Living the Dream
Common Themes in Sporting Clays and Marketing
OUTdrive Episode 26 with Derrick Mein
In this episode of OUTdrive, Cliff visits with Derrick Mein, a renowned athlete in the shooting sports world, most recently named the 2020 National Sporting Clays champion and a member of the U.S. Olympic team. His hard work, dedication and passion for the sport have led him to be recognized nationwide and internationally, representing his sport, family, community and country well.
Cliff and Derrick discuss Derrick’s career and background in his sport, family life and what’s in store for the future. They talk about some key factors for success in sporting clays that are also applicable in marketing and share their thoughts on the value of strategic partnerships, building a personal brand and the power of social media. Read more for some great insights from their conversation.
Common Themes in Sporting Clays and Marketing
For success in shooting sporting clays, a strong foundation is important. Derrick states, “You have to have a very stable foundation with your body. You have to have a good stance. You have to get the gun mounted properly on your shoulder, and you have to teach yourself to keep your head on the stock so that your eyes are lined up properly with the gun and towards the target.”
Similarly, a strong foundation is important for almost any marketing program. It begins with the basics–strategic goals and objectives, market research and the development of sound marketing strategies and tactics to accomplish those goals and objectives. Likewise, for a marketing campaign to be successful, a strong foundation needs to be in place prior to broadcasting your message. Here, we’re talking about strategic messaging, insightful creative and a website or landing page to drive traffic to. Just like building a home, when you’re building a brand it’s important to have a strong foundation in place to build upon.
Derrick started competing in the game of sporting clays at only eight years old, and he continues to focus on the basics in training for a competition. “I’ll go out to my practice facility and spend a lot of time just working on and reviewing my basic fundamentals, and making sure that I have those really solid,” says Derrick. “Being really strong fundamentally will help carry you through the stressful situations that you put yourself in during competition.”
Similarly, through the roller coaster ride of COVID-19, most brands that followed basic crisis communication fundamentals were able to carry their companies forward through the ongoing and stressful situation. Most companies that pivoted their messaging and strategically focused their points of communication are continuing to survive the storm.
Derrick went on to say, “In all the different sports that you can play, whether that be baseball, basketball, golf, football, they all teach you hand eye coordination and fundamentals of how your body can work and what you’re capable of doing. And so when you get into shooting competition, you have to use all those skills and put them together to make a nice, smooth move to consistently break clay targets.” Likewise, through an integrated marketing program, all the components work together to make each piece stronger and more effective, to consistently get results.
Derrick also shares his commitment to building a strong foundation for others interested in the shooting sports. Before dedicating his career to competing, Derrick ran multiple gun clubs and continues to instruct, a job he is very passionate about. As interest in shooting sports grows, Derrick advocates for proper instruction, coaching and safety training.
“Several of my friends that run gun clubs have all consistently had an uptick in participation at their clubs,” says Derrick. “People are seeking out proper coaching so they can learn how to use their new firearms. I applaud anyone that goes out and does that because safe use of a firearm is the only way to do it and going out and learning the right way to do things is definitely doing your due diligence, as a gun owner.”
As the conversation continued, Derrick emphasized the most beneficial part of proper training and education – increased confidence. No matter the industry or activity, increased confidence backed by experience and knowledge will lead to a more efficient, successful team prepared for the future.
One way that Derrick is building upon a foundation and positioning himself for the future is through strategic partnerships with brands for mutually beneficial relationships. He has been with Kolar Arms for five years and recently signed with Federal Ammunition. When considering partnerships, Derrick shares what he values.
“All the companies involved in the shooting sports have some kind of a pro staff. Some get a little bit more involved to where they really help promote me as much as I help promote them,” he says. “It becomes more of a partnership than a true sponsorship, and so that’s how I like to work with the companies I represent. I want to be a partner of theirs and I want them to be a partner of mine. I feel like it helps us both immensely with promoting our own brands.”
In addition to promoting products, strategic partnerships allow Derrick to continue to improve as a competitor and build his personal brand. “I just signed with Federal a couple of weeks ago. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity,” he says. “You know, they’ve got a huge history in shooting sports with a premier product, their Gold Medal line. It’s definitely a huge opportunity for me to work with a great company to help not only promote their brand, but help build my brand as well.”
Strategic partnerships are a timeless strategy and continue to grow as time goes on if they are nurtured and continue to make sense. For example, Derrick has been with Kolar for over five years. “I started with Kolar five years ago and am very blessed to get to shoot the only premium shotgun made in the U.S.,” he says. “It’s designed specifically for competition, they’ve been great to work with and they build an absolutely amazing product. Since I started shooting for them, my record has been almost untouchable.”
Social Media for Rural Audiences
When Derrick was asked about his thoughts on effective ways to reach rural audiences, he shared, “I think that a lot of people in rural America are not as far behind in the technology game as a lot of people portray them to be. I know my generation especially is very well versed in online social media marketing.” He continues saying, “Traditional routes of advertising, whether that be TV or radio are still effective, but I think a lot of social media is really beginning to shine for promoting products in rural America.”
Regardless of the product or platform, brands that promote the good in the country are what Derrick and many others notice the most. Brands that use platforms to share positive, informative and engaging content will stand out not just to rural audiences, but everywhere.
Utilizing social media to leverage strategic partnerships and building marketing programs and communications on a strong foundation will set you and your company up for success. Hear more from Derrick and Cliff on these topics and additional rural American insights in this episode of OUTdrive. Check it out!