I joined TrackingPoint as the director of marketing in November 2017. Having been familiar with the company for about 2 years, what I wasn’t aware of was the internal and external struggles the company endured since its founding in 2011. Getting the job wasn’t easy when I first interviewed; in fact, I was passed over for the role in late 2016 when the company chose a candidate with significant gun industry experience (I come from software-as-a-service, computer hardware, banking, and business services.) At the time, this was OK by me, because given the strategic direction at the time, I felt that the product would be incredibly difficult to market given the cost and the limited number of individuals who were affluent, possessing disposable income, and active in hunting and shooting sports. Until TrackingPoint could bring down the price and engineer the technology away from an entire rifle system to offer it as a product to fit anyone’s favorite rifle, I knew the company would continue to struggle. In that regard, I am a marketer who looks at things from a business perspective – how can the product appeal to a broader audience?
One year after interviewing for the role, I received a call from the HR and business manager asking me if I was still open to discussion. Of course I was, but at the same time I went into it with eyes wide open – was the company still stubbornly clinging to the same path? This was the main concern I wanted to understand.
What convinced me to give it another go was the fact that the company had recently hired a new President and CEO who is also Chairman of the Board – Mr. Ken D’Arcy. I agreed to the interview because what I turned up about Ken in my research is that he has serious business, leadership, and marketing chops – not just in the firearms industry (he was the turnaround CEO for Crosman) – but also the sporting goods industry as a whole.
Still somewhat skeptical, upon meeting the man himself I immediately liked him. His confident, no-nonsense, common sense attitude was obvious – and infectious. Ken’s vision and strategic direction for the company that he shared with me that day was exciting, and I knew that yes, I could get behind it because he is setting up the company for success.
I tell you this because while at the Shot Show Industry Day at the Range, I met a media guru who has followed the company since the very beginning. He knew the good, the bad, and the ugly – and apparently, there had been some really ugly. And thus satisfied with his self-certification as the resident TrackingPoint-The-Company expert, he said he only had one question for me: “Whatever possessed you to take a job with TrackingPoint?” He practically spat out the name as if he’d be cursed for saying it.
Ignoring the disdain, my answer to his question was and is really quite simple. “To tell you the truth, it was Ken D’Arcy and his vision and direction for transforming the company and its products,” I said. “When he told me what they’re doing with the products, it was the same thing I suggested to the last CEO when I interviewed in 2016 – creating a standalone optics product incorporating the technology. I knew Ken was the man to do it.”
The reason I’ve written this blog is because I want our audiences – customers, prospects, distributors, dealers, partners: you name it – to know that TrackingPoint is a different company now. There is new leadership, new vision, new people, all dedicated to make the products and the experience what it should be. We are not ego maniacs, but rather a group of individuals excited about our capabilities, and we want to share and get it into the hands of as many hunters and sport shooters as we can.
Yes, the technology is incredible. Yes, there will always be those that say using it is cheating – and we by no means want, nor intend, to discount nor undermine the incredible work, dedication, time, and skill of those who studiously strive to achieve the advanced skills in accuracy that come with years of training and hard work. Those who achieve it are, and should be, revered. But our products serve those who don’t have that kind of time, that kind of resource, or even the natural ability to consistently group shots to ensure a clean kill. We serve hunters – skilled and beginners – who want to make clean, one-shot kills; those who enjoy hunting, those that simply enjoy shooting and, in particular, those who want to avoid the agony of defeat when they finally spot their trophy and squeeze the trigger. Or worse yet, those that pull the trigger and wound an animal that is never harvested and suffers.
What we are selling is certainty. Certainty in your shot, certainty in your ability to make a clean kill. One of our customers wrote in recently to tell us that his 10-year-old daughter used one of our rifles to take her first doe. She shot her in the spine of the neck and dropped her where she stood. No suffering for the animal, and no chasing a blood trail, and no potential loss of food for the family.
Our products are evolving. We are focusing on the optics, bringing to market soon a basic day-view optic, several without technology and many with the technology we’re famous for – that customers can purchase at lower price points and mount on their own rifles. Think of it as your own gun, only smarter.
TrackingPoint is a different company now. We are building something we can all be proud of. The past is the past, and although it’s not without its current challenges, our history played a role in who we are today, and who we will become. And fortunately, that negative past is rendered irrelevant to our future. Join us on the journey as we build the next generation of precision optics, so that you too, can just enjoy the shot.