Category Archives: Retention

6 Things to Do with an Email Address

For most businesses, acquiring a new customer costs many times what it costs to keep an existing customer. For an agency or organization selling to your existing customers is a must. An email list is one of the cheapest and most efficient marketing tools at your disposal to keep your customers coming back. Here are 6 simple tactics you can use to keep your license, membership, or product buyers coming back for years to come.

1. Remind buyers to purchase again before their license or membership expires. If you can, offer a small incentive to get them to renew before they lapse. If a customer bought fishing gear at your store last year around this time, send them an offer to get them back to buy their gear again this year.

2. Contact the individual 10 days before their birthday with a reminder their friends or family can buy them a gift card for their birthday. Most marketers nail Black Friday. For that reason, Black Friday promotions fall amidst tremendous noise. Try treating the 10 days before a customer’s birthday like you would Black Friday.

3. Alert previous buyers of specific licenses or tags of season open dates and draw deadlines. We’ve all missed out on a hunting season because we missed the draw. As brands, we’re all in the business of getting people outdoors more often, and having better days once they’re out. Let your customers know when the seasons are open, and ask them to come stock up.

4. Cross-promote licenses without a draw to winners of tag drawings, or buyers of one product with a different product used for the same pursuit. My friends and I take a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota every year. We all buy a waterfowl permit, too, as long as someone remembers the application period is in June. When my Dad and I went elk hunting last fall, the person who sold us our tag at Walmart asked us if we wanted bear tags as well. That little question sold Colorado and Walmart $750 worth of additional licenses.

5. Hit up your out-of-state buyers with an invite back to your state. Consider appending the invite to the end of the survey you might be sending them. Remember to consider how far in advance a person must plan in order to account for tags, accommodations, and general logistics.

6. Remember, your buyer or member is the most important relationship to your business. Their lifetime value is likely many times what the individual spends per transaction. Tell them you appreciate them with a thank you letter. Remind them their purchase funds the important work you do in your local area.

Does your business, agency, or organization use another email tactic? Please share additional ideas in the comments.

5 Things Hunters Can Learn from the World Series

An all time classic. Game 7 ended about 8 hours ago. In a stroke of genius, or terrible parenting, I woke up my kids (ages 3 and 5) to tell them – on the off chance they’ll remember the night back in 2016 the Cubs won the World Series. I’ve been a Cubs fan since I was a little boy watching Ryno Sandberg on WGN in South Dakota.  They were always my second favorite team behind the Twins until my best buddy moved out to Chicago for college and we caught our first game at Wrigley.

I know what you’re thinking… sweet story dude, but why the heck does this matter in a story about hunting? Continue reading 5 Things Hunters Can Learn from the World Series

Be the Change. Become a Digital Mentor

It’s been said you’re either a part of the problem or you’re part of the solution.

Do you love the outdoors? Are you willing to spend 2-3 minutes per week ensuring your way of life lives on into the next generation? If so, you’re the person we’re looking for to become our next Digital Mentor.

We get it. Mentoring can be tough. Life is busy; there are so many demands on your time.

But, why should you care about spending a couple minutes a week passing on our outdoor traditions? Why spend the time helping new people?

The math is clear. Each year that passes the average hunter ages nearly 10 months. Today the average license buyer is about 42 years old. By the age of 68, license purchases fall to nearly zero. At the present pace, we’re only one generation from participation in the outdoors reaching alarmingly low levels. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Digital Mentoring via the free Powderhook app, made possible through a partnership with Cabela’s and Pass it On – Outdoor mentors, is one way we can work together make the kind of change we need. Only you, the individual outdoorsman, have the ability to make it happen. No agency program, no event planned by an organization, and no ad campaign from a company can do what you can do with just a couple minutes a week.

Only you can change this trend. Will you join us?

Join the movement. Get the app and get to work. Visit www.powderhook.com today.

