IF IT’S PINK, WOMEN WILL BUY IT
Being a woman in the firearms industry I am somewhat of an anomaly. Not because I am a woman who owns a gun, (nearly half of gun owners are women now), but because I am a serious shooter and firearms instructor. As an instructor, I see plenty of pink range gear and guns. I am all for a woman rocking the pink gear if that is what she wants to do – but many of us don’t want to jump into the pink pool.
Recently, the topic of women’s shooting gear and guns has come up in several of my conversations. Men in the industry are often anxious to hear how they can more effectively market to women, so they take the opportunity to ask me.
GIVE HER WHAT SHE NEEDS (AND WANTS)
Last month the topic came up in a discussion I had with Travis Haley. I shared my frustration with the current state of things and he offered another perspective – a legal liability. While the conversation was a casual one and I do not have permission to quote Travis, he does raise some good questions. Do pink guns appear too much like a child’s toy? Are we selling pink guns to women because they are pink and intended for a woman rather than selling her the right gun for her needs?
Today I had a conversation with a major Ammunition manufacturer about marketing to women. He relayed a conversation he had with several prominent women in the industry last year at SHOT Show. He asked them what they should change in their ammo’s branding to market to women. Unanimously, these women said – “Don’t change anything!” This ammunition has a very masculine branding but the response from women was to leave it alone. Why? Because women want the same things men want in their gear. I will buy ammunition based on ballistics testing, intended usage and price point – not because there is a pink ribbon on the box.
SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY
Look at nearly any gun or sporting goods store and you are bound to find products that are “designed” for women. What sets them apart from the men’s products – mainly two features; size and color. The first difference, size, is completely valid. On average women are smaller than men so this difference makes sense. However, often my only option for a smaller size also means it only made in pink. Apparently, the gun and shooting gear industry believes that women want all their gear to be Pepto-Bismol pink. Did anyone do market research? Where there any actual women in Focus Groups before deciding to sprinkle sporting goods with a rosy shade?.
Women do want products that work for our needs. If I buy cammo hunting gear, I want it to fit my female figure, but without neon pink pipping. Companies like 5.11 have done a great job in creating products for women without the Pepto highlights. They changed what matters. 5.11’s new Women’s Stryke Pants are fantastic. They are made of the same material as the men’s pants but have a better cut and fit for a women’s shape. They come in several colors – none of them are pink!
I am not sure why so many companies have jumped on the pink train but here’s my advice – Think Bigger! I am fine with products made for and marketed to women – but for heaven’s sake, expand the palette. Give women a little more credit – we don’t buy only pink things. In fact, many of us have developed “pink fatigue” and immediately recoil from it. If you want my business, step up your game.
Apparently I am not alone in my frustration. For further reading, check out: