Business Blog

Marketing to Millennials a Key to Business Growth


In the outdoor industry, a successful selling strategy usually begins with marketing to the core audience of hunters and shooters – avid outdoor enthusiasts who are primed and ready to spend on products that will enhance their sport. From there you may try to identify additional potential buyers. First-time hunters might be a target group. Female hunters could be another. There are plenty of ways to slice and dice demographics and find the ones worth marketing to.


One demographic that sometimes presents a challenge is the Millennial. People born between 1982 and 2004 (give or take a couple of years, depending on whose definition you’re using) are classified as Millennials. If you’re in the manufacturing or retail business, this is a varied group. While a Millennial could be a kid with little purchasing power, it could also be a 29-year-old college grad with a six-figure income.


Before you can market anything to Millennials, you have to understand them. The National Shooting Sports Foundation commissioned an in-depth study to, among other things, explore barriers to getting Millennials involved in shooting sports and owning firearms. The study was conducted for the NSSF by Youth Pulse, Inc., a company that specializes in marketing to Millennials. This study comprised a series of detailed online discussions with participants ages 21 to 31. It was specific to shooting, but a number of relevant points can be applied to outdoor pursuits or hunting as well.


Recommendations and comments resulting from the study:

  • Focus on the accessibility of the sport and the ease of getting started, emphasizing that beginners will be welcomed and guided by experts.
  • Provide step-by-step guidance on how to get started with target or range shooting (or encourage ranges to have beginners-only classes, with discounts or deals for multiple visitors so they can come with friends).
  • Make it easier for them to find the right information and data about shooting sports, instead of telling them what to do or think about the sport.
  • Millennials don’t want to be told what to do, they want it to be easier to find what they are looking for to make their own informed decisions.
  • Emphasize the “I’ll try anything once” message that appeals to their experiential nature.
  • Look for opportunities to communicate “Better Together” messaging and promotional offers.


Millennials aren’t “kids.” They are a diverse, influential group with huge buying power. Are you welcoming Millennials to your business? Have you done anything lately to invite a new generation to enjoy the outdoors? These are important questions as you strategize on ways to grow your business beyond your core customers.