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One-on-one with Quantum's VP of Marketing, Bob Bagby

Date: 3/27/06
Manufacturer: Quantum
Interview: Bob Bagby
Title: VP of Marketing
Reviewer: JIP


Introduction: Being one of the largest tackle manufacturers today, Zebco/Quantum has made a colossal comeback ever since W.C. Bradley took charge of the well known brands. We had the opportunity to sit down with Bob Bagby, Vice President of Marketing at Quantum, for a one-on-one session so we could pick his brain about the past, present, and the future of the company.


Meet Bob Bagby and his 30+ pound Permit


JIP: Hi Bob! Really appreciate the time you're giving us for our one-on-one. Let's begin. Tell us about your personal history at Zebco/Quantum.


Bagby: I have been with Zebco for 19 years. I previously worked in the automotive and heavy equipment industries as a design engineer. I have always had a passion for the outdoors and grew up hunting and fishing with my Dad. My ambition was to someday work in the outdoor industry. When the Zebco opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance. I started as a spinning reel design engineer and eventually managed the R&D group. I then made a transition to product management in the early 90’s and have been in marketing ever since. The marketing group is responsible for both the product management and marketing communications.


JIP: How has Zebco/Quantum grown and/or changed over the years since W.C. Bradley took over?


Bagby: Brunswick acquired a group of outdoor companies that were combined with Zebco to form a large outdoor group. Those companies included Motorguide, Swivel-Eze, Igloo, Roadmaster and Mongoose bikes, and American Camper. This began to create a lack of focus on the core fishing business and Brunswick eventually decided to divest all of these companies except Motorguide and Swivel Eze which they combined with the Mercury Marine business. The acquisition by WC Bradley provided a very supportive corporate parent who allowed the Zebco management team to re-focus on the core fishing business and implement strategies to get the business healthy again. Increased investments were made in R&D, marketing, and global sourcing and literally hundreds of new products have been launched since the acquisition. We are producing the highest quality, most technically advanced products ever and are focusing on both the recreational angler and avid angler with the Quantum, Rhino, and Zebco brands.


Bob hooks up onto a big fish with the Cabo PT baitcast reel


JIP: What would you say sets Quantum apart from its competitors?


Bagby: Fishing is truly our passion and it’s our only business now. We love it and really strive to improve the sport and the fishery. We are unique in that we have both a recreational market and an avid market with the brands that we have. A fisherman can start as a youngster with Zebco and develop into an avid angler with Quantum, Van Staal, or Fin-Nor. We have something for every angler of all skill levels in the categories in which we compete. Our philosophy is pretty simple…do what’s right for the angler and provide the very best product that we can for the price. The test is pretty simple… as fishermen, would we be happy with it for ourselves?  We also know that the bar is pretty high with the avid angler and have put a lot of effort into upgrading our products in this segment and the avid angler is telling us we are on the right path.


A big striped bass falls victim to the Cabo PT setup Bob used to wrestle it to the boat


JIP: In the past year or so you guys acquired two well-known reel companies, Van Staal and Fin-Nor. What's Quantum's strategy behind these acquisitions?


Bagby: We will stay true to these brands and will be introducing innovative products in each of the brands. Quantum will continue to bring cutting edge innovation and technology; Fin-Nor will feature durable, well built saltwater tackle that stands the test of time. Van Staal will continue to focus on the core surf market and any other markets that require precision built products that can survive in a very harsh environment like surf fishing.


Being an avid angler, Bob fishes for all types of fish including trolling for salmon with Quantum's saltwater gear


JIP: What changes, if any, will you guys make with Van Staal and Fin-Nor?


Bagby: We are returning Van Staal and Fin-Nor to being premium brands backed by unmatched quality products and customer service. We are making a number of design improvements in existing products and planning to introduce a few new key products over the next couple of years. We have eliminated the low end Fin-Nor products and will be focusing only on the serious saltwater angler. We will greatly improve customer service and parts availability as well as improve the overall consumer and trade communication. Within two years these brands will be as good as they have ever been.


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