Survey Musings

Just over 4,300 custom rod builders responded to the Rod Builder Survey published in the Volume 14 #3 issue of RodMaker Magazine. This represents the largest number of individuals to ever participate in any survey or questionnaire having to do with custom rod building. The results tell us a great deal about the demographics and buying habits of the mainstream rod building craft.


One of the most interesting pieces of information has to do with how many rod builders actively peruse and participate on the various internet rod building websites, forums and chat rooms. According to the survey results, only 21% are involved in any way with this aspect of modern media.


From that tidbit of information, it then comes as no surprise that just four companies control 75% of the total blank and component sales business.  Of course they all have something in common – they each publish and mail a print catalog. Those catalogs allow them to market to that vast majority, that 80% of rod builders, who are not active on the internet. In the meantime, the dozens and dozens and dozens of component supply dealers who limit their marketing and advertising to the internet, are all fighting over just 20% of the market.


That only a small percentage of rod builders actively participate on the internet also explains why rod building events that limit their marketing and advertising to the internet never seem to draw much of a crowd. How could they – they’re failing to reach at least 80% of the market.


I talked to a dealer last week that told me that he understood that most rod builders can’t be reached via the internet. But he said that he felt that as time went by, more and more would eventually migrate there. The problem is, with 90% of current builders being over the age of 50, and with 90% of the new builders that enter the craft already being over 50, that migration may take a decade or more.  Can his business hold out while waiting for this complete paradigm shift?


The Volume 15 #1 issue of RodMaker will contain complete survey results. Look for it around the 2nd week of February.


Tom Kirkman