POMA 2021 Conference Recap
We recently spent 3 days in Nashville Tennessee at the POMA 2021 annual conference. POMA stands for Professional Outdoor Media Association. They are comprised of outdoor media professionals and corporate partners like ourselves.
The time was spent in several seminars learning about social media marketing, making connections and partnerships. We worked to get the best utilization of our POMA membership. Then we had a half day mini trade show where we and other corporate partners displayed our wares. During this the media folks came around and got to know us and our products.
Thursday we spent half a day at the Strategic Edge gun range and had a host of media and industry folks come by and try our stuff out on the live fire range. We had a great time at the range and burned up 500 rounds of ammo.
Here are some of the top things we learned at this year’s conference about utilizing media for your outdoor and/or shooting sports business:
- In-Person Connections Are Always Best: Getting back to in-person shows is still the best way to communicate and meet like minded people. Nothing is better than face-to-face time and hands-on introductions to people and products. There is just only so much you can do in the virtual world. The same can be said for businesses. Have a presence in the digital world, but never forget how important your in-person interactions are with customers, especially if you have a brick and mortar store.
Your digital marketing should always be done with the intention of getting people into your store. That’s where the real connections can take place. If you only have a virtual store, make sure to try and establish that personal touch through great customer service, real-time online chats, and interactive social media posts.
- Be Careful Online: We learned from an industry professional who worked at Facebook for over a decade that they can and do restrict access to content they deem objectionable (shadowbanning). The gun industry really has a hard time getting traction on these platforms as we are often deemed “objectionable”. With the flick of a button they can enhance your reach or restrict it. This seems like censorship but they are a private company with terms of service and there is not much you can do about it but work with it.
We also found out that hashtags really do not do anything on Facebook and that some hashtags can help you and some can hurt you. The algorithms can change week-to-week or even day-to-day depending on political or social winds. Experiment with hashtags 1 at a time and see which are being suppressed and which are being lifted.
- Get in Your Local Gun/Outdoor Shows: These smaller, more intimate settings are much more conducive to getting to know folks better. Shot Show is great. The NRA show is great. But these smaller shows are much less hectic and everyone is not in GO,GO,GO mode. Sitting down over a meal and being able to chat and mingle at social hours is much easier for getting to really know someone. Make sure you have a presence at the state and local shows that are applicable to your business. All it takes is a couple reps, some of your products to show, and maybe a nice backdrop or other marketing materials to take with you.
- Media is More Than News: When you say Media you tend to think News. There are tons of media out there that you don’t really think of as media. Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Magazines, Blogs, etc. It’s a big list of ways to approach media marketing and these types of shows are a great way to meet and develop relationships with these folks who work in that world.
On your own you can only connect with so many people, the reach of these media folks can get you in front of millions of people potentially. Make sure to develop connections with media professionals and even local news outlets to get as much coverage as possible.
- Always Be Checking Out New Products: The coolest product we saw at POMA had to be the MantisX dry fire laser training system. This system allows you to train in your living room and gives you instant feedback on your phone or mobile device. You can see things like pre-trigger press movement, in-trigger press movement, and shot placement. With the live fire aspect it gives your recoil, rise data and recovery time between shots. This is a great way to evaluate triggers and muzzle devices!
We also got to see the new Taurus GX4 sub compact 9mm pistol. Taurus has come a long way in quality over the last decade and this gun shows just that. A subcompact 9mm pistol that rivals the sig P365 or Springfield Hellcat. Holds 11 rounds or 13 with the extended magazine. The trigger has been vastly improved over the G2 and G3. After dumping a couple mags out of one on the range I will be getting one.
All that to say – stay plugged in to the new offerings that are always coming out. If you run a gun store or other kind of retail shop that specializes in the shooting sports, then you need to know about these advancements that are coming out all the time. Follow blogs, subscribe to publications, follow influencers online – these are all great ways to know the latest and greatest in our industry.
Looking forward to next year’s POMA shooters showcase in Talladega Alabama. Plus there’s the 2022 conference in Kalispell, Montana. Check back here to see what else we learn!