Powderhook and Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors Release Digital Mentoring App

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Contact:
Eric Dinger, CEO Powderhook
eric@powderhook.com

Lincoln, NE-  Powderhook and Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors announced today the release of a revolutionary Digital Mentoring program delivered via the Powderhook app. The app functionality will provide hunters and anglers with ready access to Digital Mentors in their area. Digital Mentors who use the app provide advice and tips, making it easier for new people to begin, and helping people of all experience levels enjoy better days outdoors. Funding for the development of the program was provided by Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. Continue reading Powderhook and Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors Release Digital Mentoring App

The Millennial Generation Outdoor Industry Insights and Opportunities

IMG_7563Millennials – the rumored “low-hanging fruit” and “target audience” for your next program or marketing effort. We all know we need to attract Millennials, but the tricky question is how can we do so successfully? This was the question posed to the presenters of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ (AFWA) Conservation Education Strategy webinar series. Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO of Powderhook, and Samantha Pedder, Manager of Outreach and Diversity for the National Shooting Sports Foundation,  discussed some key insights into the Millennial generation and answered some questions from the audience. Post questions in the comments section below and Sam or Eric will answer. Here’s what you need to know:

Insights and background

  • Millennials are:
    • ~19-35 years old today (2016)
    • Most educated, biggest spending adult cohort
    • Digital native – connectedness via technology is like a second skin
    • Delaying coming of age: moving out later, getting married later
    • Seeking happiness, celebrating diversity, big fear of missing out
    • More politically independent, less religious, less patriotic
    • Experience driven, ahead of finances and security
    • More optimistic about their future than previous generations
  • Individualism is important, generalizations are too vague
    • A generation of two distinct parts, defined by post-secondary education
    • Used to being treated as if they’re unique
    • Obsessed with perception – run their lives like a unique brand
  • “SO-LO-MO” Social, Local, Mobile
    • Socially connected at all times (Facebook biggest, Instagram favorite, Snapchat fastest growing and most time used)
    • Real influence is specific to location or topic
    • Mobile first every time
  • Social decision makers
    • Family and friends, one-to-one still most important
    • Influenced by subject matter experts with reach (Instagram is huge here)
    • Tribes – easy to find and interact with people who think like me (downside – I only interact with people who think like me)
  • Recreational habits
    • Nature can be “trendy”
    • Shooting more than hunting at first
    • Non-consumptive use simpler to start with than hunting or fishing
    • Paddleboarding, kayak fishing, hiking – all increasing in participation
    • Urbanizing influence is overwhelming
  • Demand and dictate a frictionless customer/user experience
    • Is it simple? Is it easy? Is it rewarding? Is it fun?
    • Licensing, mapping, certification, education, regulations must be or they’re out
    • Make it ever easier to do business with you
  • Speed of adoption
    • Moore’s Law – speeds up tech, tech is omniscient, tech speeds up all change
    • 1 million users: Facebook 10 months, Instagram 2.5, YikYak faster yet
    • Attention spans shorter than ever
  • Impact on the workplace by Millennials
    • Offer a new perspective/take on things
    • Perceive opportunities to reinvent processes using influence of technology
    • Example of Citizen Science with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

Opportunities for Interaction

  • Authenticity is key
    • Identify target segments within this generation to engage with
    • Pick the low fruit, not all the fruit
    • Focus your efforts on what you can do well in terms of content, marketing, etc.
  • Things change, but the fundamental concepts won’t
    • Relevant content
    • Two-way conversations
    • Social, local, mobile
  • Meet them where they are, not where you want them
    • Your website is a utility, not their only source of information
    • Start everything mobile first
    • If it is important, they believe it is going to find them
  • Think multi-channel (but do only what you can do well)
    • Is your content portable? Sharable across multiple platforms without people?
    • Videos on YouTube, Facebook and Vine
    • Posts on Twitter, Instagram and YikYak
  • Participate with them
    • Reward millennials with your engagement
    • Play with the new network-of-the-hour – repurpose your content
    • Focus on quality over quantity
  • Mine their habits of thought
    • Don’t cut corners when highlighting novelty and excitement of experiences
    • Empower them to build their own brand (Desire to have influence)
    • Deliver things that makes them feel like they’d be missing out if they missed it
  • Enable others to help you
    • G.U.E.S.T. – Groups, Users, Events, Spots, Trips – aggregated in an open format
      • Groups – what can I be a part (i.e. NWTF Chapter)
      • Users – who can help me (mentors, coaches, instructors)
      • Events – target shooting, hunter ed, etc.
      • Spots – places to go (public land, places to shoot, fish, etc.)
      • Trips – who can take me
    • Open architecture isn’t shared data, it’s shared standards – data.gov
    • You’re the manufacturer, they’re the distributor
  • Embrace diversity
    • Add a millennial as an advisor
    • Actively invite decisions from people who don’t look like you
    • Celebrate differences, they do

