A package of dead fish is an ominous sign that Luca Brasi has been killed and is “sleeping with the fishes” in The Godfather movie. A dead fish delivery can also mean other things, some of which may be even creepier.
My friend Cheryl was a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. She had grown up in Florida, and her parents sometimes took her to Cedar Key, a charming Northwest Florida fishing village with a population of 698 people. After several particularly frustrating months dealing with elected officials and a bad breakup, Cheryl decided to cut and run from the D.C. Beltway pressure cooker. She landed in Cedar Key.
She settled down within a week, taking a job at a restaurant, marketing its products via mail order on its website. Finally, Cheryl was content.
That’s when it started. You see, Cheryl is an attractive woman. At 28 and single, she’s something of a catch, especially in a small fishing village. More than one local fisherman saw Cheryl’s arrival as an answer to his prayers.
The first suitor stopped by during Cheryl’s eighth day living in Cedar Key. He brought her a cooler full of grouper filets, a delicacy around those parts. But remarkably, Cheryl was not impressed with the dead fish.
It got much worse, unless you love seafood. Several suitors each brought his prized catch, attempting to gain Cheryl’s affection. Each fisherman was trying to outdo the others. Within a few days, Cheryl’s freezer was filled with crab cakes, clams, mackerel, bonefish, marlin and a lot more than she could eat. She did enjoy the marlin, and the smoked mullet was eaten before it made it to the freezer.
Yet none of these gifts earned Cheryl’s affection. Only one of the fishermen earned a date with her, and that was in spite of his generous gift. It’s not that she didn’t appreciate it; it’s just that seafood doesn’t make her amorous.
As much as Cheryl didn’t want me to do it, I just had to ask one of the fishermen: Why fish? Why not try to win Cheryl’s affection with flowers or chocolate?
You’d think I had put a gaff hook in his gut. He was totally offended. Fish was much better than any flowers or chocolate. All you had to do was look at the relative prices for each, and besides, the fish was fresher than any flowers could be, considering they’d have to be shipped in from somewhere else.
I see info-marketers make the same mistake all the time. They create a product, something they build from scratch. Then they offer it to customers and are surprised when they don’t eagerly embrace it. It is like bringing dead fish to a girl when what she wants is to be romanced with chocolate and flowers.
If your marketing efforts aren’t going as well as you hoped, consider if you are offering your customers something you are proud of rather than something they want. Maybe your customers view your product like Cheryl views fish; they like your product, but it doesn’t make them fall in love.
What makes your customers fall in love? Sometimes the answer is a lot simpler than we make it.
What do you think? Scroll down to the bottom of the page to leave me a comment. I read every comment and reply when appropriate.