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buyer persona Archives - Garrison Everest

Hunting-Outdoor-Firearm-Distribution

6 Considerations When Choosing Wholesale Firearms Distribution

By Firearms and Hunting

It’s come time to take your hunting, outdoor or firearms company to the next level.

You’ve gone to great lengths to prove your product is a winner and have a validated sales case study. You’ve figured out your inventory and fulfillment dilemmas and have the right people in place to scale your operation.

The next step is to generate more revenue, reach a broader audience and grow your brand.

Choosing a distributor for your custom tactical rifle, tree stand, hunting knife, optic or accessory can be a somewhat complicated process. When looking at expanding your business, you basically have three options in getting your product to your customers: Sell direct, use distribution or a combination of both.

A distributor— the proverbial middleman—maintains an active network of retailers and becomes your outsourced sales department leaving you to focus on your brand, operations and running your business. By utilizing a distributor, you ship your product to them and in most cases, they handle the rest.

In this article, are six considerations for new or emerging hunting, outdoor or firearms/accessories manufacturers considering distribution.

1. Know your customer

Believe it or not, one of your hardest questions to ask as a business owner is: Who—specifically—is our customer? I think most of us will admit we don’t know our customers as well as we should. By neglecting to have an accurate and well-defined customer or—buyer persona—you hinder the potential and effectiveness of your marketing and branding efforts once your product(s) goes mainstream.

Marketing is about knowing your customer better than anyone else. A strong marketing and branding program will entice and attract distributors and wholesalers. Communicate the specifics of your customer to your potential distributors (and/or dealers) for maximum sales and branding effectiveness.

2. Understand your product

A lot of times, you can loose focus on how your product will fit into the marketplace. Make sure to define what it is and how it will be merchandised. Is your product an aftermarket add-on or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) upgrade or both? Understanding how your product fits into the marketplace is key in negotiating terms and structuring a contract.

3. Define your pricing

Before setting up meetings with distributors, make sure to define your pricing that includes MSRP, MAP, Dealer, Distributor, and OEM—make sure to pad enough in for overhead and profit. This will help you determine who the right distributor is. If you fail to examine all the factors involved in your pricing, it could be detrimental to your business down the road.

4. Define your manufacturing and shipping volumes

Quality is everything in this industry since it is so highly concentrated. Never cut corners or sacrifice craftsmanship. Once word gets out that your product is faulty, it will be difficult to recover. 

In order to maintain quality—define your manufacturing and shipping volumes that you’ll be able to handle while still maintaining quality control.

If you are creating your product by injection molding and/or assembling in-house—what volume can you handle without having to expand? If you receive a large order from an OEM or a P.O. from Cabella’s—can you ramp up? Know what your capacities and contingencies are and prepare for it.

5. Don’t sign exclusive agreements, unless…

When you’re just starting out, it may be tempting to take that first exclusive deal. Only sign the agreement if it makes sense and if payment is made in advance.

6. Research and ask the important questions

When considering distribution, don’t go into it blindly. It can be a very exciting time in your business’ history, so do your due diligence to understand if the buyer is the right partner. Here are a few important questions to ask:

  • How many sales personnel does your company employ?
  • What are your distribution points?
  • What size of dealers do you typically work with?
  • What is your annual sales volume as a whole?
  • Do they market a similar product that has been successful? How much did they grow the product’s sales over the last three years?
  • What is the size of the initial purchase order size and what is your annual commitment to my product?
  • What are your terms? (Remember you are not a bank so be very careful of whom you give terms to. 30-90 days can seem like a lifetime if you have financial obligations like shop and equipment payments.
  • What are your limitations? Can I sell to dealers or consumers directly? If not, negotiate a higher price.

In conclusion, by understanding who your customer is, how your product fits into the market, manufacturing and shipping volumes, contract exclusions and asking the right questions—you’ll be better equipped to negotiate terms and identify the right distribution partner for your firearms, hunting or outdoor product.

Matt Burkett is President and Owner of Predator Tactical, a firearms manufacturer, accessories and training company. 

 

Hunting-Outdoor-Firearms-Buyer-Persona1

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Hunting, Outdoor & Firearms Marketer’s Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona

The key to maximizing your marketing efforts

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer is. This will enable you to set SMART goals to focus your marketing/branding and turn your website into a lead generating machine. It will also help you present your buyer persona to your team for internal alignment and clarity.

Download Now

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

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.