Resources

Prepared May 2016 by:

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 1.46.04 PM.png

Samantha Pedder

www.nssf.org

spedder@nssf.org

203-426-1320 ext. 286

PH-LOGO-Black.png

Eric Dinger

www.powderhook.com

eric@powderhook.com

402-560-1678

 

Let’s say we completely ban guns

Our country has a huge problem. Mass killings are disgusting and we need to investigate every possible solution to reversing what is a growing trend. According to some sources there have been over 300 mass killings in the last 300 days. In our great nation, innocent people should not be dying in their schools, movie theaters,  places of work or at their finish lines. That much is very simple and a fact on which we can all agree. It’s pathetic.


Let’s say we completely ban guns. Continue reading Let’s say we completely ban guns

QDMA and Powderhook Announce Deer Tracker Mobile App

ATHENS, GA (August 24, 2015) – QDMA and Powderhook are pleased to offer “Deer Tracker,” a free app that allows hunters to monitor deer activity and harvests in their neck of the woods and across the country. QDMA and Powderhook hope to use the data generated as part of a long-term research project aiming to improve the deer hunting experience for new hunters and experts alike.

Highlighted features of the app include a heat map optimized for daytime deer movement. Brian Murphy, CEO of QDMA, says it’s set up that way for an important reason.

“While hunting the rut gets the most attention, research confirms that the peak of the rut often is not the best time to harvest a deer,” said Murphy. “There are plenty of windows before and after the rut that can be good times to see deer moving. Thus, we set up our heat map to indicate the likelihood of a hunter seeing a mature deer during shooting light.”

Other features include observation and harvest reports, though the app makes it impossible to pinpoint the exact location of a single report. Powderhook CEO Eric Dinger said deer hunters will appreciate the ability to contribute to the overall improvement of deer hunting while not having to give up any of their personal information.

“As a deer hunter, the last thing I want to do is give someone the specific location of where I’m hunting. So, we don’t use pins, and our heat map blurs the user’s location by anywhere from 10 to 30 miles,” said Dinger.

Deer Tracker is a free app, thanks to partnership support from Cabela’s, Hunting Lease Network, SITKA Gear, and Bushnell. According to Dinger, each partner played an important role by contributing to the design of the app.

“Deer Tracker contains several hundred reporters we call Insiders, and these individuals are field employees and pro staff members of our partner brands,” said Dinger. “Their feedback and on-going participation in the app helped us get to where we are today, and Insiders will continue to add insightful reports people can rely on. Users of the app will notice the logo of the Insider’s affiliated company on the reports these individuals generate.”

While the app is free, users are able to upgrade the app for $2.99 to include Powderhook’s database of over 500,000 public hunting grounds.

“Hunters play the biggest role in conservation efforts across this country through purchasing licenses, firearms and ammunition,” said Lindsay Thomas Jr., QDMA Director of Communications. “These days, a hunter may only have limited time to prepare for and plan a hunt. We want to ensure they have the greatest opportunity for an enjoyable time in the woods, so they continue to carry on our hunting heritage.”

Deer Tracker is available for download through the Google Play and Apple App stores and can be accessed without the app via www.deertrackerapp.com on desktop devices.

About Powderhook

Powderhook’s mission is Access for All. That means access for new hunters, anglers and shooters; for parents and their children; for neighbors who haven’t been out in the field for years; and for you. Powderhook works with the nation’s leading conservation organizations, retailers and manufacturers. The Powderhook platform is bringing our industry together to solve some of its most important problems.

Top 8 Reasons to Lease Your Land for Hunting

Leasing your land is a balancing act of risk and reward for most landowners. Sure, you can make some extra money, but between finding the right group, covering any liability, and figuring out who’s doing what on your property it can be a bit of a hassle. Here some of the hidden benefits of leasing your land for hunting.

1) After setup, it’s almost completely passive income

2) Your lessees are likely to become family friends

3) Most people are happy to share their game with their landowners – ask for jerky and backstraps!

4) It’s not out of the question to ask your lessees for help with the things you need done, whether that’s spraying thistles, trimming trees or throwing bales

5) Having your ground leased cuts down on trespassers because you’ll have extra eyes and ears who care about your property

6) It’s your ground so it’s your rules, most hunters are happy to abide by your wishes, no matter what you have in mind

7) Your hunters will not only help you manage game populations on your property, but money from their licenses and gear funds nearly 80% of all conservation efforts in the United States

8) If you don’t hunt, they’d love to teach you, your kids, your grandkids, friends or pretty much anyone else to love and appreciate the outdoors

Lastly, if you are about the access problem, and that’s a strong possibility if you’re a fan of Powderhook, here are a couple things to keep in mind. 1) Traditional leasing can lock up your property such that only a few people can hunt it, thus consider allowing your lessee to sub-lease it to people you both approve during times or seasons they’re not using it. 2) Remember that many states have programs for leasing your land directly to your local fish and wildlife agency for the purpose of opening your land up to public hunting.

If you have any questions regarding leasing, or other forms of access, please don’t hesitate to reach out via the form found here: www.powderhook.com/lease

Want to change a generation? Feed your kids fish they catch.

In his timeless 1949 classic, A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold famously wrote, “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” I recently came across a video (found below) that highlights a very real fear I have for my kids – the danger Leopold prophesied over 65 years ago.

My teenage daughter is a pretty normal 15 year-old kid. At any moment she’s a monster cookie of sweet and salty, wit and sarcasm, delightfulness and delinquency. Monster cookies are wonderful, if not unpredictable. But, this cookie comes with one constant: her phone. My goodness she loves her phone. It’s more than a communication device; it’s her hobby, her companion and her lifeline to the minute-by-minute updates she holds so dear.

Generational differences aside, her compulsion for omni-connectedness worries me. Perhaps ironically, it’s my perception of her lack of connection to the tangible world around her that scares me. Much of how we perceive the world comes to us through the conditioning and learning we experience when we’re young. For people like me, those lessens were earned outside. My daughter and many of her friends, normal small town kids, largely view the outdoors as the mundane gap between their indoors – the stuff you drive through on the way to your hockey game. When I rode long distances as a kid, I would count the duck species I saw or try to figure out how many minutes it would take us to get to the next exit. Now, we flip on a movie and ride quietly as our kids stare blankly at one device or another. Gone are the hours of unstructured play, the exploration and outdoor discovery that defined my childhood, in favor of new forms of the same with names like Netflix, Spotify and Instagram. Telling your teenager to go outside and play has become the equivalent of saying “go use your phone where I can’t see you.”

My desire isn’t that my kids grow up to be like me, but rather that they explore, think critically and problem solve. Can these foundations be learned via a screen? My daughter consumes almost every form of content she values via her phone. She need not be curious about the world around her because Google has answers. (with pictures!) Exploration looks a lot like Wikipedia. She knows beef comes from cows, because that’s easy to read on Gawker. But, does she value the farm… the farmer… the cow itself? She’ll cry foul at the site of a feedlot, a judicious member of her outrage culture, but will she care enough to try to understand the complexity of raising enough beef to feed our developing world at a price point they can afford?

In my brief time as a parent I’ve come across only one antidote. Feed your kids fish they catch. The whole process is importantly unscreened. It’s tough to fish with a phone in your hand. Still more difficult to avoid the beauty of a sunset from a quiet boat, the enormity and fragility of nature on full display. (Enter phone for #sunset pic.) Neither Instagram nor Google will tell you how to catch those pesky late-July walleye. After all, if you’re gonna be there you may as well catch a fish! Maybe a parent’s experience with #walleyeprobs can be the start of a richer conversation.

