Villing & Company

You Gotta Fish Where the Fish Are

My father loved fishing. When I was little, he sometimes took me with him. I wasn’t very good at it. Maybe because I didn’t like baiting the hook or getting up in the wee hours of the morning.

Dad would always say to me, “Sara, you gotta fish where the fish are.” Good advice. Wrong audience. I still couldn’t catch a fish if it jumped in the boat. However, it’s also pretty good advice for buying advertising media.

With fishing, you can’t just pick a spot and throw out a line. Same with media buying; you can’t just pick a radio or tv station and buy a spot any ‘ol time of the year. Effective media buying starts with knowing your customer and then making media choices focused on the wants, needs, buying and viewing habits of that customer.

Many advertisers know their target but they often lack sufficient knowledge of the media or the media habits of their target. Lacking that information, they frequently purchase media based on their own favorites, a good sales pitch or the lowest price. This isn’t “fishing where the fish are”. Smart media buyers don’t just buy the latest sale or cheapest rates. They take the time to know the target audience and buy the best schedule that hits that target most effectively, while staying within their budget. For example, if one is targeting women 35-64 years of age, it doesn’t make much sense to put advertising on a Top 40 radio station. They’re not there!

Dad also taught me that you have to get on the lake early because that’s when the fish are out looking for food. You have to give them the bait they like to eat so they’ll take the bite. And last, when the fish takes the bait, work hard and fast to reel ‘em in.

Based on that advice, Dad would clearly understand that effective media buying is also a matter of delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time. If it’s back to school time and you sell children’s eyewear, better get your message out to “mom” early and talk about your kid accepted brands and expert exams. Tell them how important eye exams are to their childrens’ health. If you give them the right bait, or the right the information needed to make a purchasing decision, there’s a much better chance they’ll respond to your message. In short, tell your audience “what’s in it for them”.

OK, now you’ve got a bite! The bobber is under the water! Reel ‘em in. That was always the part of fishing that made be nervous. I’d panic and my little sweaty palms couldn’t keep a grip on the pole long enough to reel my fish in! Shoot! Same with marketing. Once you have your customer in the store, on the phone, or on your website; make sure you’re delivering the same brand message that they see and hear in your advertising. All of your points of contact need to be able to deliver the information, service and satisfaction in order to close the sale. Customer service or the web information needs to be up to date on your promotion, sale or general advertising to get the customer to make a purchase.

All of this is simple. One would say that something as simple as knowing how to “fish where the fish are” should be common sense. However, all too often, people forget to follow the fundamentals of effective marketing.

All this talk about fishing is making me hungry for some good seafood. Maybe I can apply these marketing tips to my fishing skills and catch some dinner!

Filed Under: media

Villing & Company

Villing & Co
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5909 Nimtz Parkway
South Bend IN 46628
574.277.0215

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