Behind the Scenes With Mathews Archery

Mathews Archery Founder Matt McPherson provides insight into why the company he started 30 years ago continues to experience success in a highly competitive marketplace.

Behind the Scenes With Mathews Archery

Mathews currently employs hundreds of people. They are one of the largest employers in Sparta, Wisconsin.

It’s hard for most of us in the archery world to imagine the industry without Mathews Archery. For almost the entire time Mathews Archery has been around, they have been a dominate force in the outdoor industry. The bows they build, the technology they bring to market, and the marketing and branding they use to promote the company is always cutting edge. It might seem like Matt McPherson, the founder of the company, has always been at the top of his game, but he is the first to admit the road to the top was bumpy at first.

“I started my first bow company in 1985,” he said. “The name of that bow company was McPherson Archery. I had partners in that business, and during the five years I was with the company, I learned why I needed to own a bow company without partners.”

Matt McPherson founded Mathews Archery 30 years ago. Today he is still engineering cutting-edge bows just like he was in 1992, when he started the company.
Matt McPherson founded Mathews Archery 30 years ago. Today he is still engineering cutting-edge bows just like he was in 1992, when he started the company.

Making Decisions Without Interference

In 1992, McPherson started Mathews Archery, making 2022 the company’s 30th birthday. The invention of the Solocam was one of the reasons for early success, but that is only part of the story.

“I think one of the reasons we succeeded was because I owned the company on my own,” McPherson said. “When you have partners and a board of directors, there are a lot of people and opinions and decisions can take a long time. By solely owning the company, I have been able to make decisions quickly and on my own without having to get approval from others. When I see the market changing, or come up with a new technology that I believe will positively impact our bows and the market, I can go after it without asking for permission from a board. There is great value in owning a business on your own.”

Since its beginning, Mathews has pivoted quickly when it comes to technology. By being on the forefront of technology, Mathews Archery quickly became one of the top bow companies in the archery industry.

“In order to be a leader in the industry, I always felt like we needed to stay ahead of the com-petition,” McPherson said. “One of the reasons we grew so rapidly early on was because we were always working on new technology. As soon as we developed new technology, we brought it to market.”

One of the simple things Mathews Archery did early on that had an enormous impact on the industry was build bows that were shorter axle to axle than all the competition.

“We have always worked hard to provide what the customer wants and needs,” McPherson said. “We realized early on that most bow companies were building bows that were simply too long. A longer bow is harder to maneuver in a treestand and isn’t as user-friendly as a shorter bow. Bowhunters liked our short compact bows and it caused a shift in the entire industry to build shorter bows.”

Over the years, bowhunters could always count on Mathews offering the latest and greatest technology. From the Solocam to parallel limbs and limb dampers and everything in between, Mathews was and is always on the cutting edge of technology.

“I believe it is important that our bows provide a great shooting experience,” McPherson said. “We want our bows to be smooth drawing and fun to shoot. One of our early marketing slogans was ‘speed without the kick.’ That slogan says it all. We build bows that are fast, but don’t have a lot of hand shock and vibration. A lot of our technology advancements over the years have been vibration reduction. One of the reasons we have focused so much on that is because bowhunters want to be able to have fun shooting their bows. They don’t want a noisy bow.”

Many of the engineers who work for Mathews Archery are diehard bowhunters, including Brandon Gann.
Many of the engineers who work for Mathews Archery are diehard bowhunters, including Brandon Gann.

Building a Brand

Mathews Archery built its brand around technology. That said, one could argue what separates them from the competition as much as the technology is the company’s marketing and branding.

“We always spent a lot of money getting our message out there,” McPherson explained. “We have worked hard to have a marketing message that is clever and easy to remember.”

From sponsoring the most popular TV shows, to having full-page print ads in every bowhunting magazine, it is easy to see why everyone knows who Mathews Archery is and its latest technology. Another key to its marketing success has been to educate the dealers on what makes Mathews Archery different and help drive bowhunters to its dealers.

