Thursday, July 2, 2015

How Are You Fishing?

This past week I came across a comment that likened marketing to fishing.  And the more I think about it, the more I like the analogy.  Even more, I like the interesting contrast between the behavior of businesses (in the real world) and those of people in the analogy.

Simply put, marketing is a lot like fishing.

Businesses are always (or should be!) fishing for customers.  But they often fall short, not catching as many fish as they'd like.  Now, when real fishers don't catch fish, they can implement four poor strategies and one good one.  First, they can fish elsewhere.  Second, they can cast the line more often.  Third, they can put out more lines.  And fourth, they can throw the line farther out.

In a business setting these are likened to (1) trying for a different target customer, (2) more intensive advertising schedules, (3) using more advertising channels, and (4) modifying the target customer to include more types of consumers.  Every one of these is a desperation move.  And (2) and (3) are the equivalent of saying that we can do better if we "yell more loudly".

Or, our hypothetical fisher can change the bait.  And that is the marketing equivalent of re-evaluating the advertising content.  If we don't catch the "fish" in our target market, perhaps we are using the wrong message.  This is a vastly wiser strategy than pouring more brute force into a campaign that has clear problems.

What fascinates me is that real fishers leap to the one good strategy but businesses seem to gravitate to one of the four poor strategies.  Life should imitate art.

Let me ask you, if you are not catching enough fish, are you using the right bait?

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