That something must die so you can live is a fundamental of our existence, yet ditching the supply chain in favor of active participation in the food chain can be an emotional experience. It’s complicated to watch a living thing make its way to your plate. The entire lake-to-table experience encapsulates Leopold’s wish for us – that we pay attention to the places and living things around us, and that we are thoughtful about our role as apex omnivores in a fragile ecosystem. As I strive to raise curious, critical-thinking problem solvers, the time we spend fishing has become the one screen through which I’m confident I can connect.

I believe deeper relationships with the world around us are key to the changes we hope to see in every generation. Whether you garden, fish, hunt or forage, take the time to include your kids and maybe you’ll both find that connection.

About the author:

Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, a website built to help people find access to hunting and fishing spots, trips, groups and events. He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.

Technology Imperatives for the Future of Hunting, Fishing and Shooting

“A simpler, more open and transparent way of doing business across our industry is the only way we can ensure the future of our way of life.” – Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO, Powderhook

In a little under two years of work on the access problem, Powderhook has gained several important insights. Included in this story are five things we’ve learned and a call to action for the hunting, fishing and shooting industry. Examples from other industries are provided as a means to rationalize each argument. It is our hope this post can serve as a springboard for new ideas and better solutions.

INTRODUCTION

Powderhook’s mission is Access for All. That means access for new hunters, anglers and shooters; for parents and their children; for neighbors who haven’t been out in the field for years; and for you. Powderhook works with the nation’s leading conservation organizations, retailers and manufacturers, bringing our industry together to solve some of its most important problems. We’re building a one-stop shop, like “Expedia for the Outdoors.”

It could be said that Powderhook is one of the nerdiest outdoor companies. Our team of 7 technical individuals employs a skill-set somewhat unique to the outdoor industry. We build software solutions for the challenges we believe are most integral to the future of our way of life. Our platform is used to create, market, find and acquire access.

When we first started Powderhook, we understood our mission to mean the average person needs a place to hunt, free or paid. Thus, we built one of the most complete data repositories for huntable and fishable lands information, both public and private, ever created. Our data come from upwards of 17 sources, and we have over 650,000 places to go. Very few organizations have ever built a lands database as far-reaching and comprehensive. This data can be viewed, free of charge, by visiting www.powderhook.com/map.

Over time, we have come to understand the access problem at a much deeper level. By speaking to hundreds of people on both the “have access” and “need access” sides of the equation, we have gained several important insights. In keeping with our values, we’ve decided to share these well-earned lessons with the industry.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED

Most days, people aren’t looking for places to hunt or fish. One day they might be looking for a tournament in which to fish; they may be interested in attending an NWTF banquet; or they might just want to find a range to sight in their rifle. The access problem is bigger and more complicated than simply finding someone a spot. For that reason we introduced group, event and trip management functionality.

To present our user an accurate picture of what they could do outdoors in their area, we started to think of our business as a social marketplace. We began to build a one-stop place to find groups, events, spots and trips for the hunter, shooter and angler.

In adopting this wider agenda, we have encountered several challenges we believe the industry must solve to propel itself forward. These problems are larger than what any company or single organization can change. They are as endemic and deeply rooted as their solutions are imperative. Challenging as they may be, they are also exacerbated by a generation of consumers, the future of our industry, who will, almost exclusively, purchase through their phone and have a low tolerance for inconvenience.

The key insights presented below represent, in our view, a cultural shift in thinking for our industry. For the future of our way of life, we must collectively adopt a simpler, more open and transparent way of doing business.

The Industry Must Create a Marketable Commodity Out of “Access”

Have you ever wondered why it’s so easy to book a hotel room? You can book the same hotel room across dozens of websites. Knowing that, have you ever really asked yourself why it’s so hard to find a duck blind to sit in, a place to hang your deer stand, or the upcoming 3-gun competitions in your area? The fundamental underlying issue is our industry lacks a standard tradable good — an inventory, like a room-night for hotels.

