The Future of the Fishing Industry.
For as long as man has roamed the earth man has fished. While the ultimate goal has traditionally been to put food on the table, now a days it seems a majority of fisherman are out chasing memories rather than the fish itself. Catch and release fishing is now a majority of what we see here in Montana, this is due to a strong effort by conservation groups as well as Montana fish and game. Although catch and release fishing has been popular for the last 30+ years, but fishing companies are just now starting to really jump on board with targeting catch and release fisherman.
Unfortunately for the consumer most outdoor and fishing companies are stuck in their traditional ways and very few of them are changing their products or marketing tactics to the ever evolving world of outdoor sports. The companies that are able to look to the future while still remembering their roots are the companies that will be able to succeed and give their consumers the best product. There are a handful of companies in the fishing industry that are doing this now.
Simms is the best of the best when it comes to fly fishing gear. They are constantly improving their products and field testing them in the toughest conditions. While it is important for these companies to improve their products as the industry changes, but for this article I will focus on the importance of these companies advancing their marketing techniques. Simms does a great job with coming out with ‘10X’ content on a regular basis. They are always producing badass short clips that prove how tough their gear is in the field. Simms not only produces their own kick ass fishing films, but they also are big sponsors on other projects that are featured on large stages, such as the Fly Fishing Film Tour. Traditional marketing techniques are already obsolete and Simms knows this, right now they are ahead of the game when it comes to producing badass content for their customers, but they will have to continue to grow. In the future I see Simms being one of the first fishing companies to utilize virtual reality in order to give their customers a better experience. As an avid fisherman I can not wait for companies such as Simms to use virtual reality because I would love to be able to field test their products without having to buy them.
Adipose Boat Works
Adipose is another rad and upcoming company in the fishing industry, they make some of the best drift boats money can buy. Adipose already has the strongest social media game of any drift boat company that I am aware of which is a big win for them and helps get their brand to the outdoor industry. Adipose has a large advantage because they are location in Helena, MT so it is easy for them to get outside and take awesome pictures. The biggest advantage they have is that they their customers absolutely love their product, to the point that the customer basically creates all of the marketing content for them. Some of the most popular ambassadors of the fishing industry use Adipose boats and showcase their boat in most of the content they put out on social media. This is what I would consider ‘crowd-marketing’ which helps Adipose because they are able to focus their assets on producing the best drift boats around. I see the future of Adipose marketing being their customers’ content just like it is now. I see their customers continuing to make rad videos showcasing their boats. If they are ever able to utilize virtual reality it would help them greatly, but they would need to grow exponentially or the cost of virtual reality would have to come down. It will be very interesting to see how Adipose adapts to the future of the fishing industry, my bet would be that they continue to be at the cutting edge, especially when it comes to marketing their product.
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Yeti. Like most people when I heard there was a company selling a cooler for $300+ I thought it was nuts, but then I was able to experience the product and it changed my opinion. Yeti has been able to do something that no one though was possible, sell hundreds of thousands of high end coolers. Not only does Yeti produce the best coolers around, but they put out some of the most badass outdoor content on the internet. Yeti has a cult following unlike any other company in the outdoor industry and this is mostly due to their marketing. You can’t just have a great product or great content, you have to have both. Yeti is able to draw customers in with their great content that shows how awesome their product is and they are able to keep them by giving them a great product that can’t be beat. Yeti is able to utilize outdoor ambassadors to their advantage as well, they sponsor many of the biggest names in the outdoor world. They are obviously doing this right now, but they have to continue to be innovative in the future. I believe the future of marketing for companies like Yeti is content. They must continue to produce awesome content that customers want to see. As the world sees more and more ads everywhere we look, I think the future is not in ads, but is in product placement and in producing content that customers want to see. Yeti will continue to be successful if they are able to place their product in places that market their products for them, especially in places that will utilize virtual reality. The future of marketing for Yeti is in partnerships, if they can create the right partnerships with companies that are excelling in the outdoor industry they will be able to be ahead of the rest of the cooler industry, specifically in outdoor industries such as hunting and fishing.
