Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Catch And Release" - Good For Fishing, Bad For Marketing

Too Many Businesses Are Letting Customers "Off The Hook"

By David Miranda

I was watching a recent professional fishing tournament on ESPN.

It was clear that understanding the venue and environmental conditions played a critical role in where fishermen fished, what lure they used, and what techniques they employed to catch more (and bigger) fish than the other competitors - and it had to be the "right kind of fish". The telecast followed many anglers as they tried various locations, lures, and techniques to find the right formula. The winner was determined by the heaviest catch at the weigh-in. A deft combination of strategy, tactics, past experience, local knowledge, and state-of-the art technology were obviously keys to success.

Marketing and fishing have a lot in common.

The fishing venue reminded me of the marketplace and the fishermen were, of course, marketers. Marketers are always fishing for the right type of customers in a highly competitive environment. Depending on the prevailing conditions, they develop strategies and tactics employing a combination of lures, techniques, and technology seeking the right formula to catch the most consumers. Like fishing, good intelligence and past experience are important success factors.

There is, however, a major difference. Anglers "catch and release", but marketers need to "catch and retain".

In marketing today, there is too much emphasis on the "catching" and too little emphasis on the "retaining" since retained customers will "spawn" new ones.

Catch and retain - spawn new business.