Webinar gets dealers geared up for MDCE 2018 as registration begins

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Top-rated marketing speaker Marcus Sheridan will offer three seminars at the 2018 MDCE.

Top-rated marketing speaker Marcus Sheridan will offer three seminars at the 2018 MDCE.

Dealer registration for the 2018 Marine Dealer Conference and Expo, which runs Dec. 9-12 in Orlando, Fla., is open, offering discounts for those who sign up this month.

Presenter Marcus Sheridan will deliver three presentations at the upcoming event, said Liz Walz, vice president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, during a webinar last week. The MRAA and Boating industry magazine co-produce the event.

“Marcus Sheridan’s was the highest-rated speaker in the marketing seminar last year,” Walz said during the webinar, which featured last year’s highly-rated keynote speaker Tim Sanders, who has collaborated with Sheridan.

Sanders, who was speaking to social media and search engine optimization, said dealers need to make sure their websites are optimized for phones first and foremost.

“It’s very important, because 60 to 70 percent of traffic from customers comes from a phone,” Sanders said.

Facebook’s new algorithm changes mean that there’s been a 50 to 70 percent drop in the number of people who see a post if your company doesn’t buy an ad for it and is favoring people close in proximity over those farther apart.

“Facebook really changed its algorithm so personal pages are greatly favored over business pages,” Sanders said.

That means that the most views will come from personal pages that tag a business page, he said.

“Incentivize customers who are excited when they take delivery of their new boat to post it on their Facebook page and tag your page,” Sanders said.

There’s been a dramatic drop-off of daily time spent on Facebook from adults over the age of 35, Sanders said.

“We’ll see this trend probably compound over the next year,” Sanders said. “What we’re seeing in the wake of that is, Instagram is actually surging in popularity.”

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also changed its algorithm recently, making it more challenging for companies to gain organic reach.

Sanders predicts more baby boomers will use ad blockers in the coming year — all of which points to the fact that companies need to focus on producing content, not advertisements, Sanders said.

“You’re going to need to be more content-driven than ad-driven,” Sanders said. “You’ll have to redeploy some of the money spend on ads to increase SEO.”

The webinar is an example of the type of content offered at MDCE, Walz said at the webinar’s conclusion.

During the month of April, MDCE attendees can receive up to $125 in savings, Walz said.

The earliest-bird registration offers attendees an additional $25 discount over the standard $25 early-bird discount through April 30.

MRAA members receive an additional $75 off by logging into MRAA.com. With 193 total dealer registrations during the month of April in 2017, MDCE organizers expect similar success in 2018.

The webinar, in part, was to inform dealers that MDCE registration was opening and give them a glimpse into the type of expertise the event offers via its four educational tracks focused on service, sales, marketing and leadership.

“With record-breaking dealer attendance last year, we are excited to see what 2018 brings,” Walz said in a statement announcing registration opening. “We believe that dealers continue to find extreme value in participating year after year and we expect to bring even better opportunities this year.”

In 2017, more than 650 dealers attended the three-day conference setting record for retail registrations. The MDCE, is co-produced by the MRAA and Boating Industry magazine. Registrants will still be able to save with the $25 early bird price up until mid-September.

“Taking advantage of early registration is a great way for dealers and attendees to get a jump-start on their 2018 MDCE experience,” said Boating Industry editor Tim Hennagir.


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