Marketing Efforts to Increase Fishing Participation In Oklahoma: A Case History

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) has become increasingly concerned about stagnant or declining fishing license sales and a 50% turnover rate among annual fishing license holders. Marketing campaigns were initiated in Oklahoma in an attempt to reverse the trend. During 2001, ODWC partnered with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) to test the effect of supplementing the RBFF national campaign with local marketing efforts. Local fishing directories were produced, RBFF advertising images and messages were customized for advertising, and both were directed at two local test markets of anglers with a sporadic license buying history. The pre- and post-test evaluation revealed that the campaign was successful at increasing awareness of fishing and boating as recreational activities and that direct mail was the most effective delivery mechanism for campaign messages. During 2002, ODWC expanded the campaign to the entire state but used only direct mail and refined the target segment to male license holders of the age cohort likely to have children and having a sporadic license buying history. Half of the target market received one postcard mailing. The other half of the target market received a value-added packet of fishing information as well as the postcard. Both direct mailings appeared to boost renewal rates. Campaign lessons learned and implications for marketing efforts in other states are discussed.

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