It has always been my belief us anglers are not that hard to sell fishing tackle to. We are consumers who happen to be absorbed by a passion, and like most enthusiasts, we tend to love all the gear that goes with our sport - we want to buy. Give us a reason to buy, but I also tend to believe that we are often not being very well sold to. I might work in fishing and because of what I do I get to see plenty of fishing tackle, but I am also no different to you. I am a consumer, and when I am looking for stuff to buy, I tend to want to be inspired and informed, and this in turn helps me make my buying decisions.
Look, I've never done a course in marketing or whatever, but I do happen to believe that there is scope to do it so much better here in the UK fishing tackle industry. I take my hat off to Daiwa UK for their video above about the new Certate spinning reel for example. I haven't used the reel and I haven't seen it in the flesh, but aside from a pretty dire voiceover that to me helps detract from the overall impact, there is a part of me that can't help but desire one of the reels after seeing it in that video. Desire is an important word here is it not? That new Certate just looks like an impressive bit of kit. As anglers we tend to feel a kind of emotional attachment to our fishing gear, so why don't more companies target that?
Would something like this "help" you towards deciding that whatever waders/jacket/boots etc. really were up to the job? Does an image like this "speak" to you at all as a consumer, or would you rather loads of really exciting facts about stitching, seam welding, hydrostatic pressure etc.?
Obviously as a photographer I place great importance upon the value of an image to help inspire and inform, and having worked around film crews I can't help but believe in the value of moving images as another means of inspiring and informing us anglers - which surely then "helps" us move towards deciding which gear to buy. How hard is it to inspire us? How hard is it to excite us? It drives me loopy when I see uninspiring/bland imagery used for marketing purposes, and these days video production is so much cheaper and more easily accessible than it was when I made my first TV series for example, so why not use it more as a means of marketing products? Done well of course, which is another trick in itself.
I have worked with a number of different companies over the years, and I hope that I have learnt loads by doing so. I am not about to single out a few instances when I might have wanted to weep with frustration, but nothing has changed my belief - we just aren't that hard to sell to. Is marketing rocket science? I don't believe so, but I do believe successful marketing takes a careful collaboration of the right people who can bring different strengths to the table. If you think about how easy it now is for us as consumers to so comprehensively research items of fishing gear before we buy, then surely the onus is on the companies to "help" us reach those decisions with some good looking, sexy as hell, inspiring, exciting, informative (but not nerdy and boring), and up to date information and marketing?
Look at the video above as an example - ok, so it's in Japanese, and it's hardly as if it's some award winning film making, but does it matter? If we forget the fact that most of us can't understand a word of it, what is it telling us about this Maria Squash lure? Watch the video and then think about it a little bit. If I was an angler looking for a lure to combat rough conditions, then I can see this lure being used in situations like that right here. I get the impression that it is a long casting lure, it's got some nice shiny colour patterns, I can see how it swims, and it's catching a few fish. The lure also seems to be suited to current, you've got plenty of nice shots of fishing rods whacking the thing out, and as an angler I am starting to "desire" this lure for my own fishing - and please bear in mind that I have just picked a video out here that helps to illustrate my points. I did actually used to own a Squash until I lost it to a rock late last year.
Lots of fishing tackle companies don't have monster marketing budgets, but take it from me, the video above has cost very little to put together - yet it speaks to me as a consumer looking to make an informed decision about what lure I might buy. So how hard would it be for more UK or European companies to give us videos like this? How important do you personally find videos as a tool to inform and inspire you? Cheap fishing tackle is mostly about price and what margins the tackle shops are making, but how about as anglers look to improve and upgrade their gear? I can't profess to having any interest in watching carp fishing videos that revolve around static fishing, but I also can't help hearing plenty about them - which means that some of the carp companies believe in them as a tool to inform and sell. Why on earth does so much of the UK saltwater market feel like the poorer relation?
I feel for the smaller companies that might have some awesome gear but haven't got the budgets or perhaps the expertise to get it out there more (although I would argue that the means at their disposal have never been more accessible or cheap), but then I also find it incredibly frustrating when you see the larger companies obviously spending more money on marketing and in many circumstances just not doing a good job at the task in hand - which is persuading you and I to part with our money. Lure fishing especially is fresh, exciting and full of some great looking gear that tends to say "buy me" to the likes of you and I, but perhaps the UK is playing a sort of catchup here? Or am I being unfair here and in fact the UK saltwater market is inspiring in the extreme in the way it markets to us? Some food for thought on a wet and windy Monday morning - come back spring, please.