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Catch Any Fish Lately?

Creating a Marketing Strategy –
By Janice B. Gonzalez © 2016

As a strategist, I see marketing as a science. There is more to it than just creating pretty ads, or sending out press releases or even networking. Albeit, those are all essential components of a good plan, but unless they have a strategy behind it – you may end up with the impression that none of those methods are effective at developing business.

It’s sort of like deciding one day that you want to go fishing. You buy a rod and bait. You rent a boat and you set out to the nearby lake to catch a fish. You sit for what seems like hours in your boat waiting for your fish to bite. After partial dehydration and 3rd degree sunburns, you make your way back to shore empty handed with the foregone conclusion that the fish just weren’t biting. Being ever persistent and hopeful, you return the next day to see if your luck has changed. Alas – a tug on the line. You reel it in. It’s a fish alright, just not quite what you had hoped for. After repeated failed attempts, you conclude that you have “tried everything” and you know that fishing is a waste of time and money.

Unfortunately, that is the approach most people take toward their business. They decide to start a business. They buy stationery, rent office space, let all of their friends know they are open for business, they run an announcement ad and send out a press release. Then they sit back waiting for customers to “hit their line.” After repeated failed attempts to attract enough business through marketing, they too conclude that they have “tried everything” and think it’s a waste of time and money.

I agree. It is a total waste of time and money to set out to do something without an effective strategy. So, how do you build an effective strategy? Let’s go back to the fishing analogy and offer the fisherman some advice.

Here’s his first problem. He decided that he wanted to go fishing but his goal of catching a fish was too general. What kind of fish did he want to catch – Snapper? Mahi-Mahi? Sail Fish? Why did he want to catch it? What was he going to do with it once he caught it? Eat it? Mount it? Release it? The answers to these questions are what set the stage for the strategy he will use to catch his fish. Snapper are reef fish and feed at night and would require anchoring your boat. Mahi-Mahi are surface eaters and feed in the open ocean during the day and require trolling the Gulf Stream. Sail fish only feed during certain times of the year and require drifting in your boat with special “kite fishing” equipment. They’re also caught only for sport. If you don’t know what kind of fish you are hoping to catch, then how do you know if you are fishing with the right equipment, in the right waters, at the right time of day?

Alright, let’s move this analogy along and assume that our fisherman has set his goal – he’s decided he’s going for Mahi-Mahi and he’s decided he wants to catch it because he wants to eat fresh fish. He does a little research on what the best equipment is, what the best spot is, what the best bait is, what time of day Mahi-Mahi feed, and what methods others have used successfully to catch Mahi-Mahi. He sets his strategy accordingly. He now knows what he wants to do, why he wants to do it and how he’s going to do it and he is committed to it knowing that if he follows his plan, he will eventually have success.

This fish story analogy is a little corny – but I like it because fish represent your customers. You need to be able to identify who your customers are so that you can “reel them in”. Once you have identified your customer, you will know where to find them and will be able to set a strategy that will improve your chances for “catching them.” Then all you have to worry about is keeping them. That will be our next topic.

Happy fishing!!!

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One Response to “Catch Any Fish Lately?”

  1. Robert Gonzalez Says:

    Hi Janice,
    I love your fishing analogy and don’t beleive it’s corny at all.

    I have worked in the printing industry hear for 20 years mainly as a production manager,
    but the last nine years i worked for a pharmaceutical prinitng company managing accounts such as GlaxoSmithKline,Boehringer, Pfizer and Schering.

    After many years of late night press approvals, die-cutting and gluing approvals fulfillment and mailings for the Pharmaceutical industry, I realized that i needed to put my knowledge to use for the betterment of myself and my family by going into sales.

    Well i just wanted to tell you that i enjoyed your analogy and wish you the best of luck.
    oh by the way, May is one of the best months to catch mahi mahi from Palm Beach to the Keys.

    Take Care, Robert

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