Last Updated on 6 November 2009

A couple of fishermen are hanging out in their local bait shop. One has a new product idea for out-of-town visitors.

Sell a lake map and fishing lure combo. Take specific fishing lures and tape them to the different lakes on the map. This way the out-of-towner will know the proper bait to use at each particular lake, and will lead to a more successful fishing experience.

If you’re at Watermans Reservoir and want to catch a Northern Pike, you need a spinner lure. At Worden’s Pond after Jackfish? Use a fish-imitation lure or cut bait.*

Here comes the business segue…

We marketers and business owners become frustrated and don’t understand why the money we spent… on fishing poles and worms to catch Orange Roughy at the lake… hasn’t paid off.

If we did our homework, we would have known (a) orange roughy are a salt water fish, and (b) you get them with deep nets, not a fishin’ pole.

It is easy to miss your audience by not using the right venue (lake) or the right message (lure).

Here’s an example. I worked with a client who own a spa. Her customers include:

  1. women looking to be pampered,
  2. women looking for stress/muscle ache relief,
  3. men looking for pain relief (often sports related), and
  4. men looking to buy gifts certificates.

A first approach would be to target the women and men differently. That’s smart. But if you look deeper, you also realize that “woman wanting pampering” isn’t necessarily the same person as “stressed woman.” And “sporty man” has different habits than “gift-giving guy.”

They each have a different motivation for purchase – therefore will respond to a different message. They each have different lifestyles, and the vehicle/venue to reach each will differ.

The more time you spend defining the who, what, where, when, how, and why the better your outreach / communication / advertising strategy.

Don’t simply “fish where the fist are.” Fish for the right fish, with the right bait, in the right waters.

*That scene takes place in the comedy, Best In Show. However, the fishing advice is mine, not from the movie. Also, I posted this earlier today at the Marketing Prof’s Daily Fix blog.