 

Brand-Development-Interview-Guide

How To Create A Brand Development Interview Guide

By Brand Development

To discover what your brand stands for—you must start by asking your customers/clients the right questions.

By asking the wrong questions, you can completely miss the most important insights of how people view and feel about your brand.

As a marketer, you may have been tasked to rebrand your company or improve your brand’s performance. Within the brand development process one of the best ways to understand if your message and reputation is where you want it to be—is to interview your stakeholders and customers or clients.

In this article, I’ll share six points that will help you ask the right questions to accurately identify your customers/client’s perceptions, beliefs, feelings and motives. Your findings will give you a rich insight into how your brand is perceived and will equip you to build a more effective brand.  

 Brand interviews should consist of the following: 

  1. Basic demographic information
  2. Brand experiences
  3. Brand understanding
  4. Frequented marketing channels
  5. Feedback on how to improve the brand’s product or service.

The interview should only last about 30 minutes and consist of 10-15 questions (max). It may be necessary to create three different questionnaires depending on whom you’re interviewing. As an example, customer questions will be different than partner or internal stakeholder questions.

So let’s dig in…

1. Understand your industry’s challenges
To begin forming your questions, begin by looking at your industry. Every industry has some kind of challenge. Identify what those challenges or pain points are. Here are a few examples: 

  • Healthcare — regulation
  • Medical Device  — limited creative
  • Estate Planning — customer retention
  • Construction — antiquated processes
  • Retail — customer interest
  • Utilities — customer service

To get some background, start by doing some internet research to familiarize yourself with common industry obstacles and category imperatives. Twitter is a great place to start to locate industry news sources. This will give you a good foundation and help you in drafting your initial list of questions.

2. Interview your brand’s key stakeholders
The second step is to benchmark your investigation. Start with your company’s key stakeholders. This may include the CEO, COO, CTO and Sales Director. A lot of times, they will have insight that you may not have known or realized. Make sure to schedule your time via email well in advance. Try to pick a day where they are not too busy. Be aware and prepared to answer any potential skepticism. Their answers will give you a foundation of knowledge to test against.

[box type=”info” size=”large”]Interview Tip: Occasionally, you’ll encounter a cold facade that you’ll have to break through to get to the real truth. Don’t accept just any answer if you feel the answer given is too shallow, rephrase and ask it later on.[/box]

3. Interview your brand’s customers
To begin the customer survey, get buy-in from your stakeholders to conduct the interview and get feedback on the questions you want to ask. The best place to start is with your social media followers as they have already opted in to receive communication from you. Depending on how large of company you are, you may be able to personally email your customers to arrange the interviews.

Don’t rule out those passive-silent customers/clients. Their experiences with your brand are just as important to understand as those following you on social media. Make sure you have a variety of people to draw from. Interview your happiest customers as well as the ones who have constant complaints.

Interview Tip: You will encounter difficulty with scheduling.  I suggest asking 2-3 interviewees at a time over the course of 2-3 days. Use a tool like Sidekick to ensure your emails are received.

Interview 15-20 people (or as many as you can as time allows) and make sure to follow the same format throughout. If you are a bigger company, you may want to hire a marketing research firm. Remember, the better the questions, the better your investigation will be.

It may be necessary to send out an online survey through Survey Monkey for larger samples. 

Interview Tip: Don’t ask leading questions, focus your questions on getting a specific answer, don’t interrupt and try to transition naturally.

4. Analyze your answers
After you’ve completed each individual interview, write your responses on a whiteboard of what stood out to you and begin to look for potential trends.

5. Create your buyer personas
What is a buyer persona? Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what your customers/clients say it is.

By creating buyer personas, you will be able to focus your brand’s messaging, content and visuals to your customers/clients more effectively.

6. Brand alignment
As your interviews come to conclusion—your brand should begin to rise to the top. You should begin to see differences between what your company says versus what your customers say about your brand. 

The interviews will prepare you to conduct an educated and insightful brand discovery session where you will drill more into the internal side and business strategy of the brand. More to come on this later…

In conclusion, to begin the development of your brand, start by conducting industry research online, interview your key stakeholders, interview your customers, analyze your responses for misalignment and look for trends. Create your buyer personas to laser focus your messaging, visual and content.

Download a sample interview guide below to get started!

 

 

brand-interview-guideFree Download:
Brand Development Interview Guide 

Discovering your brand starts with asking the right questions. Use this guide to draft the right questions to uncover your brand.

 

 

 

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands 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.