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Archive for the ‘Hunting Products’ Category

Consumer Product Market Penetration is Much Easier If Exclusivity Is Key to the Lines Branding Strategy

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

by: Geoff Ficke

Consumer Product Market Penetration is Much Easier If Exclusivity Is Key to the Lines Branding Strategy

Recently I had the opportunity to visit and work several Trade Shows while on an extended business trip through Europe. One was a huge Beauty Product expo in Italy, another a jewelry fair in Switzerland, and a Gourmet Food Show in England completed the itinerary. Each of the venues would be considered apex convocations within their industry space. Each offered a range of products touching many price points.

As any consumer of economic news knows, today Europe is struggling and in a severe commercial downturn. Consumers are caught in a severe pinch between sky high government taxes and budget deficits, slowing growth, job losses and a real decline in personal incomes. The fear is palpable in many obvious ways, even to a foreign traveler.

And yet, the Trade Shows I attended were each doing their most brisk commerce in the categories that offered the more expensive, exclusive product offerings. I queried any number of vendors from across a broad range of retail price positions. Inevitably the higher end products on offer reported that they were doing well. The mid-market brands seemed to be suffering most. The mass market lines were of course also doing well as many middle class shoppers were trading down in these uncertain times, although many mentioned that they were cutting margins to maintain market share.

It is a fact that in many product categories, exclusivity as a marketing strategy can be an easier route to store shelves than almost any other model. In higher-end markets there is less pricing resistance, and thus greater opportunities to enjoy fatter profit margins. Competition can be much less severe. Obstacles to gaining distribution are much less in specialty
stores and boutiques than exist in chains and mass market discounters.

Pet products that cater to passionate owners often seem eccentric. Jewelry, cashmere sweaters for dogs, Halloween outfits for cats and luxury pet beds seem extreme. But, they sell. A visit to any Pet industry Trade Show will confirm this fact.

Cosmetics, Jewelry, Couture Fashion, Footwear, Automobiles, Gourmet Foods and Drinks, Electronics, Luggage, and many other product categories that provide exclusive brands are booming. Brands in the mid-market range are being squeezed. Private label offerings are picking up market share, though margins are squeezed in order to lower and hit needed price points.

The market for Skin Care products priced over $100 per ounce is sizzling. Gourmet Food brands are enjoying a golden age thanks to the popularity of celebrity chefs and food networks. Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, among other show designers, have elevated more than the heels on their products. An order for a new Ferrari or McLaren sport car, paid up-front with cash, will earn the buyer a spot on a waiting list with a 2-year wait for delivery of their vehicle. Every Hermes Birkin bag is pre-sold each season before the purses ever hit store shelves. The valet parking concession at Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London is constantly backed up with a constant cue of chauffeur driven Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles.

Launching Consumer Products with an Exclusivity distribution Marketing Strategy and Sales Model is a course we often we choose for client projects. Once a market has been  penetrated, and consumer demand is stimulated for a product it is always an option to replicate the item in a lower price point presentation. You can always come down in price.

Skull Hooker™ Euro Mount Accessory Scores Impressive Debut at Las Vegas SHOT Show

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

World’s Largest Hunting Industry Expo Provides Launch Pad
For Innovative New Units That Showcase Trophy Heads

Klamath Falls, OR Rob Shaw, President of Ivent, LLC and inventor of the Skull Hooker™, interviewed in Las Vegas, stated that his Company’s novel Euro Mount wall unit is being overwhelmingly positively received at the SHOT Show.

“The first morning the SHOT Show opened, we were swamped with aggressive buyers”, said Mr. Shaw. “The momentum has only increased as word of mouth has spread among buyers from all over the world, and from media outlets about the multiple design features we have built into the Skull Hooker”.

Geoff Ficke, President of Florence, KY based Duquesa Marketing, managing consultants for development of the Skull Hooker project stated, “In this market, it is gratifying to see Rob Shaw’s instincts confirmed by the professionals in the hunting and outdoor industry. Retailers have flocked to add Skull Hooker to their stores offerings”.

Skull Hooker is a patent pending wall mount that simply and stylishly enables sportsmen to display Euro Mount style trophy heads and eliminates the need to drill, and damage, the skull. Skull Hooker is available for small and large game skulls and will on retailer’s shelves this spring or by ordering from the website at

An Interesting Marketing Lesson Taken From a Day at a Sporting Goods Tradeshow

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

by: Geoff Ficke

My consulting firm specializes in marketing and developing consumer products. Currently we are preparing a hunting product for launch at a major outdoor products tradeshow. This week I took the opportunity to attend the largest expo targeting the archery/bow hunting product industry to scout trends and network for my hunting product client. It was revealing and a valuable lesson was strongly reinforced.

In every industry, and especially on display at tradeshows, there are mammoth players that dominate their category. These leading brands are the stars of the trade and are immediately recognized as such by competitors and consumers. Their products typically are well established, their distribution channels fulsome, the marketing strategies are dominant and awareness of their products nearly universal to their targeted consumers.

The bow hunting industry show I spent a day visiting this week was like most of the hundreds of other trade shows I have attended over many years. The largest, loudest, most active booths were populated by the biggest archery product marketers. The vast majority of the stands in the show, however, were small, independently owned businesses, featuring more targeted product offerings. The opportunity to participate commercially in an industry, in this case for avid bow and arrow hunters, where the entrepreneur shares a passion for the sport with the pursuit of profit is a strong lure for the driven creator.

As I walked the show, I was able to meet and chat with a range of small business owners who love hunting with bow and arrow and relish the opportunity to earn their living in the archery/bow hunting industry. They have created products that fill needs they have identified from their field experiences. These people were virtually all passionate, positive and proud of the many items and specialty products they were showing.

Consider the simple hunting arrow. We all, even if we have never hunted in the wild, have shot or held an arrow, certainly as kids playing cowboys and Indians. We know there is a tip, a bow shaft and feathers built into an arrows assemblage of parts. At the trade show there were numerous purveyors of all types of arrows. Interestingly, there were also numerous vendors offering only tips, or shafts, or feathers, in a stunning range colors and styles. The specialization of these products, their artisan nature and the small, even seemingly tiny, niches they occupy were testament to the idea that building a better mousetrap will be profitable.

I left the show re-energized. The lesson I relearned for the thousandth time is this: If you have passion for something, and can identify a way to improve the experience, you can profit and enjoy earning a living doing what you love most. Many people do exactly this. They earn a good living from commercializing their hobby, craft or favorite pastime. It takes a bit of vision and a bunch of courage to successfully take the leap from employee to entrepreneur, but it is being done every day.