What is a “Blowfish” Strategy?

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

When I talk with Brand Leaders about their problems, one of the first things they say is they don’t have enough Marketing Budget to do things they need to do.  But when I observe what they are doing, I see that they are trying to do too much with the little money that they have.  No matter how much marketing spend you have, you should challenge yourself to think and act like a BLOWFISH.

blowfishSimply put, a BLOWFISH strategy is trying to appear bigger than you are.  In the world of highly competitive marketing, whether you are a start-up or a smaller niche player, you need to look like a real player to be noticed and purchased.  To be successful, take all of your marketing budget and put it against one target market who you know you can move.  Talk about one simple message that you know will be the most motivating.  Put all of your money behind one activity that you know will drive your strategy.

You need to hyper-focus all of your resources against a very tightly defined target so that you will be able to reach everyone in the target with your message and move them to take action.  That might mean narrowing the age to no more than a range of 3-5 years.  It also might mean narrowing other demographics such as occupation or income level.  And you may choose to only focus on key influencers and let them take your brand to the bigger mass audience. The big thing for a BLOWFISH strategy is you need to know that everyone in the target is already highly motivated so that all your effort will be in providing your brand as the solution.  In the first time home buyers market, (mortgages, new homes) the idea target is 28-33, when most consumers decide to buy a new home.  If you can win with that target, you’ll be able to establish your brand in the market.  

You need to compress your activities over a focused time period so that you appear bigger than you are.  Pick a 12-week period when you think your audience might be the most motivated to buy and take all your resources you have so you can completely dominate that period.  In the spirit that crowds follow crowds, the target will start to believe that you are a major brand and look like a potential leader in the market.   In terms of Return on Investment, (ROI) yes it’s a higher risk, but on the other hand after 12 weeks you’ll know if you have something–either your promise or your execution–that can move your target to action.  So while the ROI might look riskier it’s actually less risky because you can find out quickly if you pass or fail.  When I was in the allergy business, we took all of our money and focused it on 8 weeks of pollen season and 4 weeks of rag weed season, believing if we won these 12 weeks, we’d win the year.  We saw tremendous growth going from a distant #2 to the clear #1 brand.

Take all your resources and focus them on the activities you know will have the most impact in moving your target to buy your brand.  Where as most brands seem to spread their resources across 50 activities, I usually recommend only 9 activities.  I believe that 3 strategies with 3 tactics per strategy gives you 9 activities that you can do an amazing job against.  I’d put my 9 up against your 50 any day.  For a BLOWFISH strategy, I’d recommend you only do 3 activities and do them well.  If you know your concept is better than the product, focus on advertising, if you know your product is better than the concept then focus on trial.  If it’s a consumer driven brand, put all your money on the consumer and let them search and demand the product.  But if it’s about being on shelf, then focus on the retailers.  When I was in the confectionary business, we had such a unique format on Listerine strips that we spent all our money on sampling before we even got to shelf.  The product was so unique, people wanted to share their secret.  We were able to track that consumers were sharing a pack of 24 strips with up to 13 people, so that the consumers were doing the work for us.  In our first share period, we were the #1 brand.  

While many start-ups or smaller brands use this strategy, the ideals behind the BLOWFISH strategy are relevant to everyone.  Look and act bigger than you are.   Take all of your resources and put them to one target, one message, one time period with fewer  bigger bets that you know will pay off.  Wait a second, that’s starting to sound like Marketing, not just this crazy BLOWFISH strategy.

Like a BLOWFISH, Brands need to look and act bigger than they are.


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I run the Brand Leader Learning Center,  with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders.  To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here:   Brand Leadership Learning Center

To reach out directly, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com

About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge.  Im a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke.  My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.