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September 29, 2017

First-Ever NSSF CMO Summit Ignites Top Industry Marketers

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The first-ever National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) CMO Summit, which attracted the top firearms industry marketing leaders from across the country to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Sept. 26-27, is receiving high praise for the impressive information it delivered to attendees to help transform and expand their marketing efforts in today’s ever-changing digital environment.

The CMO Summit provided valuable industry-specific content covering crucial topics every marketer should be aware of in today’s competitive and challenging marketing world. Leading marketing executives got the unique opportunity to hear from experts in digital and influencer marketing, discuss current issues and trends, harness the power of data and maximize the opportunities presented by social media.

Chris Dolnack, NSSF
NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Dolnack welcomes attendees to the CMO Summit. View larger image.

“This event offered insights and solutions to challenges that every marketer faces. It’s not enough to rely on brand equity or product innovation — marketers must compete every day to deliver an exemplary customer experience and enhanced customer engagement to drive growth in an ever-changing digital environment,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.

The CMO Summit agenda kicked off with a welcome from NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Dolnack followed by presenter Peter McGrath and his session “Design Thinking.” McGrath explained the concept of design thinking and how to implement design thinking to improve end-user experience.

Facebook Global Policy Programs Director Katie Harbath was next to present with her online presentation of “Facebook Best Practices.” Harbath provided several suggestions to improve content reach and engagement on the leading social media platform.

Avery Stirrat with American Towns Media took the stage next to explain what hyper-localized marketing is, how American Towns Media has used local marketing to exponentially grow website traffic and new NSSF initiatives using this newer form of digital marketing.

The next two sessions featured the latest industry research and key R3-related takeaways presented by Rob Southwick, President, Southwick Associates, and Mark Damian Duda, President, Responsive Management. Southwick delved into the latest industry research that uncovers the paths hunters and shooters often take from their first firearms experience to eventually becoming a well-rounded participant. Duda focused on results of a new study on non-shooting firearms owners to understand who they are, their motivations and perspectives — and how their reactivation could theoretically double the size of the active shooting sports population.

Following Southwick and Duda, Chris Penn took the stage in his presentation “Building Your Data Through Customer Journey.” Penn explained today’s online linear and non-linear customer journey, how to find specific customers’ desired path to conversion, and the next steps to take to optimize marketing for maximum ROI. Britt Hysen, Editor-In-Chief, Millennial Magazine, continued the data discussion with her session “Big Data 2.0: Understanding Emotional Intelligence.”

Topping off the first day of sessions at the CMO Summit, global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author and Chairman of C-Suite Network Jeffrey Hayzlett shared his thoughts in a lively talk on how our industry can seize the narrative and positively set itself apart.

An attendee at the ready to take notes as Joe Pulizzi energetically speaks about content marketing. View larger image.

CMO Summit attendees got a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club at the Networking Reception following the day’s presentations. “It was obvious that there was a lot to discuss after a full day of inspiring sessions,” said Dolnack. “It seemed like everyone’s gears were turning as ideas were bounced around groups throughout the room.”

Day two of the CMO Summit kicked off with Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute, with his session on the complexity of content marketing followed by another presentation by Rob Southwick, “Better Align Your Products and Marketing with Consumer Segmentation Insights.”

The CMO Summit appropriately wrapped up with Mark Schaefer in “Influencers and the Future of Marketing.” Schaefer emphasized the importance individuals inside and outside of a company hold when it comes to building a better brand experience and how creative partnerships drive the future of marketing.

NSSF thanks all attendees, as well as the event’s sponsors MarketPlace Insight, Southwick Associates, BOLT Strategy, Freeman and Responsive Management, for making the first-ever CMO Summit a success.


About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit


Media contact:
Bill Brassard

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