When Matt McPherson began selling his now revolutionary SoloCam bows in the early ‘90s, quite a few people in archery thought he was crazy. He then proceeded to introduce a new sales and marketing dynamic, while emphasizing people first and business second. It turned out to be the very kind of crazy philosophy that attracted American bowhunters—by the millions.
Today, Matt’s company—Mathews Inc.—extends that same “people first” philosophy to his sales force and retail customers, building on an accepted set of core values: integrity, innovation, and impact. (How many companies that you know of have “core values”?) Sales representatives are in-house in Sparta, Wisconsin where, after work, they can go home to their families.
Mathews’ bows are not sold in discount chains or over the Internet, or even through distributors (with the exception of international sales). An archer interested in a Mathews product must visit an Authorized Mathews Retailer. In other words, Mathews bows are not sold “in the box.”
Mathews’ people-oriented sales program, is accentuated with an annual Mathews-only Retailer Business Show held the first week of December in the Wisconsin Dells recreational area. At this Show, Mathews Retailers can spend quality time getting to know the line while discussing archery and business with Matt McPherson, his sales and tech reps, and at the same time do business with the 200-plus Mathews and Lost Camo licensees.
Another opportunity for retailers to become familiar and gain hands-on experience with the Mathews brand is the Mathews “Dealer School.” Regardless of experience level, Mathews invites new retailers to attend its “Mathews Academy” for comprehensive warranty, technical product, and service training. On-going support is provided by in-house technicians as needed. (Marketing Communications Specialist Corinne Yohann-Bundy says there is about a 10 percent turn-over among the 1,100 Authorized Mathews Retailers each year—so if you don’t carry Mathews, now may be your opportunity.)
This year, the big splash was the $959 HeliM bow. Much publicized, the 80-percent letoff single cam HeliM is built on a structurally superior but lightweight GeoGrid Riser platform that offers numerous interesting features including the Harmonic Stabilizer Lite and a lightweight Reverse Assist Roller Guard.
A distinctive feature of the 30-inch, 3.5-pound HeliM is the use of a high-mount cable guard and an ultra-low-mount string stop, the “Dead End String Stop Lite.” The design harkens to McPherson’s earliest compound designs which featured both high- and low-mount cable guards.
The other new bows in the 2012 Mathews line-up are the 33-inch, AVS Dual-Cam MR8 ($999) and the 28-inch, SoloCam Jewel ($999). Developed particularly in women’s sizes, the SoloCam Jewel is available not only in Mathews’ proprietary Lost Camo, but also in black, Electric Pink, and Teal. (Yohann-Bundy says that since 2008, Mathews has donated more than $150,000 from sales of the Pink Lemonade Genesis, Electric Pink Ignition, Passion, and now the Jewel bows, to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. A portion of sales proceeds from pink bows also goes towards “Aiming for a Cure,” the research effort to cure breast cancer.)
The interesting story from Mathews Inc. now may be its approach to the business of accessories. With 200-plus licensees, the Mathews game plan honors licensee products and brings them under the McPherson umbrella as archery partners—in addition to its own line of Mathews Genuine Accessories.
Yohann-Bundy says a good example is the business of building strings and cables. For many years associated primarily with the Mathews brand, Zebra is now positioned to serve non-Mathews bows only. Strings and cables for Mathews bows will be sold under the Mathews Genuine Accessories brand. Countless options and color combinations will be offered in both lines.
The Mathews of today is more than bows and a handful of accessories. It has spun off a separate unit, Genesis Archery, which is designed to grow the sport, especially by supporting the National Archery in the Schools Program. Thus, Matt McPherson reiterates the famous quote originally attributed to Fred Bear; that if he could grow the sport, he was certain—because he offered good product and good representation—that he would get his share.
Things are also happening on the Mission side. If you are a Mathews and Mission Authorized Retailer, you understand the power of this sister company. “We developed the Mission line to give our retailers high-quality value bows with adjustability, so they could be better equipped for customers looking for performance on a budget,” says Megan Connors, marketing manager for Mission Archery. “With the Mission line, they can easily overcome price objections and quickly adjust the bows they have on hand to fit customers’ specs.” Not to mention Mission bows are designed and built by the same archery experts and supported by the same customer service and lifetime warranty of Mathews bows.
With seven bows currently in the Mission line, and their growing strength in the budget-bow arena, it is both surprising and encouraging to see Mission now growing into the crossbow market as well. “We are so thrilled to see the excitement from our retailers,” says Connors, “Their strong support in this new endeavor has been really inspiring, and we are confident they will share in the success of the Mission crossbow.”
Today, the Mathews machine shop operates three shifts, five days a week, and processes over 1.8 million pounds of aluminum and recycles 100 percent of scrap aluminum each year to produce the components needed to meet consumer demand. Mathews now has more than 40 CNC machines and operates four facilities in Sparta, WI, totaling approximately 140,000 square feet. In the spring of 2010 they officially produced their one millionth bow. Matt McPherson’s crazy manufacturing and marketing plan has definitely grown up.
“Our goal is to give retailers something they can be competitive and strong with in the marketplace,” says Yohann-Bundy. “If they’re successful, we’re successful.”
Contact Mathews Inc. at (608) 269-2728; www.mathewsinc.com; they have an active Facebook.com account and a Twitter feed. In addition, Mathews’ family companies include Mission Archery (http://missionarchery.com/), Genesis Archery (www.genesisbow.com/) and Zebra Bowstrings (http://zebrastrings.com/).