The Archery Industry, Youth Archers and This Archery Parent’s Thoughts –

Let us start with the facts.  One, the largest growth in archery is the youth. Two, the archery industry is struggling. Three, social media is essential to the industry.  This year the archer and this parent attended the ATA show in Indianapolis.

The ATA show is essential to the industry.  This is a time for education, new product reveals and re-energizing the owners.  This year the show offered a few educational speakers directed at the youth archers. Unfortunately, all the seminars run at the same time, first thing in the morning.  This leaves tough decisions on what to attend if they even choose to get up that early.  Unless your only focus is on the youth, there are many other important seminars that could be chosen.  Why not have them throughout the day?

The industry invests a tremendous amount of revenue in the exhibits.  Simply put, many were intimidating to this archer parent.  The time was divided between assisting friends at a booth (staff had to stay home due to the flu bug), walking the show several times to observe, and going on coffee and food runs.   Now, the “job” at the booth was equivalent to being a Wal-mart greeter essentially.  In the wandering around time, there lacked attention to the youth.  If the largest growth is in the youth and the female youth specifically,  it was disappointing to see that most manufacturers are still falling short.

There were the usual youth programs at the show.  Yet, they did not focus on the growth aspect that the youth are bringing to the industry.  In this archery parents opinion, there is an “aging out” and “aging in” hitting the industry.  The “aging out” archers at those that have dedicated the last 10 to 15 years of there life shooting and increasing the marketing.  However, they are starting to do less, they are having families and the travel is wearing on them.  There is the “aging in” archers, these are the top youth archers that are on the heels of the pros, however, they are still young.  Many are just turning 18 or will be soon.  They are focused on high school, college and growing up.  There appears to be a gap.

These “aging in” archers are largely ignored by the industry.  Yes, some have contracts and only a few were seen at the ATA show.  This is where the industry needs to pay more attention.  Social media is “extremely” important to the industry.  The youth archer has the best grasp of the social media.  The youth are the future of the industry.  It would be beneficial for the industry to start targeting the youth.  Today, it is easier to find products that are designed for the youth, but there are still large holes and often the youth are required to adapt to products not designed for them.

This archery parent is not a supporter of large marketing campaigns directed at specific youth.  Yes, it would be amazing to see a poster with your archers face advertising, however, they are not ready for the pressures it brings to them.  They are too young.  However, targeting them for ideas and opinions would bring new and fresh ideas to the table.  What do the youth want to see on social media?  More podcasts?  More live streaming?  More ideas and programs just for the youth?

There are more young archers starting athlete pages.  However, essentially, until they are winning consistently at the upper levels, there is not much attention paid to them.  How do I know?  It was asked.  They do not really care much, yet.  Imagine if they took time to engage the youth, this would start to grow loyalties sooner.  The youth are often star-struck by the top archers and these archers directly affect sales. If the manufacturer had youth growth programs they could essentially start to rebuild the industry.   With the shift in social media playing such an important role in the industry and the youth being the largest users of social media,  where is the connection?

This archery parent has a marketing background, with the main focus on merchandising.  Walking through all the top manufacturers in the industry, it was disappointing to see the lack of attention to the youth.  There are some great and simple ways to help shops grow in customer base and essentially revenue.  Start focusing on the youth.





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