Lowrance SA boss says tough conditions breeds resilience
“There are two things in South Africa that will always sell in tough times: fishing equipment and alcohol.”
So says Lowrance SA managing director Liz Plotz, who should probably add one more item to her list – her sense of humour.
Lowrance SA not only survived another tough year in the local market but also achieved a rare accolade by winning a Navico marketing award at the annual conference of the global marine electronics giant. Plotz and her team won best distributor for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region (EMEA), beating off many much bigger distributors. The award is all the more impressive given the inertia of the local recreational boating, although Plotz is not one to wallow in the negative. “For us the award is a really big deal,” Plotz told SABBEX. “When you consider how many distributors there are out there, and we are probably one of the smallest ones, for them (Navico) to acknowledge us and say you guys are doing a really good job in your region, well for us that is really huge.”
The secret to her success? Persistence and customer care, says Plotz, who takes great pride in the level of customer engagement evident in her branch’s detailed monthly newsletter. “There is something to be said for knowing your market,” she said. “In tough times what you need to do is be cleverer and tighter and try to count down as much as you can – and make sure that you have the best product available.”
As a specialist in sports fishing the company had benefited from careful research to understand a very particular clientele, Plotz said, adding that research results showed there are three tiers to the fishing market, ranging from parsimonious amateur to seasoned veteran willing to spend a small fortune to outwit his prey – and his peers – with the latest wonder-tool.
And in that regard Plotz has some more good news: the latest wonder-tool has arrived in South Africa and is selling fast: The Ghost Trolling Motor, just arrived. 18 arrived and only four left. Plotz says the product’s sales success illustrates her market philosophy, namely that true fishermen would sooner give up their office job than the thrill of the hunt.
One suspects the same goes for marketers.