Matt Harlow

Engagement Strategist / Project Manager

Over the past 30 years, Matt has helped local, national and global organizations communicate with audiences to sell products, engage employees and customers, and influence policy. He is a consummate marketer. He has taught college marketing classes and presented to marketing and advertising organizations across the country. Matt has served as an officer in the American Advertising Federation for over 2o years and held offices at the local, regional and national levels.

When Matt sheds his tie, he walks the woods, digs sassafras, picks pawpaws, hunts, kayaks and camps. He and his family have paddled from the Minnesota Boundary Waters, to the Mississippi Backwater and the Inland Waterways of South Carolina (not all on the same trip!).

At DJ Case, Matt’s passion for marketing communications and his passion for nature have come together to serve our clients and, more importantly, the planet. Matt works with clients to develop messaging and communications strategies and manage projects to engage people in conservation. Matt has an MBA with a marketing emphasis and a BS in Marketing from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University and a BA in Advertising from The Ohio State University School of Communication.

Skills & Expertise
Strategic Communication Planning

317 E Jefferson Blvd
Mishawaka, IN 46545
United States

Office Phone
Matt Harlow
Social Listening for State Agencies


Social Listening for State Agencies

As part of a 2022 Multi-State Grant, the Association for Conservation Information (ACI) and DJ Case & Associates utilized social listening to monitor the social media posts about every US state fish and wildlife agency. Every other week, reports were sent to state agencies, and at the end of the year, thousands of posts were analyzed for trends that could be useful in state agencies’ efforts to manage their brands in social media.  

We were able to develop queries for 50 state agencies and monitor those queries for a year. Every single state received these reports. Many reports went to multiple divisions/work units in an agency. These have been helpful to agencies in understanding what is being said about them in real-time.

In 2023, DJ Case is expanding those queries alongside WSFR and ACI to include property names (WMAs, parks, boat ramps, piers, etc.), greatly expanding the number of posts we collect. We are using our agency contacts for each state to help identify which additional areas they would like to hear about. We are also splitting our reports into two modules.

  1. Incoming reports are conversations happening outside the agency about the agency 
  2. Outgoing reports capture the conversations started or promoted by the agency through an agency's own social media

We are adding to the existing queries for all 50 state fish and wildlife agencies and are monitoring social media conversations for: 

  • Positive and negative conversations that revolve around agencies 
  • Demographics of the people having these conversations 
  • What triggers these conversations 
  • How these conversation threads move through social media channels 

We will analyze the data and report results and trends about what social media users are actually saying about fish and wildlife agencies.


Research shows that adults who are interested in hunting but did not grow up in a hunting family need and desire repeated, one-on-one instruction and social support from an experienced hunter to eventually hunt on their own. In addition, many current hunters are willing to instruct new hunters beyond their social circle but haven’t done so simply because they haven’t been asked.

The interest in and use of by mentors and new hunters relies heavily on state fish and wildlife agency and non-governmental organization participation. The process has solicited and obtained commitments of individual states’ participation in the project. These states provide state-certified hunter education instructors to establish an available mentor base for new hunters to pair with from the start. States that participate in the program effectively communicate with and motivate their hunter education instructors to actively participate on the website and mentor new hunters through the platform.

Recent trends in hunter education nationwide suggest a growing cohort of volunteer hunter education instructors with fewer opportunities for educating new hunters in traditional hunter education programs. provides these current state-certified hunter education instructors with additional opportunities to instruct new hunters and share their passion for the outdoors.

DJ Case Ongoing


Engaging New Adult Hunters with YouTube Advertising

YouTube has become the go-to location for learning how to do nearly everything. Regardless of their demographics, if you ask any group of adults where they go to learn a skill, the vast majority of them answer “YouTube.” According to Omnicore, a team of data-driven digital marketing experts: 

YouTube advertising tools provide an opportunity to target these viewers by age, gender, location, and interests.   

We are working with 4 states (one from each AFWA region) to develop and deliver YouTube advertisements offering an opportunity to learn about hunting to adult residents who are interested in outdoor recreation, food, and sustainability. As the ads run, we will study conversion rates and make mid-course adjustments to them to maximize campaign success. In other words, we will be letting real people in our target audiences show us by their actions what makes a successful YouTube campaign. 

DEI Shooting Sports


DEI Youth Shooting Sports

Youth shooting sports programs are some of the fastest growing youth sports programs in the country. These sports do not require you to be the fastest, biggest, or strongest, and all youth can participate equally, even those with physical limitations. However, the participation in the programs by females and minorities does not directly reflect the general population. Furthermore, participation by females or minorities between different shooting sports disciplines is not the same. Understanding the barriers to participation within both female and minority populations will enable us to develop strategies to increase participation.

Black Hunters / JEDI Focus Groups


Black Hunters / JEDI Focus Groups

Unlike many American demographics, little qualitative or quantitative data has been generated capable of documenting the barriers, experiences, and perceptions of Black hunters in a scientifically rigorous or defendable way. Consequently, natural resource management agencies have been chronically ill-equipped to deliver programs, practices, and engagement points to Black Americans that effectively address the specific, and often obscured, needs of this community. Additionally, past efforts have a), proven too generalized to capture the critical nuance behind the barriers and needs of the Black outdoorsperson, b) lacked incorporation of established social science best-practices for researching marginalized communities, and c) failed to provide actionable and effective recommendations for agencies committed to serving and engaging broader constituencies. This project is working to correct the above gaps and deficiencies in our knowledge of engagement strategies for Black outdoorspersons and to empower agencies to implement strategies that can help re-enforce the tradition of Black hunters in America. 



R3 Capacity Perceptions Versus Reality Study

There are many factors that impact hunting participation. Biological capacity often caps the number of hunters for big game animals while development and posted land reduces participation in all types of hunting. Hunters' perceptions of overcrowding and/or game scarcity, distances required to access hunting, plus mandatory hunter education might further dissuade participation. In addition, constant social attention on ‘trophy species’ might be reducing interest and participation in hunting for small game, waterfowl, and other species, especially among new recruits. Concerns have been heard that the outdoor media’s frequent focus on over-subscribed hunts and occasional questioning of the necessity of R3 programs can turn hunters against R3. These issues may eventually combine to cap hunters’ numbers, push out existing hunters when new hunters are recruited, and potentially grow opposition to R3 efforts. Considering national trends in applied R3 efforts, hunting participation and public perceptions cannot be affected by a single or even several organizations. The R3 community must work together to answer questions and implement any changes. With coordination and facilitation from the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, this project will bring together leading R3 organizations to discuss and prioritize the issues, oversee research, develop potential community responses and actions to address R3 capacity and perception issues, and ultimately oversee implementation.



TAG and TAG Review Panel Participation

In 2022, the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports identified several needs for evaluation and assessment within the R3 community. To perform these tasks, the Council assembled a working group of 30+ R3 professionals from all levels of leadership, representing all regions, and engaging state and federal agency staff, industry partners, and NGOs.

Involvement in this working group was divided into two segments:

  1. The Assessment Group (TAG) is the primary working group with a higher capacity and availability for engaging in direct sub-committee efforts. Phil Seng is a founding member of The Assessment Group.
  2. TAG Review Panel (TRP) is a secondary working group that serves in an advisory capacity. Matt Harlow is an original member of the TAG Review Panel.
New Hunter Personas


Effectively Targeting New Hunters: New Hunter Personas

​​​​​​As the largest single hunter demographic group (white, male, Baby Boomers) continues to age ever closer to desertion, the hunting R3 community is urgently seeking ways to recruit new hunters to replace these users as they age out. To do so effectively, R3 practitioners need tools to categorize potential hunters into audience types.

R3 practitioners cannot afford to spend their limited resources engaging with people who have little or no interest in hunting. Neither should R3 messaging be wasted on those who are already hunters or who are already planning to try hunting without intervention. This project was designed to discover the demographic, geographic, and outdoor recreation profiles of adults with the highest likelihood of taking up hunting so the R3 community can concentrate funding and effort where it is most likely to generate the greatest return.

The Wildlife Management Institute teamed up with DJ Case and Associates to apply for a 2021 Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Multi-State R3 Grant to address this issue. The grant was awarded, and the work began in the first quarter of 2021.

Thanks to this AFWA Multi-State Grant, the Wildlife Management Institute and DJ Case & Associates conducted a series of focus groups to document characteristics of new adult hunters and inform a segmentation survey. The survey targeted individuals who had purchased a hunting license for less than five years and then eliminated respondents who had hunted more than five years or who had hunted frequently as children.

The resulting list of respondents was then segmented using a statistical regression model. Using a combination of hierarchical cluster analysis, convex cluster analysis, Gaussian Mixture modeling, and biclustering, we determined new adult hunters naturally grouped into four segments:

  1. Family Firsts (22%) – Family Firsts hunt to spend more time with their families. Their motivation for hunting is social. This segment had the largest percentage of females at nearly 50%.
  2. Self-Sufficients (31%) - Self-Sufficients hunt for the meat - to make themselves and their families less dependent on stores and big agriculture. Self-Sufficients hunt to increase their lifestyle independence.
  3. Locavores (16%) - Locavores hunt because they believe it is a more environmentally sustainable source of protein. Their goal is to lower their environmental footprint by only eating food that was raised and processed within 100 miles of their home, reducing the fossil fuels, chemicals, and preservatives required to feed their families.
  4. Recreationalists (31%) - Recreationalists hunt for the enjoyment of the activity. They like being outdoors and the challenges of hunting more than other segments, and that enjoyment is their primary motivation for hunting.
Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance


Chronic Wasting Disease Info Sharing

Since the discovery of CWD in North American cervids, state, and provincial agencies have been trying to find an efficient way to communicate about CWD to better track and manage its spread. With funding from a series of Multi-State Conservation Grants, DJ Case & Associates teamed up with The CWD Alliance, The Wildlife Management Institute, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Indiana Department of Natural Resources to find out what agencies needed, and then developed a solution to provide the highest priority information available for the least amount of agency effort.  

