The Nuts & Bolts of Upstream & Downstream Marketers
Marketing is a like a river. The river is swift, moving, and ever changing. Like our markets. The marketers are the keen fishermen that purposefully craft strategic and operational activities to research, identify, create, launch, promote, and sustain longevity. Like fishing, marketing activities can be broken down to upstream and downstream. The remainder of this post will discuss each and serve to aid you in crafting your upstream and downstream marketing actions within your firm.
Upstream. Is the market as it is before you enter it. It is beautiful to observe, explore, and analyze. As with fishing, you research and learn more about the river, i.e. the market. Doing so, helps you to evaluate your market, segment your market, position to your market, and get your gear ready to make a more predictive, tailored cast. In marketing, such activities: market research, market analysis, market segmentation, market positioning, product or service design, pricing, and distribution channels. This is basically, getting to know the who, what, where, when, why, and how aspects of understanding your market. The same is true with fishing, understanding the demographics and psychographics of your fish helps you to equip yourself with the best tools and strategies to aid in catching more fish and rocking out that fishing hole that others may try so hard to catch. This also reminds me of the strategic planning side of marketing where much of what happens is research, analysis, and crafting initiatives. There is no fishing tales with the right strategy, only fish or in marketing lingo greater ROI or ROAS.
Downstream. Is all of the activities that you need to do to enter the market or within the context of fishing, all the steps and actions that you need to do to get your cast where you want it on the river with the objective of catching the fish that you’ve set your gear to catch. Whereas. upstream is more along the scope of planning, downstream entails the doing of that planning. So, when it comes to marketing, downstream is all of the activities and/or teams required to produce, distribute, promote, and establish meaningful relationships or brand value. Here, you’re in the river, your cast may even be floating along the casts of other competitors, but your preparation and purposeful action will ideally aid in the fish liking your approach better. This is because you’ve learned about the demographics and psychographics of your fish. You understand the angles, flies, and behaviors of what you fish bites, and as such, you have more bites compared to the fisherman that randomly baits up and doesn’t care enough to learn about the market, let alone real people in the market, and hopes that someone will get it simply because of the need or want. So, here, key activities such as public relations, advertisements, demonstrations, workshops, and trainings aid marketers to connect with customers, and customers to connect with the product or service being provided.
As with fishing, one should avoid getting caught up too much in one of these areas to the point that it interferes or limits the overall productivity. Which calls to address the importance of balance and proactive involvement of up and downstream activities. As rivers change, so do markets. Likewise the strategies to enter, compete, and grow change. Perhaps, some bait for thought, is to think about the balance between your upstream and downstream activities. Would you say that you’re activities are balanced, reviewed, and updated accordingly? Is one side focused more than the other? How do you think that may be impacting your overall market strategy?
I leave you with a wonderful quote to ponder…
“To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation- come by grace, and grace comes by art, and art does not come easy.”
~ Norman Maclean from the book “A River Runs Through It”
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by Katie Doseck, Ph.D.
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC