In January, 61,000 people with pre-sharpened elbows, grumpy attitudes and viruses that have yet to be identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attended the huge petri dish known by most in the industry as the SHOT Show. Every new gun for 2013 was in attendance and available for a brief exam, if you were lucky enough to circumnavigate the 630,000-square-foot maze with all the other lab rats zigzagging between 1,600 exhibitors.
Actually, I love the SHOT Show, and every year I swap all my 401k funds into pharmaceutical companies and health-care providers sometime in December to take advantage of their temporarily increased profit margin. (Editor’s Warning: this should not be taken as serious financial advice, since the author is living in North Carolina and has virtually no retirement set aside other than his meager weekend earnings as a collard green-sandwich peddler outside Fort Bragg.) Manufacturers, their reps, sales staff, media and congested SHOT Show babes come from across the globe to attend, bringing with them relatively benign bugs from their respective corners of the world. Think smallpox; then wonder at my wisdom for refusing gift blankets on the show floor.
Organized by the fine folks at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the SHOT Show is the largest gathering of firearm manufacturers/companies and media annually. The fact that a record-setting number of old friendships and inoculations are renewed at it every year, even during an economic downturn, speaks volumes about the critical role it plays in the industry and the dedication and professionalism of the NSSF staff.
All chiding aside, NSSF does an awesome job in making this THE event to attend. In my business, it’s the only way to get the inside scoop, instantly, and still be able to ask questions.
But, today the organization took it one step further this week when it announced a firm has been retained to help market the event to even more prospective attendees. I kept telling them there were no gun writers in the Aleutians, Lithuania and the North Pole, but did they listen?
“CSG Creative is pleased to be selected as the strategic marketing agency for the SHOT Show,” Paige Cardwell, CSG Creative president proclaimed in the press release. “We are looking forward to working with the SHOT Show team to enhance their marketing initiatives in target and emerging markets.”
Nice pun on the “target” thing, but emerging markets? I can’t find ammo, guns or a place to sit in the press room, and you’re going to find more firearm enthusiasts? The horror! (Read that last sentence in your best Marlon Brando “Apocalypse Now” voice and it’ll make more sense.)
The scariest part is the fact CSG Creative is liable to do it. The company has a long list of clients and a highly rated reputation for getting the job done. Here’s a look at Cardwell in a video explaining one of the firm’s services. No, seriously, take a quick look. I know you want to.
Among the organizations that have benefitted from CSG’s efforts are the International Dairy Foods Association, American Meat Institute, American Association of School Administrators, National School Boards Association and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Recreation. The most notable client, though, is the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists.
Coincidence? I think not. And people scoff at my SHOT Show-based investment strategy.