Relearning Communications Lessons While Fishing

Communications Lessons Relearned While Fishing

Fishing at sunrise on your favorite lake is a wonderful time for reflection on many things.

Communications challenges faced by clients, businesses and organizations kept coming to mind while fishing during the Labor Day weekend. Some of their challenges are parallel to those faced by fishermen for centuries. Advance apologies for the fishing analogies, but many accurately describe today’s marketing and communications environment.

Last month, the Pew Research Center published the research report, “Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015.”

“In today’s world, people—particularly young people—are continually finding and adapting new ways of communicating electronically to fit their needs,” the report stated in its opening paragraph. This is a challenge for marketers and communicators—people who are similar to fishermen.

Marketers and communicators know there are lots of fish in the sea. They’re determined to catch as many as they can. But they need a strategic approach to help them focus on the type of fish, size fish and number of fish they’d like to catch and where to find them. Many businesses and organizations are casting their lines or nets into the water and hoping for good results. Conducting some research, studying past experiences and analyzing markets can lead to better results than simply throwing your line into the water.

“The results in this report reflect the noteworthy and rapid emergence of different kinds of communications tools serving different social needs,” the report said. “These new tools add to an already complex and varied terrain of online and mobile interaction.”

Some key findings from the report:

  • 85 percent of adults are Internet users;
  • 67 percent are smartphone users;
  • 72 percent of online adults are Facebook users, amounting to 62 percent of all American adults;
  • 70 percent of Facebook users logon daily and 43 percent visit several times a day;
  • 59 percent of Instagram users, 27 percent of Pinterest users and 22 percent of LinkedIn users visit the platform daily.

There’s Fish In The Lake

There are lots of fish in the lake. Fish rarely leave their favorite habitat. Once in a while, one might jump out of the water to eat an insect or a smaller fish.

Like most bodies of water and most fish, they stay below the surface and you have to find them. The same can be true for your customers, donors or clients.

Many organizations don’t take sufficient time to conduct research and get to know their customers. They’re confident they’re out there, but they’re not sure where or how they will be able to connect with them. In some cases, untapped or hidden markets aren’t identified and competitors end up catching baskets of fish. In other cases, they use traditional or trusted approaches that might be outdated but are familiar to the c-suite. Just because you caught fish in one cove on one particular day doesn’t mean they’ll be there the next week, month or year.

What Kind Of Fish Are You After?

There are several ways to catch fish. First, it’s best if you know what kind of fish you want to catch. That helps you decide what bait to use.

Your business or organization needs an accurate and clear profile of its customers or target audience. A recent local marketing campaign was aimed toward a particular demographic group. Billboards designed to attract this group displayed captivating images of people much older than the target market. The organization was trying to attract buyers by enticing them with future benefits. Many factors influence campaigns, but sales at this particular business are down more than 50 percent compared to five years ago.

Try Different Types of Bait

Once you find a spot where the fishing looks good, you need to use the right bait. If you want to catch largemouth bass on this lake, many fishermen are successful using a plastic worm. Some fishermen use a particular color of worm—green, brown, black or creme. Other times, they’re successful using other artificial lures.

Your marketing and communications will require a strategic approach and use multiple channels. A diverse content marketing strategy can provide a balanced approach utilizing a number of tactics. Text, audio and video content distributed through a variety of channels—social media, websites, apps—can engage your targeted audience on many levels. Continuous monitoring will provide organizations with data on what’s working and what’s not.


Selfie with a bass to prove I caught one…

Changing What You’re Fishing For

A bass hit on a plastic worm shortly after sunrise, came out of the water and—depending on your perspective—spit the lure out of its mouth or shook its head so the hook was no longer in its mouth.

Sometimes people will be attracted to your product or service, but they won’t buy or participate. However, other strategies might yield different results.

Nothing is more enjoyable than watching children catch their first fish. At this lake, your best chance for success with children is to fish for bluegill using crickets. There are several spots where you can put a cricket on a hook, throw the line into the water and pull out a fish the size of your hand in a matter of seconds.

Proper planning, execution and review of initiatives can help your business or organization be as successful as a child catching a bluegill every time they throw a line into the water. At Mueller Communications, our best days are when our clients catch something on every cast.


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