Small Business Marketing, Fishing, and Other Oxymorons

May I start today’s post with a shamelessly personal story designed to invoke a strangely squishy feeling of sentimentality that you may have never associated with small business marketing before?

Too bad. I’m going to do it anyway.

At 1:00 Sunday afternoon my son’s Cub Scout pack (den? I was a Girl Scout, I get confused about this sort of thing) kicked off their annual Boy Scout Fishing Derby, in which about 100 small children holding fishing poles with extremely sharp hooks on the end gather around a miniscule fishing pond that I have reason to believe contains fewer fish than my Pet Society aquarium to spend several hours seeing which pack can walk away with the most fish.

Actually, saying they spent several hours actually fishing is probably exaggerating the situation a little bit. All right, it’s exaggerating a LOT. The truth is, most of them spend about 15-20 minutes trying to fish, followed by 2 hours of frantically running around the park shoveling in hot dogs as fast as they can. The rest of the time the parents stand there holding their fishing poles, trying to coax them back and wondering what on earth possessed them to come there in the first place (besides the promise of free food). This, my friends, is the ultimate representation of the phenomenon I like to refer to as fishing overload.

What does fishing have to do with small business marketing? Are you putting your customers on overload? There’s a rule of thumb out there that says repetition is the best way to get your message across to your consumers. The question is, how much is too much before you become the now-uninteresting fishing pole your customers run screaming to get away from while your sales team holds onto the fishing poles trying to coax them back?  You don’t want to be forgotten, but you don’t want to become uninteresting either.

How much is too much? Let me ask you. How much is too much before your customers throw in the towel? What rule of thumb does your business use when determining marketing strategy for your long term campaign?