Successfully fishing the 6″-deep river

Can you catch fish in a stream with an average depth of six inches?  You can if that “average” includes some areas that are three inches and some that are 12 feet.  And if you find the 12-foot parts where the fish live.

Two things crossed my fish-finder in the past 24 hours. 

  • Thing one: The second half of Nelson Heller’s  “Navigating the Downturn” column where I and various other ed marketers opine on whether the current level of education business constitutes a “new normal” and what to do about it.  Our general conclusion: Things are going to be slow in recovering so be cautious, keep your powder dry, don’t expect miracles. 
  • Thing two: A friend of mine in a specialized area of language arts who just emailed me that his business is up more than 30% so far this year.

The difference?  My fellow sages and I are looking at the average depth of the river.  My friend found a 12-foot section where a lot of big fish were getting pretty hungry.

At the risk of beating a dead fish let’s continue the metaphor.  My friend is in a niche (I won’t identify it for fear all the fisherfolk will rush there) where things are starting to warm up countercyclically.  He has proven fishing tackle: Quality, unique products that have been effective in several states and districts, allowing him to judiciously parlay that success in selected new geographic areas.  He is also continuing to add and improve tightly-related lures – I mean,  materials – that enhance the offering and keep it up to date, as well as giving him good stuff to sell to existing buyers.

Rule 1 in fishing: Go where the fish are.  Do you know where there might be deeper pools for what you already have – or maybe a slight enhancement of what you already have?   Rule 2: If they’re biting on something, give them more of the same.  Have you identified what one or two investments in new product are most likely to pay off in the next 18-36 months?

Off to IRA to see how the fishing is at that end of the lake.  Next entry I promise a report and no more fishing metaphors.

Mike Baum
Sophia Consulting LLC

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About mhbaumk12

Mike Baum has 40 years of experience with all types of direct marketing, has run several companies, spent 25 years as a consultant in franchising and in K-12 education, and currently helps companies find solutions to growth challenges.
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