“When we first developed the Harmonic Damper, we sent two bow risers to every Mathews Archery dealer,” McPherson said. “One of the risers had Harmonic Dampers in it, and one riser didn’t. We told the dealers to drop each riser on the floor and they would be able to hear the difference. The riser with the Harmonic Damper installed had a lot less vibration and noise. This gave the dealer something unique to show to consumers. Our dealers had something other dealers didn’t have, and they were excited to show their customers. We have had a lot of great marketing campaigns over the years, but advertising the Harmonic Damper in print and on TV and driving the consumer to our dealers to hear and feel the difference for themselves was one of our greatest marketing campaigns over the years.”

The Mathews Archery factory is clean and always running like a fine-oiled machine.
The Mathews Archery factory is clean and always running like a fine-oiled machine.

A Top-Notch Dealer Network

Spending money on print, TV and social media marketing has been one of Mathews’ keys to success. McPherson is one who isn’t afraid to shout from the roof tops that his company offers great products. Another key to his company’s success has been to create a dealer network that lives and breathes Mathews Archery.

“If we do a great job of marketing our product, consumers will be driven into pro shops to see our products,” McPherson said. “We have always worked hard to partner with great dealers who believe in our product and who are at the top of their game.”

Many of the top Mathews pro shops in the country are run by businessmen who are excellent bow technicians who offer a customer experience that is second to none.

“Mathews Archery works hard to separate ourselves from the competition, and I believe our best dealers do that as well,” McPherson noted. “Mathews Archery will never sell the cheapest bows on the market. The best dealers aren’t the cheapest dealers in town, either. We have always believed if you build a great product, people will pay for it. The same can be said about many of today’s top archery dealers. Most successful shops out there charge a premium for their products and services, and most customers are willing to pay for it. Most of the best pro shops are busy, and if customers come in and have to wait for a while, they don’t mind be-cause they are willing to wait for great products and great service.

“Sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference. For instance, I have been in pro shops where they offer complimentary soda or coffee. If a person walks in and has to wait for a few minutes, the shop owner or employee offers them a drink. These little details can make a big difference. We want our customers to have a great experience with our dealers and our bows.”


Customer Service Is Key

McPherson believes one of the things that has helped his company succeed is its customer service.

“I believe if there are two car dealerships in a town, consumers are more likely to buy from the one that offers the best service, even if they don’t offer their favorite brand of car,” he said. “As a business owner, I believe we have the best bow on the market, and I want to back that up with the best service in the industry. From our advertising to our product to our dealers and our service, I want our customers to be blown away with Mathews Archery. I have a moral obligation to my customers to take care of their bow if there is a problem. We have had customers cut a string with a broadhead days before they leave on a trip and need it fixed ASAP. We have had customers crack a limb when they drop a bow out of a tree. Whatever the reason for needing a warranty, we want to get it fixed promptly. By doing this, Mathews Archery has been able to continue to grow.”

McPherson says that customer service is often overlooked in most industries, and he strives to offer the best service possible.

“The moment a sale is complete, many companies are looking for the next customer,” he said. “I believe by always taking care of the customer who just bought our bow, my company will continue to thrive. If my current customer is happy, he will tell his friends about our bows and about the amazing customer service.”

Joel Maxfield was the first employee at Mathews Archery when the company was started 30 years ago.
Joel Maxfield was the first employee at Mathews Archery when the company was started 30 years ago.

Keeping the Faith

If you ever get the chance to tour the Mathews Archery facility, do it. It is run like a well-oiled machine. The shop is clean, people are happy, and bows are always being built. You can tell attention to detail is something that is front and center in every aspect of Mathews Archery.

McPherson is a Christian man who is constantly leaning on his faith in Jesus Christ to help him make the best decisions for his company, and it shows in the way he runs his company. Mathews Archery strives to be on the cutting edge of technology, strives to continually push the marketing envelope, and exceed customer expectations. This was the key to its success 30 years ago when McPherson started the company, and is still the key to its success today. Mathews Archery is always striving to be the best in every aspect of the business.


Final Thoughts

Do you own a business in the archery industry? Taking notes from someone as successful as Matt McPherson may help your business thrive as well. His recipe for a successful business is simple, but staying the course can be difficult. Hats off to Mathews Archery and everyone who works there for striving to be their best for 30 years!


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