Chase Parsons & John Butts Share Marketing, PR Tips for Success


The National Professional Anglers Association Annual Conference held in early January in Minneapolis offered numerous workshops from veteran pro anglers.  Two tournament winners and full-timers in the industry, Chase Parsons, Brillion, Wisconsin, and John Butts, Dryden, Ontario, presented valuable marketing and public relations classes.

Chase said, “You never know who’s watching,” when offering tips on giving seminars.  John said, “They’re watching you,” as he delved into PR and branding. First, Chase on seminars that entertain and educate.

He said anything is better than droning on and on when in front of a crowd.  Use video, power-point, lure layouts, slides, animation and products to teach.  “Don’t view yourself as a salesman; be a teacher; teach the audience to catch fish,” he said.  Demonstrating techniques will generate product questions.  A photo on screen will show what consumers should look for on the shelves.  Use tackle on stage.

He prefers a power-point presentation which outlines and reinforces what he is saying.  When interspersed with video clips, he said, “These don’t need to be high quality, just show short on-water action, like you with a fish.”  At all times, keep their attention, but always be credible (tell the truth), he warned.

As a representative of pro anglers everywhere and especially sponsors, Chase said, “Use the correct grammar and spelling – don’t look like an idiot.  Always dress professionally.”  He emphasized how pro angler seminars provide a vital role for fishing companies.  Audience questions are the most important part of seminars to Chase, because consumers will understand and can go out and try the tactics being discussed.

Chase told the nearly 200 conference attendees that not only do big-time pros make money giving seminars.  “Knowledge isn’t free, and you should get paid for sharing what you have learned on the water,” he said.  Seminars can be booked by contacting fishing clubs, sport shows, civic organizations, outdoor events, etc.  “There is an exception, and I follow this advice.  I give as many youth seminars as possible for free.  The number one goal is to get more young people into
fishing,” he concluded.

John Butts has worn many sales hats and managed several pro staffs.  He made two points about image, “How you interact and treat people could have a say in your success as a professional angler.  They’re watching you.”  Those watching include potential sponsors, industry leaders, the public, media and other anglers.  They do this via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, videos, websites like Walleye First and The Next Bite, on message boards and forums.  “What you say showcases your personality.  Use your name and always be positive,” he said.  Social media is the new resume.  He said his new position with WestWinn boat group came as a result of his on-line presence.  “If it ever gets on the web, employers will know just by searching Google,” he said.

John said, “Individual pro anglers are a brand; positive brands result in positive returns.  If you don’t define it, others will. It’s almost impossible to fix a brand once it’s broken.”  A good brand image extends careers, creates opportunities and increases value,” he said.  Rules for creating a positive brand follow:

  1. Be careful what you say or do.
  2. One little screw-up can end a career.
  3. Project a professional image at all times.
  4. Dress professionally.
  5. Act so you’re respected.
  6. Be patient with others.
  7. Be courteous and helpful on ramps, on the water, in stores.
  8. Use proper language.
  9. Be especially careful with alcohol in public.
  10. Get involved in local community events.
  11. Join local fishing clubs and regional and national organizations.
  12. Do youth events.
  13. Sponsors like people who give back.

When selecting pro staff and the Canadian team for the PWT and AIM Can-
Am events, John said, “I look for attitude first and reputation second.  If a person does not demonstrate these qualities, I don’t even get to number three which is ability.”  He finished his workshop presentation by saying, “In life you get what you give.”

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