The title of this FFL Unleashed monthly column is “Critical Intelligence.” To be honest, we hope you’re finding everything you read in each issue to be critical intelligence for optimizing your FFL business. However, more than any issue so far, we hope you find value in this discussion of marketing to Millennials. Whether you realize it or not, they are a big part of your market already, and they become more important to it every day. They are worth consideration by sheer size if nothing else. Nearly one in three Americans alive today is a member of the Millennial Generation.
Millennials are going to represent the bulk of your customers for decades into the future. Learning “what makes them tick” and how to best market to them will be the difference not only between the businesses who prosper and those who falter, but between businesses who survive and those who do not.
If you need more evidence, look at the new positions manufacturers who make the products you sell are adding to their teams–social media directors, chief creative officers, content marketing specialists, and more. They clearly see their products will be sold to a new kind of customer who views the world very differently than the Baby Boomers and even Gen Xers you’re used to selling to. If you don’t learn about Millennials and change your business to meet their needs and desires, then there will be a disconnect between the manufacturers and the customers. Ultimately, sales will still be made, but they’ll reroute through new channels that will leave you entirely out of the game.
Additionally, because of its size, Millennials will wield an enormous amount of power via the voting booth for decades to come. If they are unfamiliar with firearms and the good they can do, chances are those votes will go against us. So not only is positively familiarizing Millennials with the world of responsible gun ownership and the shooting sports important to your business from a sales perspective, it’s vital in ensuring the laws under which you will operate down the road. In reality, studies show the Millennial Generation is arguably the most open-minded age group America has ever seen. The amount of information available to them is, by far, the greatest ever, and they know how to access it quickly. They are also discerning about what they believe and do not believe. That’s good for the firearms and shooting industry as long as we take seriously the importance of creating positive interactions and good news truth about guns. They can be won to our side if we deliver the right messages in the right places.
The good news is we don’t have to “fake” anything. Just extend a welcoming hand. Introduce them positively to firearms, shooting sports and personal defense. Tear down any perceived barriers to accessing your store or the world of firearms. Answer their questions accurately. Ask them questions that make them feel engaged. Don’t be scared of them, because they are the future of your business.
Bill Miller, Executive Editor, FFL Unleashed