As we move into 2024, the firearms marketing landscape for firearm brands continues to evolve (no surprise there), presenting challenges—and opportunities. It’s crucial to carefully rethink or plan your customer journey, considering aspects like messaging, branding, email, SEO, social media, and permitted paid advertising, as well as upsells and community engagement to keep your brand front and center and your business growing.
Adding to the complexity are the influences of AI, political dynamics (election year), and shifts in consumer behavior. Given these factors, I’m closely monitoring and sharing my top marketing insights and trends for the year.
1. Invest in Branding and Design
In an increasingly crowded market, establishing a solid brand identity is and still will be crucial. Brands need to focus on creating a compelling narrative and add their faces to their faceless brand (people want to do business with people) that resonates with their target audience. Striking visuals and cohesive design elements across all platforms, from packaging and direct mail (yes, it still works) to online presence, play a pivotal role in capturing and retaining consumer attention. Consistency in branding helps build trust and recognition, fostering a loyal customer base. But more than that, it will make your brand stand out in your segment and attract more customers.
TIP: Invest in design this year. With the power of Generative AI, most brands can invest more in their creativity from either in-house design teams, agencies, or private freelancers.
2. GenAI: Harness the Power of Artificial Intelligence
Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing strategies is becoming more prevalent. AI tools can provide valuable insights into consumer behavior, enabling brands to tailor their messaging and outreach more effectively. Conversational marketing with chatbots, voice/videobots (on the horizon), personalized recommendations, and AI-driven analytics are just a few examples of how GenAI can revolutionize how firearm brands engage with their audience.
Widely utilized tools such as HubSpot, Upfluence, Klaviyo, and Rank Math expedite the content, design, and development processes, enabling us to gain deeper insights into purchasing behaviors, search engine optimization, predictive analytics, and segmentation.
TIP: If you haven’t, work AI into your workflows. Start with Midjourney, ChatGPT, or BARD or HubSpot’s ChatSpot and begin experimenting. If something doesn’t turn out, keep in mind its getting smarter and better every day.
3. Enroll in the Parallel Economy and Don’t Forget Your Brand Values
Regrettably, our nation remains increasingly polarized along political lines. And with the election coming up, it will only intensify. The trend of corporate activism, often referred to as “wokeness,” is causing customers to distance themselves from previously culturally influential brands such as Disney, Bud Light, and others. Platforms like PublicSq, Mammoth Nation, and ExpertVoice.com are expected to gain even more traction in 2024. There is already a noticeable shift towards these platforms among online consumers. Customers now have a wide array of choices, with 10-20 options for everything, and brands that effectively communicate novelty and their unique brand values will emerge as standout choices.
TIP: Talk about your brand values for conservation, sustainability, 2A rights, or family values to stand out and break through the clutter. Consumers are actively looking for you!
4. Amplify Your Brand’s Reach and Engagement with Macro Influencers
Influencer marketing still remains a powerful tool, but budgets are shifting toward macro influencers (50K-100K) – individuals with influence at a much smaller scale and with more diverse and local followings. Collaborating with influencers authentically aligning with your brand’s values (mentioned in point 3) can significantly boost visibility and credibility. Firearm brands should seek partnerships beyond endorsements, fostering genuine connections with influencers who embody the lifestyle and ethos of their target audience. You can get more reach and awareness for less.
TIP: Find influencers who are plugged into women’s firearm networks, minority firearms groups, and online communities—or start one yourself! What was once very broad, the focus should be narrowed, and messages tailored per audience and their specific interests.
5. Capture Attention in Seconds with Video and Short Form Content
Video content continues to dominate online platforms, and the rise of short-form videos is unstoppable. Brands should invest in creating engaging and shareable videos that highlight product features, showcase outdoor experiences, and tell compelling stories. Platforms like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels will continue to offer a unique opportunity to connect with a younger audience, so crafting content that aligns with these platforms’ trends is essential.
TIP: I wouldn’t say I like TikTok and actively steer clear of the platform due to its questionable privacy practices and the fact that it is operated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, for those willing to explore it, TikTok offers a channel for influencers to connect with a younger audience. I prefer to stick with YouTube and Instagram—for now. It makes me sleep better at night.
6. Privacy and AI Bans: Navigating Regulatory and Possible Pending Search Challenges
With third-party cookie deprecation looming, brands must prioritize first-party data collection and utilization. Expect to see a shift towards self-service ad platforms and contextual targeting strategies.
The increasing scrutiny and regulation of artificial intelligence pose challenges for marketers. Brands in the firearm industry should stay informed about evolving AI regulations, ensuring compliance with ethical standards and privacy concerns. Proactively adjusting to evolving legal environments will be essential for preserving trust and credibility. Google’s AI is already inclined to suggest negativity towards firearms in search results. This tendency is likely to intensify over time, especially with the influence of the growing multi-million dollar anti-gun industry.
TIP: Create compelling user-first content and prepare for the possibility of a decline in traffic as AI starts providing answers to searchers’ questions that might have otherwise directed them to your blog or website. While everyone else is regurgitating AI generated content, create value based content written by humans.
In 2024, the marketing landscape for firearm brands is characterized by the dynamic interplay of technology, design, and shifting consumer expectations. Additionally, there are ongoing efforts to de-platform, ban, and exclude those with 2A and self-defense interests from the public square. By considering these tips and trends, you can strategically position your brand as an innovator, effectively connecting with and engaging your target audience through novel and compelling approaches.
Have you got a question? What are your marketing plans in 2024? Post it below.
FREE DOWNLOAD: 5 “Must Do” Firearm Marketing Tips for 2024
Are you ready for 2024?
Global conflicts, increasing crime rates, and a presidential election will define 2024. Defense-minded, law-abiding citizens will seek ways to enhance their sense of security for the protection of their families, properties, and rights. Prepare for this heightened interest by proactively organizing your website and firearms marketing strategies to capitalize on the upcoming surge.
Photo credit: Strikeman