Posted by: @spdlm | 08 Aug 11

Marketing – Learning from the masters 3 (Fishing)

I was in a very strange setting (an enjoyable one nevertheless) recently during a holiday in France, with my family and friends. One afternoon, we took a break from the countryside, the fantastic food and wine and decided to checkout the local fishing pond.

I’ve been to 3 fishing ponds in my life before this one, with varied success each time. What I saw and the comments made by my friend, who has been to many fishing ponds, was a reminder how simple things like fishing can be very contrasting from one country to another, with almost the same result.

Let's go fishin'!

The best fisherman

We were based next to a family with 4 kids. They all had their own rods, chairs and a few other essential gears. After a few minutes, it was obvious that they do this often and each time one of the kids catch a fish, the father barks commands at the kid, telling him what to do. This made me smile and reminded me that I was on a peaceful vacation. What was really fascinating, however, was that as far as I could tell, the father caught no fish while I was there and the mom kept on catching these magnificent trout one after the other. I was surprised because of her style of fishing. To me, she seemed like a super-mom. She was looking after the children while sipping wine, making baguette sandwiches and eating them, talking to her neighbor family (not us). Once in a while, she would shoot a glance at her float and her children’s and see if all the floats are still floating. If one of them is missing, she would shout the kid’s name or if it was hers, puts down her glass of wine, calmly walk over to the rod, and picks up her rod calmly. She would simply reel the fish in, remove the hook, re-bait and shoots again. It was almost like part of a shopping trip.

Not very stylish

I was watching the others fish too. One thing that distinctly lacked from the scene was the stereotypical fishers’ style. I don’t remember seeing anyone there with one of those fishing vests, rod rests or other fancy gear. A chair and table perhaps. Like the family next to us, they weren’t particularly paying too much attention to the fishing. They were there with their food and drink, cigarettes and friends and were generally there to enjoy the weather, friends and their wine. Once in a while, one of them will catch a fish and calmly put their wine glass down and reel it in.

Getting the job done

In my view, one of the typical characteristics of a French person is, their nature of getting the job done whatever the circumstances and style. So, watching these very relaxed anglers, I thought to myself, let’s just get it done. Yes, I understand that there is an art-form in the “how” part of any process but I, like the French casual anglers, tend to think that the end result is probably more important than the process. So, if you are stuck for ideas how to sell your ideas and the products, I don’t think the customers (the fish) particularly care about things like who you are, where you are and your experience level, so long as the bait is right, the proposal is communicated well to them and you stand out from the crowd.

Web marketing

When you are marketing in a very competitive space and you don’t want to leave the success to luck, let’s think about the package. Is the bait right for the fish and the setting (Marketing and USP)? Are you sure you have hooked the bait correctly, not showing too much of the hook nor letting the fish take the bait without getting caught in the hook (Monetisation and Retention)? Have you chosen the right space and targeted the appropriate fish matching your muscle power (Business Development)? One thing I re-learned also, was that, even with the perfect equipment and set-up, you will always need patience.


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