Virtual Reality in Fishing
I have already touched on it a few times, but virtual reality is the future in the fishing industry just like it is in almost every industry. The companies that are able to show off their product using virtual reality are the companies that will be able to give their customers the best experience and sell the most product. I don’t see virtual reality ever replacing fishing, people will always want to get outside and go fishing, but I do see it taking over the buying experience when it comes to fishing gear. In the next 10 years I see people trying out all sorts of fishing gear from their living room using virtual reality, which will be awesome. It is pretty clear that in todays world the companies that are able to adapt to the changing technologies are the companies that will excel. Virtual reality won’t be the only way for fishing companies to be successful but I see it being a very important marketing avenue.
Fishing companies have to market their products to users of all ages which adds another challenge when talking about utilizing technology to market products. While young users will most likely be easy to target using new technology, the older consumers will be much harder to reach. This is a challenge that companies are already facing with the use of social media. Most of these companies use social media to target their younger customers, while their ads focused towards older consumers are placed on outdoor shows and in magazines. I see the future of marketing towards older customers in the fishing industry being focused towards magazines. Call me crazy, but I see magazines and journals continuing to be popular in the fishing industry. I love getting my fishing magazines every month and I know I’m not the only one who has a large stack of fishing magazines laying around. Clearly I am biased, but I hope fishing magazines don’t disappear in the future. While the fishing industry will have to innovate in most aspects, including marketing, I hope that the fishing industry can stick to its roots and still be successful. I don’t think the fishing industry will forget its roots, I believe there will still be printed fishing publications along with the new technologies such as virtual reality.
For a lot of people fishing is an escape from the hustle of the world so it will be interesting to see how the fishing industry reacts to technological advances, but I think it will be beneficial for all involved as long as there are companies that are able to keep up with the future. I hope that the industry choses to adapt to the changing ways of the world instead of rejecting it, but in the end the consumers will decide if the fishing industry needs to adapt or not.
The world is going to change a lot over the next 20 years and no one really knows what is coming, but we do know that business will change and marketing will change. My personal belief is that the use of current social media outlets will decline with the creation of new social media sources. One way or another there will be a platform where we are all connected and that platform will be vital to businesses trying to market their products. It is safe to say that virtual reality will be a large part of social media in the future and that companies will either have to use this to their advantage or have a damn good reason to convince their customers that they don’t need virtual reality. While it will be important for most companies to use virtual reality I see space for an outdoor company to make a big stand against the new technology. I believe there are enough ‘outdoorsy’ customers that are reluctant to change that a company who decided to go against the new big technology could be very successful simply from having a good stance against virtual reality.
I am really hoping that all sectors of the outdoor industry (Skiing, Fishing, Hunting, Camping, Hiking etc.) will band together to give us some awesome products, making it a win for all consumers. If different sectors are able to work together to give consumers the best products we’ve ever seen. There is a huge potential for outdoor trade shows to turn into massive events showcasing new products and technology from all different sectors of the outdoor industry. This would be a huge win for marketers and consumers alike. It would make it easy for companies to show off their products and it would be easy for consumers to see everything they are looking for all at once. These trade shows or conventions would be a great place for fishing companies to showcase virtual reality before it becomes available to the general public. It would be a great place for these companies to try out new technologies on a large number of customers. I think that on a small scale we will start to see virtual reality being utilized by outdoor companies in the next 5–10 years, probably first being seen at a trade show or convention.
The years to come will be very exciting for people in the outdoor industry and I can not wait to see what happens. It is a weird world we live in right now, but its an exciting one and we are lucky that we will get to see some unbelievable changes in the near future. I hope that when technology takes over the world there will still be time and a place to go fishing because in the end that’s what matters. We must not let technology control every aspect of our lives. We must get outside and find ourselves.