“Access” means several things, and somehow nothing all at once. It could mean a lease; a trespass fee; a role on a shooting team; a seat in a blind or a spot in your friend’s truck. We believe the industry, in the interest of creating a marketable commodity, will come to define “access” as a seat for a period of time — effectively, our version of a room-night. This is a natural conclusion given we buy, sell and trade periodic access to all kinds of things, including movies, concerts, vacation rentals and cars. It is our belief that an industry-wide adoption of this “seat” or “inventory” creation approach is integral to the perpetuation of our way of life. In doing so, we can create the opportunity and incentive for private industry, public/private partnerships and individuals to get to work marketing, giving, trading, buying and selling our collective access assets, regardless of who owns or creates them.

Powderhook has created the acronym G.U.E.S.T. to help serve as a moniker for this line of thinking. No matter what you do in this access or R3 (recruitment, retention and reactivation) arena, you are in the business of helping people find and consume Groups, Users, Events, Spots and Trips. Because license buying is an imperative, we believe selling a license is a bi-product of selling your audience on one or several of the components of G.U.E.S.T. Examples of which include:

  • Groups
    • Hunting or fishing clubs
    • Volunteer groups or local chapters
  • Users
    • Mentors, volunteers, teachers
    • Hunting/fishing partners
  • Events
    • Fundraisers and R3 activities
    • Fishing tournaments and shooting competitions
  • Spots
    • Public/private land and water
    • Free/paid places to go
  • Trips
    • 4 seats in the truck
    • One day in a duck blind

Agencies and NGOs Should Think of Themselves as Wholesalers of G.U.E.S.T.

The key holders of inventory must push us forward by creating an economic incentive for others to help with access and R3 problems. Private industry needs to be able to make money by directly aiding the process of getting people outdoors. Cabela’s should be selling access at retail. I should be able to sign-up for fishing tournaments on the Bass Pro Shops website. GunBroker.com should be selling Ducks Unlimited banquet tickets. Expedia should be booking campgrounds. Airbnb should be adding fishing licenses onto their lakefront home rental transactions. MidwayUSA should be taking registrations for 3-gun competitions.

The travel industry serves as a great model for us to observe. Hoteliers, rental car companies and airlines all allow direct consumption via their individual websites. You can buy a United flight on United.com. In much the same way we’re advocating the outdoor industry evolve, those same companies allow hundreds of other websites to make money from booking their inventory. You also can buy a United flight on Travelocity.com. Travelocity makes money, United makes money and more people travel more often. That economic incentive has lead to billions of additional dollars spent in marketing, advertising and product development. In a time when our industry desperately needs to recruit new people, adding additional private sales channels is a must.

While we’ve only been in the industry for a couple years, it has become our belief that our agency and NGO friends face nearly impossible odds in changing the tide in our industry. The agencies we’ve gotten to know are running dozens of different lines of business, from marketing agency and publisher to range operator and event planner. Because of this construct and the built-in inefficiency, resources become strapped, and effectiveness and innovation are swapped for status quo in the interest of just plain getting the work done each day. We believe a simplification of the agency and NGO business model through the adoption of the “wholesale” mindset can have a drastic impact on the output of these organizations and the effectiveness of their role in the broader industry.

The Industry Needs a Common Repository of Geographic Information

Powderhook has invested several hundred thousand dollars in the creation of our map. No one should have to do it again. Our map, or one like ours with considerably more input from the industry, should exist as an open standard for hunting- and fishing-related geographic information. With an open standard, all public agencies, NGOs, private companies and individuals could access a common tool and update a related data asset. Currently geo information exists in hundreds of data silos. Several fish and wildlife agencies have invested heavily in their mapping infrastructure. Others have not. Each has done it in their own way, making for a significantly higher cost for an NGO, private company or individual who may be willing to invest in their own version of R3. When a park closes on a fish and wildlife website, it should also reflect as closed on Powderhook, Google Maps and any other place people might seek that information. When a new hunting land is added from a private access program, it should be visible across the entire industry. An open environment, welcoming of user contributions, such as www.openstreetmaps.com, is how we make it happen.

