Charting A Course For Future Growth

What will it take to increase participation in hunting and target shooting during the next five years?

There’s no shortage of recommendations: new products (innovative, of course), exciting promotions, tempting rebates, cutting-edge advertising, more places to hunt and shoot, maximizing social media, fewer anti-gun, -hunting, -shooting, -gun ownership restrictions, etc.

Sounds good. But how do we make all that happen so that it produces the most ROI, especially in an ever-changing market and a determined anti-gun/industry environment?

The NSSF Industry Summit in June provided a look at the challenges of increasing participation and provided a significant number of valuable recommendations to grow the industry.

More than 210 leaders from the industry, state wildlife agencies and conservation organizations attended the event in Springfield, Mass. This year’s summit had a strong, energized atmosphere, with presentations that produced real tools for growth.

“At Industry Summits, NSSF’s goal is to serve as a catalyst for research-based, innovative strategies and programs that will help ensure a positive future for the shooting sports,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior VP and chief marketing officer. “This is a different approach from the previous generation of Summits, at which NSSF was seen as the implementer of programs. It is an approach that meets the demands for broad-based outreach that is necessary for success in our times.”

Yes, it’s a different market today. Times have changed. “Forward-looking strategies” was a key theme at this year’s Summit. Some of the presentations likely rattled some attendees’ thinking, such as those by two highly energetic speakers, Jeremy Gutsche and Jonah Berger.

Gutsche is the author of Exploiting Chaos and founder of Berger, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, is the author of the bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Their challenge: Think differently, think innovatively.


Rob Southwick, Southwick Associates, reviews the benefits of using
social media to recruit and retain hunters.


Millennials present their thoughts on gun ownership, hunting and shooting.

A panel of seven, representing the Millennial Generation, presented their honest, straightforward opinions on gun ownership, hunting and shooting as a recreational sport. Their insights are particularly valuable, because these 100 million Millennials — the largest generation ever — are an essential customer base.

Katie Pavlich, reporter for and Fox News contributor, and Dana Loesch, host of radio’s “The Dana Show” and “Dana” on The Blaze television network, reinforced what we all know — much of the mainstream media is biased. They related their battles with anti-gun media and offered tips on how to handle media interviews.

Successful programs that grew out of past Summits were also reviewed, including the ROI of using social media in recruiting and retaining hunters. NSSF says a report on these models of success will be available soon.

The Summit also presented 14 breakout sessions, with a highly diverse range of topics, including market intelligence, hunter recruitment and retention, holding successful special events, handling social media attacks and diversity outreach.

Salutes to NSSF for holding this valuable event. The lessons learned will make a difference in building the industry’s future.
Mark your calendars to attend next year’s summit in Savannah, Ga., June 2-4.



Cpl. Kyle Carpenter (left) enjoys range time during his tour of FN Manufacturing.

Cpl. Kyle Carpenter Visits FN Manufacturing

In June, the week before Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter was presented the Medal of Honor for heroism in Afghanistan, he toured the FN Manufacturing facility in Columbia, S.C. To learn about FN’s manufacturing operations, he spent time talking with employees and participated in a live-fire demonstration of FN firearms.

Cpl. Carpenter, a former SAW gunner, received the Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a grenade to protect a fellow Marine.
To view the tour, visit, search “Cpl. Kyle Carpenter visits FN Manufacturing.” SI Digital readers, click the “Hot Link” logo.
By Russ Thurman

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