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Confused which customer to market to? Or maybe which ad-tech and overall approach will have the biggest impact to your shop, outfitter, clothing or guide business? Small to medium sized businesses (SMB’s) who’ve not modernized in the last 5-10+ years may have a hard time making sense of things or knowing where to place your precious few bets for business growth. The consumer has changed, so has the marketplace. Plus, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, Blockchain, augmented and mixed reality platforms – who’s to make sense of it? Everything seems backwards.

Part 2 of 3 Ways To Modernize Outdoor, Conservation, and Hunting Brands covers a personalized approach to marketing in part, through Location-Based Marketing (LBM). LBM has been around a while though largely ineffective due to a variety of reasons. Today, the intersection of emerging technologies and data accessibility have kicked the door open for marketers to leverage. That means just about any SMB brand, but particularly those supporting the outdoor, conservation, firearms, hunting, fishing or motorsports industry looking to find unique and personal ways for intimate interactions contextually relevant to your consumer, Location-Based Marketing is worth a hard look.

Be sure to check out The Total Archery Challenge mock campaign I drafted around the Salt Lake City event next month leveraging a Location-Based Marketing approach. It’s all made-up of course, CRRNT is not (yet) working with any of the brands mentioned in the post but we’ll walk through a likely user scenario in a way that makes sense for small businesses and the authenticity needed for brands and consumers to interact meaningfully. There are tons of opportunities to leverage personalized marketing for outdoor brands, the mock campaign written for the Total Archery Challenge through the integration of real-time data and location-based targeting is but one flavor.

If you’d like to read more about the future balance of technology, hunting, and modern conservation, check out Robots and Hunting along with 10 Predictions for Hunting By 2028. 


Part 2: Personalized Marketing

Not too many years ago, a friend shared the method of deer hunting his father-in-law preferred. They’d drive into hunt a game management unit (GMU) without doing one iota of research, scanning harvest reports, posting to message boards, asking around, or Google Earth much less glancing at a map before the car ride began. Upon arriving at the parking lot or trailhead, they’d get out of the car, look around, pick a direction, and start hunting (i.e., walking around) for deer with their 30-30’s in tow. Not surprisingly, they never saw a single deer over many years of “hunting” trips.

Many small to medium sized businesses (SMB’s) making up the outdoor, conservation, hunting, and fishing industries largely market the same way my friends father-in-law hunts. An increasingly younger and more tech-savvy global consumer seek more relevant interactions while brands stuck following the same ol’ playbook of marketing to their consumers essentially, via megaphones – or without personalization, are simultaneously speaking to everyone and no one at the same time. Marketers have wanted to leverage more accurate personalized or targeted marketing for a long time but unable to reliably because of the complexity and enormous cost to do it right. That isn’t the case any longer.

There’s a better way.


Location-Based Marketing (LBM) isn’t a new approach. Marketers have long envisioned a market where a specific consumer leisurely walking by a local coffee shop on a hot day is served a personalized offer for an iced vanilla latte while the next consumer walking alongside the first, is served an entirely different offer for mocha Frappucinno. At the most basic level, location-based marketing places an emphasis on real-time communication in the right place, at the best time and with the relevant message/offer establishing a one-to-one relationship with target customers.

Location-Based Marketing has been historically burdened with challenges. Ad targeting, proximity accuracy, and data reliability made it difficult for marketers or consumers effectively to realize it’s true value. We’ve all been waiting for technology to catch up, it has. 

Pokemon Go changed the game for marketers

Pokemon Go changed the game for marketers

Believe it or not, when Pokémon Go launched onto the scene a few years ago, it changed everything. The explosion of Pokemon Go was a perfect combination of modern tools, accessibility to huge data sets, and augmented reality tech. Marketers discovered the ability to reach an appropriately sized audience through geolocation data but also contextual relevance a consumer might have with that location. That insight provides analytical data for brands/marketers to act upon. Brands are beginning to see the Location-Based value Pokemon Go provided with an impressive forecast of 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) exceeding $99 billion by 2025. Location-Based marketing only going to get more precise in coming years.


Brick-and-motor small to medium sized businesses (SMB’s) desperately need a way to fend off so much business going to large online behemoths resulting in waves of retail stores continuing to close. Using mobile device data, consumer insights, and emerging technologies, Location-Based-Marketing is one of the ways brick-and-mortar can combat this shift is by creating hyper-personal campaigns triggered by proximity to a store leveraging this approach. There are plenty of other things that would need to be put in place, but this would help.

  1. Real Value to SMB Retail – Online campaigns drive in-store foot traffic resulting in valuable brick-and-mortar retail visits, targeted sales, or brand interaction without nuisance of standard marketing.
  2. Your Brand Will Stand Out – Few, if any brands within the outdoor industry are leveraging this approach – yet. In a world where many brands follow the same marketing playbook.
  3. Strengthens Brand Loyalty – Consumers are starving for connected, personalized experiences with the brands they love. Those brands that invest in personalized experiences greatly increase chances naturally mature into vocal and powerful brand advocates.

