FACT: Fly fishing changed my life.
I love fly fishing. I love everything about it. Standing in a river at dawn in the Pacific Northwest is majestic. My favorite thing about fishing is that it forces me to be in that moment; to be present without the interruptions of text messages, emails, and phone calls. Over the years, fishing has taught me a lot. Here is a list of things I’ve learned while out on the river that have made me a better marketer
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
Fish are complex animals; it is often difficult to determine what their behavior is going to be on any given day. Sometimes, they’re ready to bite anything you put in front of them and other days they aren’t interested. Their preferences change constantly. They eat different things in the morning than they do at night. They never stop moving or stay in one place at a time. They spook easy and are very elusive.
They are just like people – complex. Just like fishermen, you have to know your customer. You have to know what your customers like, where they are, and what turns them off to what you are selling.
CHANGE YOUR MESSAGING
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fished with people that never change their fly. They will literally fish all day without a bite, and it will never cross their mind to change the fly. A lot of marketers have the same problem. They’ll continue to market the same way with the same messaging and expect different results. Which is insanity:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
It’s important to constantly evaluate your message and how it’s delivered to the market.
Along with the message, the mechanism for displaying it makes a huge difference. You have to read the market, and understand your customers, observe trends, and position your product in such way that is relevant and inviting.
CHANGE WHERE YOU MARKET
I primarily fish rivers in a boat, which provides a huge advantage over shore anglers. Why? I move constantly. Rivers are fluid, and so are markets. Just like fish, customers are constantly moving, they rarely stay in one place. That’s what makes it fun, you have stay on your feet. When you’re fishing, you have to read the water, and learn where fish congregate; similarly you have to read your markets adjust your messaging and go where your customers are.
RESPECT YOUR CUSTOMERS
As an angler I respect the river and the fish in them. Similarly, you have to respect your customers and your database. If you don’t allow your database to rest, or you’ll burn them out. Relationship Marketing at it’s core is about respecting your customers, getting to know them, and not beating them over the head with every promo you come up with. EVERYONE HATES SPAM CANNONS. Marketing Automation platforms like Marketo can help with this. They can empower you to reach out to customers in a time sensitive way, allowing for better targeted messaging and less spammy tactics. You can dynamically reach leads with relevant messaging where they are at not where you want them to be.
The Old wives’ tale holds true: fishing is better in bad weather. Marketing is better in new markets and disrupted industries. You have to commit to reap the rewards and satisfaction of a job well done. Marketing is all about digging deep, giving it your all, and creating something amazing. The weather doesn’t change for anyone, and neither should you. Create urgency in your marketing organization, show up early, work hard, and ride the market.
STOP TALKING AND START MARKETING
If you’re spending all of your time planning and not getting your message out, you’ll never sway anyone to love your product. The same is true with fishing. If you’re spending all your time talking and tying flies and not actually fishing, you’ll never catch anything.
Fishing and Marketing are both an art of nuance.