1.26.11 | ATA Manufacturers Benefit From Trade Show Order-Writing, Quality Traffic and Industry Optimism
New Ulm, Minn. - In the news business, journalists often speak of letting a story breathe so the facts and true representation of a thing can surface to the top. In the case of the 2011 ATA Trade Show - held Jan. 6-8 in the Indianapolis Convention Center - the outcomes hinge on unpacking paperwork, shuffling through business cards and putting things in order. Getting perspective. And, often, doing a little math
Having just read through 10 pages of single-spaced manufacturer testimonials, it's clear that, collectively, the feedback reveals quite a bit about the archery and bowhunting industry's trade show. First, most companies attend the ATA Show to write orders and write orders they did. The Show also acted as a market indicator and manufacturers found optimistic and business-ready dealers. They also found the dealers who attended the ATA Trade Show were the decision-makers. So Show traffic, was also high-quality traffic.
Below, find out what archery and bowhunting manufacturers were saying:
"The people who are here are the real decision-makers, not only on the buying level but also on the sales level. I've had a rep actually come up to me and say, ‘Ya know, I see the people here are legitimate buyers, and they're the people who really should be here. I think that really saves a lot of time.' But even with that, almost every square inch of our booth was filled with people the entire show." - Ben Summers, director of operations, T.R.U. Ball Release Products
"We had a great show. First-day attendance was incredible. We wrote lots of orders. What I was happy to see was the attitude of the dealers. Everybody is much more positive than they were last year. Things are looking up. They're buying. You can judge a Show by the amount of orders you write, but for me it's more about the number of people coming through the booth that you talk to." - Jimmy Primos, chief operation officer, Primos Hunting Calls
"This was our second ATA Show and we did better than anticipated. We took more orders and signed up new dealers. We took advantage of everything we could to sell our products. We had a 20x30 booth, because we had a lot of traffic last year and wanted to make sure we could accommodate it this year." - Brian Park, owner, president, Strother Archery
"The industry mood was very positive, especially compared to a year ago when we were coming out of 2009. There's a lot of hope that things are getting better. I sensed a lot of enthusiasm out there, so hopefully that will be true." - Bob Link, vice president & general manager, TrueFlight Mfg. Co
"We consider ATA a must-go-to Show. If we're not here, the customers are going to miss us. Whether we tie our presence to sales or not, it's important to be here and show dealers our new wares. With Winner's Choice, we've never sold a lot of product here, but the follow-up business has always been well worth it." - Mike Slinkard, president, Winner's Choice Custom Bow Strings and Human Energy Concealment Systems
"It looks like the numbers definitely increased at the Show, and we're very pleased to see that. Booth traffic was great throughout the Show, especially the first two days. Saturday was even pretty steady until right before the Show closed. Even though our reps hit the road starting in October, and we get a lot of our pre-orders written before the Show, we do some order-writing here. There's always a lot of dealers the reps can't reach, so they come here to write orders and conduct business." - Ross Rinehart, International Account Manager for Bear Archery, Trophy Ridge and Rocket Broadheads
"Order-writing seemed on par with previous shows. I don't have the final numbers, but they seemed solid. This isn't our big order-writing show, but some of our biggest customers were writing orders, so it's been worthwhile.
For me, the best thing about the Show is shaking hands and meeting dealers face to face. Even though I have contact with my customers year-round, it's almost always by phone, except for occasional visits. When I'm on the road, I might see a dozen shops in a week's time. At the Show, I see guys who I talk to weekly by phone. That strengthens the relationship." - Taylor Edwards, sales representative, Gold Tip
"We picked up a lot of orders right away Thursday morning. We had our best first day ever in all of our shows. I'm sure we had our best sales ever for the entire Show, and we usually write a lot of orders there." - Skip King, product manager, Apple Archery
"We did our best order-writing this year than ever. We didn't always do a lot of order-writing at the Show, but this year we ran specials for the ATA Show, and it seemed like all the dealers took advantage of it. We did the Big Buck Tags and it worked out great. Nearly every order we wrote was through those coupons.
"The ATA Show again delivered a great crowd. We had great traffic through our booth. We like to get dealers into our booth, put our catalog into their hands, and show them our products. It was the best ATA Show we can remember in many years." - Brian Johansen, president, Buck Stop Lure Co.
"The dealers who were here came in to look at products and write orders, so that was very good. We had a lot of quality prospects. At first I was a little startled because we're used to having people coming through in waves, but with the bow companies located closer to the shooting lanes, traffic eased up across the floor and made things relatively calm. That was nice because there weren't so many people clogging the aisles. They could move more freely." - Larry Griffith, president/owner, Bohning Archery
"Archery is a touch-feel business, especially in this new market where crossbows are getting explored for the first time. People want to see what they're like. So it's important for us to have our product near the range where dealers can demonstrate it. It really enhanced the customers' experience when they come into our booth. They can try the product and immediately turn to a salesman for quality and qualified answers. That's important for us. From Parker's perspective, the Show exceeded our plans. We brought in 15 people. This was the only interview in which I've stopped for the entire time." - Paul Vaicunas, VP Crossbow Division, Parker Crossbows
"Booth traffic was very good. I think getting some of the big bow companies off the main aisles (and out connected to shooting lanes) that the middle of the floor opened up the whole building. It got more people wandering around and seeing more things." - Todd Vaaler, director of operations, Gateway Feathers
"We had phenomenal booth traffic. We did a lot of order-writing and didn't slow down until late in the third day. The past two ATA Shows have been very successful for us, so it's hard to compare one year to the next." - Jackie Allen, sales manager and account executive, Barnett Crossbows
"It's been a fabulous show, with great traffic and very, very nice flow. We wrote a lot of orders, so it was very successful for us." - Mike Walston, Chief operating officer, Wildgame Innovations
"As Easton's marketing manager, this show is always important to my work. It's the one time each year when everyone is in one place at the same time. That gives us a lot of face-to-face time with magazines, the writers, the TV shows, and the other manufacturers we cross-promote with. It's easier to schedule many of our meetings for the Show.
The ATA Show also gives me a lot of face time with dealers so I can learn new names, put faces with ‘old' names, and have them help me figure out what we can do on the retail level to move product off their shelves. We might have our perspective from back in the office, but face time with dealers helps you truly understand the best ways to move product in the store itself. The feedback we hear is very helpful, whether it's rebates, point-of-sale promotions, countertop displays or countertop stickers." - Gary Cornum, marketing manager, Easton Technical Products
"The product we introduced here is absolutely new, so it was necessary people could feel it, touch it and use it. It involves moving targets for archers, and ATA bent over backward in accommodating us and giving us space to demonstrate it. We had people lined up to shoot for three days. It was constant. Some of them were here an hour before we started, and we had to chase them away at the end of each day. We believe we converted many of those inquiries into orders." -Wiet Stokhuyzen, export sales manager, LaPorte Archery
"I never got out of the booth but to use the restroom, finished my last meeting at 5:54 on the last day. We were covered up most of the show. The thing I really liked was we had yellow badges (indicating retailers) in the booth right till the end of the show. I also like the fact that we had very little rift-raft people at the show. The yellow badges that were there were buyers, not just friends of friends that take up a lot of your time for nothing." - Lennie Rezmer, Executive Vice President, Eastman Outdoors/Carbon Express
Did You Know?
The ATA estimates that of the total archery market in 2004, 63.2 percent of all sales were made by domestic independent retailers.