Quick tip: practicing aquarium marketing

The other day, a colleague likened our current marketing strategy to aquarium marketing. Huh?

“Use the sharks to get people in to see the jellyfish.”

Ah! I like it. For organizations and businesses with one brand and many products, you must be selective in determining who your market leaders are. Most organizations create yearly marketing plans that contain market leaders: in other words, what will gain the biggest audience (revenue, listeners, readers, donations, users, etc.) and where the funds and energy will go. Without this focus, your marketing efforts are, well, sunk. (Sorry.)

No one comes to the aquarium to see the jellyfish. Folks want to see the sharks: sharks are exciting, a bit dangerous, and grab our attention. (Although jellyfish are dangerous if you step on one, but let’s not get technical.)

Most organizations determine three market leaders for the year. Three is a good number because it keeps expectations high and moves the company forward, but it doesn’t overwhelm employees, stretch resources too thin, or create confusion around the definition of your brand.

So choose the products (ideas, sub-brands, services, etc.) that you think are unique enough, attention-grabbing enough and big enough to lead your company in its goals and make those your market leaders. Once you’ve gotten folks in to see the new shark touch tank, then gently steer them toward the jellyfish and the poisonous dart frogs.

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2 thoughts on “Quick tip: practicing aquarium marketing

  1. J says:

    Maybe it’s a good idea to kill off the jellyfish and dart frogs because they are a drag on the shark’s food chain. Why do we show jellyfish? Because they are cute? Where’s the profit in that? Are we the arbiters of the proletariat’s tastes or are we in it for a profit? If they want sharks, maybe we should give them sharks and not be so arrogant as to foist jellyfish on them.
    Just saying, on a hot summer’s eve. (Sorry.)

  2. abbymalikpr says:

    The thing is, the jellyfish and dart frogs still bring in a small bit of revenue. They still have their place. Getting rid of them might isolate a small group of fans, and we wouldn’t want to do that to any of our customers. Some brands are made up of a bunch of smaller products and brands, and tides turn, and different power brands (market leaders) rise to the top, while others shift to the bottom. Who knows, jellyfish may make a huge comeback next year, and we’ll be glad we didn’t discard them, right?

    Never be sorry for “just saying”! Thanks for this insightful comment.

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