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Should You Market Your Firearm Brand on GunTV?

By April 4, 2016August 7th, 2016Firearms and Shooting

The new live television shopping network for guns launched last Friday (March 31st, 2016). According to GunTV’s website, the channel will address the need for education, information, and safety regarding firearms commerce in America while responsibly offering access to purchasing firearms and related consumer goods live from 1 AM to 7 AM in the morning (for starters) with the hope of being live 24/7/365. 

I spent a few hours watching the program online this weekend and in this post share my initial thoughts—from a marketing perspective—whether GunTV is a viable option for marketers in the firearm and hunting industry to reach their prospective buyers.

1. What is a home shopping network?

The idea of a home shopping network is a new concept in the firearm and hunting industry. So to gain some understanding of how home shopping networks work, let’s take a look at a few statistics:

  • The largest home shopping network is QVC (the largest of HSN, ShopNBC or Evine) that broadcasts to over 235 million homes in six countries. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • QVC converts 17% of their TV viewers to online buyers. (Source: Internet Retailer
  • Home shopping networks viewership consists mainly of women whose ages range from 25-54, with a household income of $60,000 (Source: Entrepreneur).
  • Women are more likely than men to watch home shopping networks. (Source: Google, Consumer Behavior)
  • Ron Perlstein of Target Marketing says: “Truth be told, it’s the female of our species who has made home shopping the miracle of modern merchandising. So, if your target market is females over the age of 40, get ready to turn home shopping into a home-run derby for every product in your line.”
  • HSN and QVC’s online web sales range from 13-16% (Source 2004: Tripod)
  • The sales pitch is a backyard chat. (Source: Mental Floss)

It’s no secret that the womens segment in the firearm and hunting industry is exploding with an 85% increase in female shooters and hunters from 2001 to 2013 (Source: NSSF). With these points in mind, I see GunTV as an opportunity for manufacturers to reach women and beginner shooters. It will be interesting to see if GunTV can attract a balanced audience of both women and men. GunTV looks to add a strong social media presence that drives traffic to their online shopping cart that may help balance the audience. However, with Facebook’s latest ban on selling firearms, this may be a tricky line to walk.  

2. Safety-oriented

One of GunTV’s major premises is safety. The hosts take a lot of time explaining how a firearm works along with instruction on how to properly handle one. After each segment, there are two to three minutes of public service announcements devoted to safety tips. These sections include information from the NCPC, Remington’s 10 Commandments of Gun Safety (below) and NRA’s Eddie Eagle


3. An opportunity for startups

“Home shopping networks have the potential to rapidly get your product or invention out to the masses with the intention of being seen and purchased by millions,” says Kellie Oliver, Home Shopping Network Expert. GunTV may provide a much-needed opportunity for startups to build awareness and boost initial sales. 

4. Will GunTV work?
Below is a video on how GunTV works:

The network’s founders Valarie Castle and Doug Bornstein (The Social Responsibility Network) have been in the multi-media marketing business for over 30 years, and both have worked at home shopping networks. Their past positions and experience include K-Tel Direct, Positive Response TV, Guthy-Renker, Rolling Stone Magazine, National Lampoon and A&M Records. Their client list includes the successes of Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, Tony Robbins and more. (Source: Fundable) The company is based in California, near Palm Springs. 

As of this post date, only a handful of manufacturers which include manufacturing conglomerate Taurus, based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Legacy Sports International (Howa Rifles and Citadel), Magnum Research (Kahr Firearms Group) have signed up, along with a few items from Magpul and Beretta. GunTV has partnered with Sports South, a large and long-established gun wholesaler based in Shreveport, Louisiana, which supplies Walmart and gun shops across the country, to be its distributor.

Time will tell if industry marketers accept GunTV. Larger and more established brands will need to commit before GunTV can reach its promise of offering a vast selection of products.

It’s only been a few days, but I find GunTV at this point in its early stages to be a considerable option for marketers wanting to reach women and beginner shooters.

What are your thoughts on GunTV?  


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

Joshua Claflin

Josh Claflin, President of Garrison Everest, specializes in helping business and marketing leaders in the outdoor, hunting, adventure, and shooting sports industries create clear messaging and digital marketing programs that grow business.