As marketers, we have the ability to find out how much money consumers make, their hobbies, education level, where they like to spend their discretionary income, entertainment preferences, likely political party, religious believes, and even how frequently they visit Starbucks. The mobile data, combined with behavioral insights unlock an opportunity for small to medium-size businesses supporting the outdoor, conservation, hunting, and fishing industries.

Location-Based Marketing enables brands to create contextually relevant, real-time interactions with consumers who already love their brand and what it stands for.

The wearable platforms are Intersecting at just the right time outdoor enthusiasts, backpackers, anglers, and hunters alike are thirsty for greater data insights on fitness routes, times, and biometric performance data. Take any of the popular obstacle course races, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder or even a marathon like the Rock and Roll held here in Seattle each year (insert link) – you’ll see a rainbow of wearable tech, GPS and sports manufacturer integration with wellness plans and diets. The ability for brands to accurately target individuals in real-time has been mediocre at best, until now.


Fitness Wearable Comparison Sample Set

It will feel like an all of a sudden shift but through a combination of data accessibility, smart people to help make sense of the data, and emerging technologies – a collection of brands consumers give data permission to like Gatorade, MTN OPS , Cliff Bars, Budweiser, or Jack Links begin appealing to the factors that influence your purchase consideration set the most in real-time of ways.

For example – one could easily imagine an offer being served up offer when in proximity to grocery or fitness stores selling Cliff Bars, Gatorade or MTN OPS the night before the Warrior Dash you’re racing in. Or, Budweiser triggers an offer for local sports bars and restaurants within a 5-mile proximity of the finish line but only good within 1-hour of each person finishing the race.

Each year, the helpful volunteers at the Rock and Roll Marathon hand out water and Gatorade throughout the course. The convergence of data accessibility and emerging technologies immediately turn those same helpful volunteers into highly trained nutritionists who’ve been coaching you the past 6 months. Instead of Gatorade, they provide you the exact right energy boost containing ingredients perfectly matched to the needs of your body at that point in the marathon. I know, that would be crazy – right?

It’s not a stretch after brands gain the depth of insights most people are willing to give up for the convenience of technology. Brands will be able to know your behavior, moods and shopping habits as good or eventually better than your best friend, spouse, partner or sibling. Brands that take the step to begin integrating biometric wearable data along with the other data sets needed set themselves apart from the field with the ability to deliver real-time, contextually personalized interactions with surgical precision.

Body-Hacking Hunters, Hikers, Anglers
It’s true, you don’t need to worry about McDonalds hacking your body to make you hungry for a Big Mac when you’re not, at least not yet. Check out Robots and Hunting where I touched on the amount of business disruption, economic growth and innovations smart phones delivered into the market just over a decade ago – changing the world around us forever. Many Emerging Technologies would still be considered immature today, but not for long. Melanie McShane recently introduced the notion of Body Hacking in a Co.Design article, here is an excerpt:

“We’ll see the first wave of brands trusted to live in our bodies. The old obsession with removing friction from our lives, and seamless UX, will be behind us. In its place, we’ll see a widespread hacking mentality. We’ll be tinkering with a familiar machine – our own bodies – creating opportunity for brands that not only help us monitor ourselves, but actually modify us. Designers have already envisioned ways technology can augment the skin.

It’s not hard to imagine wearables like Philips, Vibe or Fitbit becoming smaller to the point of being embeddable within the body. Epicenter, an office center in Sweden, also famously offered RFID chips as implants for people who work in its building. This is in the realm of the experimental at the moment, but the trend will be toward making devices smaller and lower impact. I can imagine all kinds of brands that will want to understand how [these technologies] extend into the realm of the body.”

The combination of rapidly evolving emerging solutions like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), extended reality (XR), Blockchain, and Machine Learning (ML) will mature in a fraction of the time smart phone disruption did and fuel 100x the disruption.

Hungry for a McDonald’s Big Mac yet?

Chances are, if you’re an outdoor brand, outfitter, guide, non-profit conservation group, or shop owner in business 5-10++ years and never found your online brand useful or invested in it, you’re likely scratching your head to figure out today’s customer.

Personalized marketing gives trusted brands and like-minded consumers opportunities to interact more meaningfully. It also helps support the underlying small to medium sized businesses so critical to the long-term stability of the outdoors, conservation, hunting and fishing communities.

General marketing, messaging and creative could result in bumping into new online customers every now and then, in the same way my friends’ father-in-law could bump into a deer but – there’s a smarter way to hunt for customers in a modern marketplace.