Digital Strategies for Outdoor Industry Marketers


With the COVID-19 pandemic putting strain on our collective mental health, it’s no surprise that outdoor recreation has become quite popular. We've seen huge category growth across areas like cycling, camping, paddle sports, and hiking. The pandemic has also also introduced and expanded demographics for these activities, and created new consumers as people look to gear up for their new interests.

When looking at the outdoor industry, “core” audiences have long been king. A core audience member is typically someone who is highly enthusiastic in a certain sport or leisure activity. However, these audiences can be small and existing perceptions can be more challenging to overcome. With an increased focus on health for many, plus new ways to find leisure in the outdoors due to COVID-19, it’s advantageous for brands to look beyond this niche group.

There is tremendous opportunity to make a first impression and grow reach and lifetime value beyond the core outdoor audience. In addition, there is an increased need for representing a diverse consumer set and creating an inclusive brand experience. Brands can grow by discovering new audiences that are emerging as curious hand-raisers for the first time.

Knowing that some of the products in this category come with high price tags and a lot of questions, it can be a huge challenge to build an authentic connection through a screen. Brands can build a real connection with these curious consumers by utilizing the right creative mix and data capture that will help them navigate the purchase funnel. Here are our tips to help brands discover, capture, and ultimately convert these new consumers in the space.

Build Aspiration with Video & Rich Media

For those newer to the category, going into brick and mortar retail can be an intimidating experience.  Plus, COVID-19 has made the ability to visit specialty retail even more challenging. Video and rich media can help bridge the gap between the consumer and the product. Painting a beautiful picture of what life looks like when using the product, or allowing for the user to play around with some more technical product features, will create a strong impression and begin building desire and trust. This is also a great format for focusing on diversity and inclusion, ensuring that many perspectives are represented.

Foster Exploration & Consideration with Precision Targeting

The ways brands can leverage data and inventory to reach and capture new audiences is limitless.  Digital can help brands find users who have visited a national park in the last 30 days, have ski resort or hiking guide apps installed on their phone, watched how-to videos, or browsed relevant articles about outdoor destinations. Remaining top-of-mind with banners and native ads throughout the discovery process will reinforce the connection and begin driving users to the brand site for deeper engagement.

Stay Persistent & Attribute Every Conversion

The decision process can be long for some of the more expensive outdoor products, so understanding your audience’s interests will help keep messaging as relevant as possible as you continue the conversation with them. Dynamic retargeting allows brands to reach users across screens with a message to reinforce brand equity or include the exact product they were browsing.

Once a user makes a purchase, consider reaching that user with products within the same category that pair well with their new purchase. In addition, CRM data can be used to foster lifetime value and repeat purchase, if applicable. The consumer journey will play out across screens and platforms, and it’s best when these efforts are working together and playing their individual role. Centralize a source of truth that will help drive business decisions and budgets across search, video, social, and programmatic investments.

Connect with us to learn more about outdoor industry marketing with Centro.