We Must Manage our Collective Reputation

To do so, we need to commit to a national hunter, shooter and angler registry. Each person in the registry should receive a unique identifier they can use to manage their reputation as they move throughout the industry. This common identifier would allow for simplification of the licensing and tag application process. It would enable people to register, sign-up, purchase and participate more efficiently. In addition, it would enable the R3 movement to measure the behaviors and outcomes of their programs. Strangely, this already exists under our noses. Facebook uses your common identity to allow you login to countless websites. In doing so, they’re able to track your behavior across your web behaviors in much the same manner our industry needs to do.

The idea of a national license or registration program is an old one. There may never be a day when a person can purchase a license in one state and legally hunt another state; however, a common identifier will enable technology similar to Foursquare’s “check-in” to make licensing across multiple states a simpler and more open process.

Your common identifier would know you are an active member of Ducks Unlimited, which may gain you access to DU programs or hunts not available to the general public. It would know your Hunter Safety Number, eliminating the frustration and pressure of materializing this form of identification for each new place a person hunts or fishes. Further, landowners cite wanting to know who is on their land and what they’re doing as the number one reason they deny access. A common identifier could aid sportsmen and women in that communication process.

We Need a Marketplace

Have you ever thought about what makes ebay so special? The magic in ebay is that there aren’t two ebays. If you’re looking to sell something used online, you go to ebay. Because of that, if you’re looking to buy something used online, you go to ebay. People sell on ebay because people buy on ebay, because people sell on ebay. This phenomenon is something referred to as the “network effect.” Simply defined, network effect refers to the notion that each additional buyer and seller added to a marketplace makes the marketplace better for each existing buyer and seller.

Our economy is in the early stages of a new type of revolution. Economists refer to this new way of doing business as the peer-to-peer or share economy movement. Using a marketplace business model, companies such as Lyft, StubHub, Uber, GunBroker, Airbnb, Homeaway, Etsy and many others are changing the way in which things are bought and sold. It can be said they’re systematically deconstructing fixed and mature industry one efficient, peer-to-peer transaction at a time. Last night, Airbnb was the second largest hotelier in the world, yet almost none of their sellers are even businesses. A marketplace, like those mentioned here, is part of the future of nearly all industries. We believe the adoption of a single marketplace is a key component of the future of the hunting and shooting industry.

According the U.S. Fish and Wildlife data from 2012, Americans spent $10.1 billion on access. Yet in spite of this immense demand, there is no single point of entry or simple process for consuming this “access.” Just to get started, our industry requires hours of research, earning of a certificate, wading through vast regulations to procure a license. With license in hand the process of securing a place to hunt or fish may be just as daunting. If we are to be competitive with other outlets for our customer’s time, this simply isn’t good enough.

Why don’t we have a marketplace already, if it’s such a good idea? Dozens have tried. Powderhook is working on it. But, the outdoor industry is very different than others. The level of fragmentation, the desire for hunters and anglers to preserve their spots, the lack of a fundamental commodity, the extremely high cost of seller acquisition, and the deep role of government, licensing and regulation will require the builder of a marketplace in the outdoor space to have immense staying power. Things that may move quickly in other industries simply cannot in the hunting, fishing and shooting space. But, rest assured, if our industry is to make it into the next generation of hunters, anglers and shooters, a marketplace will be a key component of how it all works. Our children won’t stand for the inefficiencies. They’ll just play soccer or video games instead.

CONCLUSION

Will our children hunt? Will they care about the second amendment? Will they value our beloved North American Model of Wildlife Conservation? Or, will the race of an urbanized lifestyle; the relative torture it takes to earn a hunter-ed certificate; the traveling soccer teams; the two income households; the need to make time; the hassle of finding a place to go; the pain it takes to figure out permits; the anti-hunting noise — will the pressure finally erode our base and crack our foundation?

Fixing these problems for the next generation is impossible for you to do, no matter who you are. Powderhook is no exception. From a technical standpoint, Powderhook can build some of the solutions our industry needs. As one of the first for-profit companies to burrow into the access problem, our brand is positioned well to get it done; however, a nice brand and the technical ability to do something will get our solutions only so far. As industry leaders, we must get busy empowering individuals and private industry to make the changes we need by ensuring our every investment makes our collective offerings simpler, more open and transparent.

About the author:

Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, a website built to help people find access to hunting and fishing spots, trips, groups and events.  He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.