy and it’s a slap in the fact to others. All we can do is keep trying.