Northland is in a clear uptrend. The recent surge started in 2019 with the onboarding of fishing industry veteran Gregg Wollner as CEO to captain the burgeoning brand. Less than a year later Northland acquired the fabled fishing brand Bagley, expanding into premium hardbaits. Rep groups have been added, too, not to mention a constant stream of innovative product introductions. And now, the historic brand has harnessed the progressive marketing knowhow of industry ace Mike Anselmo.
“I have known Mike for nearly 15 years and have admired his passion for our business and the industry. Mike brings marketing expertise that will further strengthen our brands and drive business to our customers. I understand the value of great consumer marketing and we are lucky to have Mike on our team,” said Wollner.
Like many valedictorians within the industry, Anselmo’s fishing lineage dates to his earliest memories. In Anselmo’s case, that means fishing with his family as a child in Hudson, Wisconsin. “I always fished; it’s how I grew up. Living a lifestyle of fishing shaped my ongoing passion for the sport, and eventually the business around it.”
This fishing heritage included Northland Fishing Tackle and Bagley Baits from a young age. “I’ve been part of the Northland legacy, having fished the lures my whole life,” said Anselmo. “I’ve always considered Northland the premium multispecies brand in the Midwest, northern states and Canada. The innovations are unparalleled, from the Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon and Puppet Minnow, to products that built the company like the Fire-Ball Jig and Whistler Jig.”
Anselmo’s successful work experience made him the perfect pick for Northland. As early as his teens, Anselmo was immersed in sales and marketing with a penchant for mass media. He worked part-time and was ultimately hired by what is now iHeart Radio as an account executive, yielding exposure to big business and the art of managing major accounts. (Sidebar: Anselmo’s father pioneered what is now KFAN, Minnesota’s leading all-sports radio network and part of the iHeart Radio empire.)
Later, Anselmo’s spurs in fishing lengthened partnering with In-Depth Media Productions, where he focused on inking sponsors for the popular television show and social media network. In fact, one of his key recruits was Striker Brands, makers of premium ice fishing apparel.
It was with Striker Brands where Anselmo solidified his stature in the fishing industry. Spearheading marketing efforts, Anselmo established Striker as the leader in premium cold weather gear. Additionally, Anselmo was instrumental in Striker’s drive into rainwear and open water fishing apparel.
In his new role as Northland’s marketing director, Anselmo will merge his contemporary marketing mindset with the company’s ironclad marketing department. “Northland already has quality marketing assets in place. My job will be to leverage and guide those toward the company’s aggressive growth trajectory, while solidifying Northland’s dominance in the northern market. And this ambitious pathway includes building the iconic Bagley brand, making it household in the bass fishing market.” Anselmo recognizes Bagley’s heritage, too, still having classic, well-worn balsa baits in his tackle box.
At the core, it was Anselmo’s leadership skills and progressive marketing approach that attracted Northland. “I’ve lived the landscape change in marketing and embraced it. I’ve watched platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram come to fruition, and weigh heavily in the exposure of consumer brands, and ultimately sales.”
To that, Anselmo has expertise in ecommerce and direct sales, but underscores Northland’s commitment to its dealer network. “Northland has always been known for it’s strong dealer support. That will never change. We support their ecommerce efforts, while providing powerful digital assets for physical retail locations. And I will help amplify those efforts.”
Despite Anselmo’s dedication to his professional tasks, he’ll always make time to be on the water, living the fishing lifestyle with his wife Rachel and two children in the boat making memories and nurturing the next generation of anglers.