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Find Outdoor Product-Market Fit in 4 Steps

hunting firearms outdoor product-market fit

Do you have a game-changing idea for a new product in the outdoor, hunting, or firearms industry?

You likely came up with this idea after encountering a problem where the product you purchased either broke or failed to meet its promises. Whatever your idea, you probably wonder if you can make it into something you can sell.

Most entrepreneurs can’t resist the challenge of inventing something and making it a reality. As you might already know – you might have been born to do this.

Every day, there are individuals with great ideas who possess the imagination, talent, and unique insight to see things that others cannot. However, it’s hard to tell how many of these ideas have been lost over time due to hesitation or a lack of knowledge about where to begin. This lack of action has likely prevented these ideas from coming to fruition, which is a shame because they could have helped many people.

In this article, I will introduce you to a topic called product-market fit.

It is the first step in the brand development process, and it is an approach I have used for over 20 years to develop brands in the outdoor, hunting, firearms, and shooting sports industries.

And here’s why: Over 30% of businesses fail (some sources say as high as 90%) because their offering fails to achieve product-market fit.

“In other words, no one is eating what you are cooking.”

It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their hard-earned money, homes, retirements, and savings due to failed business ventures.

A client contacted me seeking marketing assistance after cashing in his retirement to start a business. However, the product failed to gain traction in the market as the problem it solved was more of a “nice to have” rather than a “must-have.” Unfortunately, the company ran out of cash before they could turn it around.

It’s a painful reminder of how unpredictable and unforgiving the business world in the outdoor industry can be.

Understanding the concept of product-market fit is crucial for dedicated entrepreneurs. This understanding can help keep you on the right track as you work towards solving a problem that many people have. Over time, finding the right solution can lead to building the company of your dreams, bringing with it benefits such as freedom, being your own boss, and increased income.

Starting a business in the outdoor, hunting or firearms industry involves taking risks and it’s not for those who give up easily.

However, with some upfront work, you can reduce the risks and ensure that your leap of faith has a soft landing.



Step 1: Understanding Product-Market Fit


What is product-market fit? Product-market fit is simply whether or not you have a market for your product (service or offering) at the right time that will allow you to build a viable, profitable, and sustainable business.

After all, if you can’t make enough money from your product to cover the development, production, and marketing costs while being profitable—would it be worth it?

Marc Andreessen (the person who coined the term) defines product-market fit: being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.

Every top brand that comes to mind has achieved product-market fit, including products like the iPhone, Gatorade, Glock 17, and Trijicon’s ACOG, to name a few. These products solved a massive problem in an enormous market at just the right time.

Action Item: Solve a problem that a lot of people have. Then figure out how to solve it.



Silencer Central Product-Market Fit

CEO, Brandon Maddox of Silencer Central

Step 2: Research Industry Facts and Trends

Researching industry facts and segment trends is crucial to ensure that your product can grow into a sustainable business.

Start by researching industry facts and trends. You should analyze market reports, top products, industry publications, and relevant data to gain insights into customer preferences, market size, growth potential, and emerging technologies.

You can identify new market segments, anticipate customer needs, and develop innovative solutions by staying up-to-date with industry facts and trends. Researching industry facts and trends is essential so you understand if the segment you are entering is sustainable and thriving.

If you have a game-changing product, what is it going to take to build awareness and move customers to this new segment?

Over the past year, there has been a significant push in the silencer space, with Silencer Central making strides to capture market share from its competitors. Silencer Central has simplified a complicated process by helping their customers through a difficult purchase.

By understanding the market dynamics and customer preferences, you can develop strategies to thrive and adapt rapidly in the changing business environment and identify aggressive brands making big moves to capture market share.


Action Item: Identify industry facts and trends.



Step 3: Understand Search Trends

Understanding internet search trends is also crucial for you to optimize your online presence and reach your target audience effectively. By analyzing search data, you can identify popular keywords, topics, and search queries relevant to your product, service, or offering. Since internet marketing is the first place you’ll start, its important what you have to work with and can expect.

Use tools like Google Trends, Exploding Topics or Answer the Public to track the popularity of specific keywords that pertain to your product over time to understand search trends. This will help you identify emerging trends, seasonal variations, and customer interests.

Product Market Fit Brands Tracking

By understanding search trends, you can know if your product has a stable or growing interest. Search interest and trends are another indication of whether or not you can achieve product-market fit.

When assisting my clients in assessing the fit between their product and its target market, we guide/coach them on thoroughly examining search trends and keyword volumes. Over the years of marketing businesses online, I can confidently determine the amount of organic search traffic that can be generated to drive sales. Additionally, I can estimate the portion of the marketing budget that needs to be allocated to SEO/content marketing and paid search advertising in order to achieve revenue goals and generate a positive return on investment.

Action Item: 93% of searches start with a search engine.



Step 4: Competitive Analysis

Conducting competitive analysis is another crucial measure for you to understand the competitive landscape and identify growth opportunities—or what I call the “whitespace.”

By analyzing your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, positioning, offering, and pricing, you can understand what and who you are up against and develop strategies to differentiate your product and gain a competitive advantage.

When conducting competitive analysis, you must gather information about your competitors’ products, pricing, marketing campaigns, distribution channels and customer feedback. Additionally, you should take a look at your competitors’ social media feeds to understand who their target audience is. By doing this, you will be able to identify gaps in the market, develop more precise and unique value propositions, and stand out from the competition.

This may involve adding unique features to your product, investing in a robust customer service department, or targeting specific niche markets to get a foot hold.

Action Item: By understanding your competitors and the market dynamics, you can position your product and become a brand your customers love from day one.



How will you know if you achieve product-market fit?

The companies I’ve worked with tend to experience an upshift when they achieve product-market fit. You feel a change in momentum as your sales increase and positive customer reviews start to roll in.

Brand Survey with NPS

Net Promoter Score by HubSpot

It’s important to have standardized tracking in place to measure key metrics and determine if there is a product-market fit.

At Garrison Everest we track the following metrics in HubSpot Service Hub:

  • Qualified traffic and leads
  • Repeat customers and returns
  • Reviews, NPS (Net Promoter Score) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction)
  • Email subscribers
  • Forum and social media mentions
  • Social media engagement (not followers)
  • Sales

We use digital dashboards so you have access to your most essential metrics 24/7 allowing you to pause, pivot or accelerate marketing efforts that saves cost and time.

You will know you achieve product-market fit when everything lines up and growth comes easily and organically. If words get out on the street, you have a good product; you just need to stay out of your own way.

Outdoor Industry Marketing Results

Outdoor Industry Marketing Results


So in conclusion, conduct thorough research on your industry segment, analyze keyword interest and traffic, identify your competitors, and determine the necessary steps to compete against them. By tracking the right measures and metrics, you can discover the ideal market fit for your outdoor product, get a good grasp on keyword interest and traffic, understand who your competitors are and what will be needed to compete against them to find the “whitespace” and track the right measures and metrics. All this can be used to create a business plan and a winning brand and marketing strategy.



Joshua Claflin

Josh Claflin, as the President of Garrison Everest, specializes in assisting businesses related to outdoor activities, hunting, adventure, and shooting sports. He focuses on developing effective messaging, branding, and digital marketing strategies that can help these businesses expand their brand presence, increase website traffic, build a larger contact list, and grow their customer base.

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