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May 5, 2021

Learn How to Efficiently Market & Advertise Your Business with Charles Anderson

By Carolee Anita Boyles

Do you think of marketing and advertising as necessary expenses, or as revenue and profit generators? If you treat them as just necessary expenses, you’re missing out on the value of both.

Charles Anderson, CEO of GAT Marketing, can show you how marketing and advertising add dollars to your bottom line. On Tuesday, July 13, at the 2021 NSSF Range-Retailer Business ExpoTM, he’s covering the topic as part of his presentation, “Identifying Available & Efficient Channels to Market and Advertise Your Business.”

What You’ll Learn

One of the things that companies in the firearm industry could do better, Charles said, is email collection and newsletter management. Over the past couple of years, he has seen a trend toward companies instituting best practices for this aspect of marketing, but most companies still are lagging behind what the experts are doing. This is one of the topics Charles will be discussing during his session at the Expo, so that ranges and retailers can learn ways to maximize their reach through social media and electronic newsletters.

“Our main topic is going to be how to affordably work with the tools that you have against the restrictions that are in place,” he said.

One of the biggest things he will be focusing on is not trying to chase a national presence or budget such as the ones that Cabela’s, Bass Pro, or other large chain stores operate with.

“We’re going to focus on knowing your local community and really increasing your ability to draw from that in an affordable way,” Charles said. “We’re going to talk about how to bring in foot traffic so that your sales and your experience can be the true leader to what’s going to separate you from the competition.”

Charles will be speaking at the 2021 NSSF Range-Retailer Business Expo on Tuesday, July 13 at 11:30 a.m.

How He Got Into the Industry

As a young man, Charles had no idea he would work in the firearm industry; he said getting into firearms was purely by accident. Growing up outside New York City, his only exposure to firearms was through members of his family who were in law enforcement; firearms were not part of the culture there.

Professionally, Charles started out as a stockbroker and venture capitalist during the “dot-com bubble” 25 years ago. He built dot-com properties for a venture capital firm that ultimately went bankrupt because most of the other businesses it was involved with weren’t profitable. After the bubble burst, Charles worked as CIO and CMO in several marketing and tech positions in New York and later in Michigan.

Shortly after he moved to Michigan, Charles discovered shooting as a recreational activity and really got into it. He competed in several competitive venues—including two-gun and three-gun matches—and started posting about his experiences on Facebook. That raised the eyebrows (and the ire) of his venture capital colleagues, his New York childhood friends—and his (now-ex) wife. So, he started a new page just for his shooting sports friends and invited all his friends that had any sort of interest in shooting to that page.

Within a couple of months had more than 6000 followers.

“I was learning how to shoot and what was and wasn’t working and posting about it,” Charles said. “I was a marketing guy. I didn’t have any experience with firearms or what was right and what was wrong.”

All of this led to him writing a regional blog based on training courses and shooting events in the area where he was living. He started getting better SEO on his blog than some of the major manufacturers were getting on their websites. Several of those manufacturers started sending Charles products to review, and then he started working on some marketing for them.

“This was all just a side gig,” he said. “I was still running that venture capital firm.”

Soon afterwards, however, the CEO of the venture capital firm closed the company for reasons of his health. Charles went whole hog into digital marketing for the firearm industry and GAT Marketing was born.

“At the time, we were the only marketing agency in the industry that was really focused on digital,” Charles said. “This was back when you could still run Facebook ads and Google ad campaigns for firearms.” He decided to keep working on marketing in the industry until he figured out what he wanted to do in the venture capital world.

Fortunately for his clients in our industry, he decided to stay. Today, GAT Marketing employs 16 people and represents clients in all facets of the industry. And that all came about as a happy accident because his ex-wife was uncomfortable with what he was posting on Facebook.

Part of what has fueled the success of GAT Marketing, Charles said, is a thorough understanding of how local search works, which is the most applicable type of search for customers looking for a retail store or range. Social media are a large part of local search, he said, not necessarily as a pure profit driver, but as a brand identifier for local businesses.
NSSF’s Range-Retailer Business Expo will take place July 12-14 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The event will offer three days of high-quality education and networking opportunities, along with an exhibit hall full of vendors specific to your business. Learn more and register at

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