When developing the marketing strategy for your marine, fishing or paddlesports brand, or evaluating your existing plan – it’s important to consider how all of the elements of your system work together. No individual element in your branding or marketing system can successfully drive business for your brand on its own.
In actuality, it takes a balanced approach to your marketing system and its individual components to attract enthusiasts to your brand, engage them on a level they can relate to and then keep them coming back for more.
We like to think of this relationship between the overall brand and all of your marketing vehicles as creating and nurturing a “modern marketing ecosystem.”
A complete and balanced modern marketing ecosystem uses both “inbound” and “outbound” marketing channels.
The Difference Between Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
To thoroughly discuss a “modern marketing ecosystem”, we first have to assume that you’re familiar with the difference between “inbound” and “outbound” marketing. While I won’t go into great detail here – I’ll leave that as the topic of another article entirely – a brief summary might help.
Think of your “outbound marketing” strategies as your more traditional means of marketing/advertising, or “push marketing.” Ad campaigns in fishing or paddlesport publications, commercials on outdoor networks, banner advertising and bulk email campaigns are all good examples of outbound marketing. In all of these examples, you’re using push tactics to get your message in front of your audience – at a time when they may not be specifically looking for your brand or products.
The opposite of “push marketing” tactics would be “pull marketing” or “inbound marketing.” With inbound marketing, you’re creating a two-way communication between your brand and your audience. By leveraging content creation to attract your audience to your brand in an organic fashion, you’re letting your audience find you when they’re ready.
A much less disruptive and natural form of marketing, inbound marketing uses content such as online videos, social media and blogging to get your customers to come to you
In addition to your brand in its entirety, there are four critical components that make up a balanced modern marketing ecosystem:
- Overall branding/identity
- Your website
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media
- Outbound/Traditional marketing components
1 – Your Branding and its Relation to the Ecosystem
The overall look, feel and voice of your brand not only serves to paint the visual picture of your company but also to add consistency to the messaging across your marketing ecosystem.
The majority of elements we consider to be part of your visual brand and messaging fall outside of the idea of “push” or “pull” marketing but are just as important to the health of your ecosystem. Think about what your website might look and sound like if you hadn’t developed the right logo, set a tone and created a voice for your content or chose the right photography and color palette across all of your marketing pieces…
In essence, your branding should be the ever-present face and voice of your company and products – and should permeate everything within your modern marketing ecosystem.
2 – The Website is at the Center of the Ecosystem
We’re firm believers that the website for your fishing or paddlesports company is truly the cornerstone of your brand and marketing efforts. In essence, just about everything you do in your marketing strategy should serve to drive traffic to your website.
This is where you truly have a captive audience and the opportunity to immerse enthusiasts in your brand, demonstrate the value of your products and tell your complete story. As such, your website, and its supporting content should be orchestrated to provide a memorable experience for your customers, while providing you with a quantifiable marketing means.
Keep in mind that your website isn’t just about design aesthetic. (although that’s important, too!) A healthy, robust website is created with careful attention to site architecture, search engine optimization, site performance and, of course, content strategy. In addition, your website should be a true extension over your overall brand – meaning is should be consistent in design and messaging with everything else you do.
3 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization works hand-in-hand with a complete inbound marketing system and is leveraged to draw organic search engine traffic directly to your website. And, what fuels the ability for enthusiasts to “find” your brand online is a robust content strategy.
By generating a wealth of helpful, targeted content for your website through blog articles, product insights, outdoor tips, etc., the visibility of your site on Google (and other search engines) increases – and thus your site traffic does, as well.
We like to think of search engine optimization as being three distinct branches in our marketing ecosystem:
- Local search
- On-site SEO
- Inbound links
These all work together to pull enthusiasts to your brand.
4 – How Social Media Fuels the Ecosystem
Social media, by nature, encourages a two-way conversation between your fishing or paddlesports brand and the enthusiasts you’d like to engage. And as a tool, you’ll strategically leverage social media as an additional method to announce and spread the word about new content that has been added to your website – by sharing links of course.
In addition, your social channels (YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) often become destinations in their own right, thus serving as both a tool – your loudspeaker per se – and another landing spot with different potentials for brand promotion than your website. By providing a wealth of excellent photography, well-produced video content and written story, you not only have the opportunity for your audience to become more immersed in your brand and persona, but you open lines of communication with your audience.
Today, a robust social strategy for brands in the fishing and paddlesports industries is more important than ever. And your customers expect the brands they like and trust to have content and communication available via social media.
5 – Why Outbound and Traditional Marketing Still Matter
Although there is a definite lean in today’s modern marketing ecosystem toward more digital and inbound marketing tactics, outbound marketing can’t be ignored.
Think about exhibiting at your next trade show event without any marketing collateral – no brochures, no catalogs, no email announcements leading up to the show. Even with the most stellar product line, you’d likely be disappointed with the results of the event.
The same goes for hardcore industry publications like fishing and paddle magazines. While many of these publications are growing their online presence and putting
more emphasis in the digital arena, print still reigns supreme among
many fishing and paddlesport consumers.
In addition, your product packaging, trade show exhibit, catalogs, sales slicks, etc., are all important traditional marketing elements that your brand likely can’t compete without. All of these elements are a must for outdoor brands that strive for success.
It All Works Together to Create a Healthy Ecosystem
While we acknowledge that not every brand MUST have each element in our modern marketing ecosystem (maybe Snapchat isn’t right for your audience?) in order for your marketing ecosystem to be healthy and thrive – it must be well-rounded and serve to feed your website and overall brand strategy.
Start with rock-solid branding and a kick-ass website and build your ecosystem from there. And of course if you need assistance identifying which components make the most sense for your brand or in their implementation – let us know! We’d be happy to discuss where you are and where you’d like to go.
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