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Fishing For Customers

December 31st, 2009

Dan Wood has picked up on something I said in Core Intuition 19, about how running a business and attracting customers can largely be seen as an exercise in extracting as many fish as possible from the proverbial customer sea.

Mac Indie Marketing Blog: Fishing For The Big Picture

Dan does a good job of summarizing my version of the metaphor, which is essentially a mental model that customers will always be swimming by your offerings. Whether they get stuck on them or not is mostly up to steps you take to make the software more attractive, functional, and engaging. If they swim away, don’t worry. A new fish will swim back around, and even that “one that got away” is likely to come back to your part of the sea eventually.

But Dan turns the metaphor around, suggesting that when customers go actively seeking for a specific solution, the products should be viewed as the fish. The software or other solution is being fished for by a customer, so you want your product to stick to the hook, instead of somebody else’s.

We’re just dealing in metaphors here. At the end of the day we’re talking about products for sale and the desires of users. We want their desires to stick to our products. To that end, while I find Dan’s inversion interesting, I think it’s simpler to continue with a single model where customers are the fish (no offense intended!).

We don’t need to invert the model: if a customer is seeking out specific solutions or styles of application, our fishing metaphor already has an answer for that. It’s called bait! To recap, at any point in time, you’ll maximize your haul of new customers by:

  1. Having a net in the water.
  2. Having as large a net as possible.
  3. Having as few holes in your net as possible.
  4. Placing attractive bait in that net.

As a vegetarian, I really should have called this metaphor “Fishing For Tofu,” but I know that most customers would be even more offended were they identified as “the tofu.”

3 Responses to “Fishing For Customers”

  1. Scott Says:

    Just one question: where does the stick of dynamite fit in?

  2. Uli Kusterer Says:

    Scott, the stick of dynamite is obviously the Tweetblast. Carpet-bombing everyone, killing some before they even get a chance to consider biting.

  3. Andy Lee Says:

    I know that most customers would be even more offended were they identified as “the tofu.”

    Not as offended as if you’d identified them as The Great Seitan.

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