To learn what agencies need/want, project investigators conducted surveys, personal interviews, and held a workshop with CWD professionals across the continent. Based on these conversations, four online CWD information mapping tools were developed to help document, track, and manage the spread of CWD:  

  • CWD in North America shows counties and wildlife management units in which CWD has been found in wild and/or captive cervid populations. This map is available to wildlife management professionals, hunters, and the public at: 
  • CWD-Related Hunting Regulations provides CWD-related regulations from every state and province. The map shows CWD-related hunting regulations, maps of CWD-positive areas, and the CWD regulatory status of each  states and province. 
  • Carcass Transport Regulations will help users discover regulations impacting the transport of cervid carcasses from one state/province to another. It includes import, export, and pass-through regulations for cervid carcasses for every state and province. It is available to everyone at: 
  • Wildlife Agency Dashboard allows wildlife health and management professionals to research and compare CWD-related regulations or combinations of regulations across states/provinces. The map is available to wildlife health and management professionals only and can be found at: Editing and viewing-only access levels are available. If you would like access, contact Matt Dunfee (  


Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative Landowner Outreach

The variability in habitat created through disturbance is valuable to many wildlife species. Early successional habitats provide habitat for many disturbance-adapted wildlife species and is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States. Absent further disturbance, the suitability of these habitats for dependent species declines as it transitions into mid- and late-successional forests. Its loss across North America has resulted in reduced populations of upland game animals, songbirds, pollinators, and other species. 

Active management of these habitats by landowners is critically important for the wildlife species that depend upon them. Agricultural landowners are the most likely candidates to convert part of their land to an early successional state. Both NBCI and NGA have produced outreach campaigns to raise awareness and encourage interested landowners to contact state private lands specialists about managing for early successional habitat. This project developed a communications and marketing plan (based on tested messages and ads) to help states encourage early successional habitat management on private lands.

Small Game Toolkit


Diversity Small Game Toolkit & Toolkit Implementation

​​​​​​The Relevancy Roadmap identifies diversity and inclusion as critical factors to secure the future of conservation. However, agencies continue to struggle to locate diverse images to use in outreach to broader constituent bases. As part of a 2021 Multi-State Conservation Grant, the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA), Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, Gud Marketing and DJ Case and Associates teamed up to research the hunting motivations and barriers Black, Hispanic, and female individuals face and how photography contributes to enhancing or alleviating those concerns.

The 2021 project team used these findings to inform a three-state photo shoot depicting women and people of color in various hunting scenarios. These photos were added to the R3 Clearinghouse for use by the entire R3 and Relevancy community.

The second phase of the project (funded by a 2022 Multi-State Conservation Grant), provided 5 states with $20,000 each to be used to create, place, and run advertisements utilizing the new photos resulting from the 2021 MSCG project. Interested states applied to the MAFWA R3 Committee. Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin were chosen to participate.

Each state developed and ran a campaign using the test photos. When the five campaigns were combined, messages featuring Black, Hispanic and/or Female hunters reached 19,574,150 individuals and motivated 46,579 of those individuals to click the message to learn more about small game hunting. What follows are case studies on each of those campaigns. The state efforts were summarized in a report and lessons learned were summarized for other states wishing to attract more diverse outdoor activity participants.

Locavore Guide


Locavore Guide

​​​​​​Helping managers plan, organize, and market education programs for the new and growing crop of food-motivated, novice, and adult hunters/anglers.

The tool kit includes:

  • Locavore.Guide Website – a collection of resources to help hunting and angling program managers plan, organize, and market education programs for adult hunter/anglers.
  • Hunting and Fishing for Locavores – a YouTube channel for adult, novice hunters and anglers. We’ve previewed, sorted, and arranged nearly 500 fishing and hunting “how-to” videos that you can share with your participants moving through your training program.
  • Locavore Train-the-Trainers – There’s a lot to learn if you aren’t used to teaching novice, adult hunters and anglers or developing a recruiting program from scratch. This YouTube channel speaks directly to those training locavores to hunt/fish and takes them step by step through creating a program, recruiting participants, and teaching this new audience.
  • WildLocavore - Pinterest is one of millennials’ favorite social media platforms. It offers graphic, bite-size pieces of information and entrainment. We’ve lined up hundreds of hunting and fishing related pins that you can share with your students via their favorite mode of communication, their smartphones.
The Ohio State University


MBA - Marketing Emphasis - The Ohio State University

Earned a Masters of Business Administration with a marketing emphasis from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. Management classes in all areas of business with an emphasis on communication and sales strategy. 1988 GPA - 3.31 

Ad Man

1987 - 2016

Advertising Account Service

Sales and marketing strategy development, project management, creative production and implementation for a variety of consumer and business-to-business account using a variety of media.

The Ohio State University


Dual Undergrads in Marketing and Advertising

Dual undergraduate degrees from The Ohio State University. Bachelors of Science in Business/Marketing from the Fisher School of Business and Bachelors of Arts in Journalism/Advertising from the School of Communications. GPA - 3.71