Boat Shows and Dealer Week Are Calls to Action

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UPS is shipping fewer packages, and predicts slower growth ahead. Campbell’s Soup Co. said sales plunged in the latest quarter. These and other examples of diminishing growth, rising inflation, supply-chain woes and probable increased taxes should have every marine dealer’s eyes wide open.

All this and more make two recent industry announcements a call to action: the return to boat show pariticpation and attendnace at MRAA’s Dealer Week conference.

Boat Shows Return

Live events are returning across the country, including boat shows, with boaters attending in strong numbers.

In Ohio, the Catawba Island Boat Show earlier this year set a 16-year attendance record. Similar attendance is expected at upcoming boat shows, particularly with the wave of new boaters eager to learn about, compare and shop the latest boats and other products.

“Now is the time to get in front of this highly motivated audience, strengthen prospects for future sales, and stand out among the competition,” said Jennifer Thompson in NMMA’s Currents newsletter. Thompson is NMMA’s senior vice president of boat and sport shows.

By every measure, Thompson is right. Boat shows remain the industry’s most cost-efficient marketing vehicle, putting dealers face-to-face with thousands of prospects and customers in one place for a defined time. Even more, upcoming shows will be a huge opportunity for that direct face-to-face connection with more than 415,000 first-time boat owners we realized during the pandemic, thus building loyal, long-term customers that will pay off when inventory and demand normalizes.

“This is the year for the industry to rewire how we think about boat shows,” Thompson says. “It’s the opportune time to build long-term brand equity, despite low inventory, and rethink sales strategy and space to engage the next generation of boaters who are eager to immerse themselves in the boating lifestyle and ready to buy.”

While inventory in 2022 may not look like it did two years ago, manufacturers and dealers must work together and showcase products in a reimagined way, elevating the overall show experience and continuing sales.

According to a recent survey of Discover Boating and NMMA Boat & Sport Show audiences, 62 percent plan to attend a boat show, and nearly 80 percent say they’re motivated to attend to find out what’s new. “There will never be a better time to introduce your brand to new audiences that represent the future of boating,” Thompson adds.

Dealer Week, a Must-Attend

“Build Resilience in Uncertain Times” will be the keynote when the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas opens Dealer Week, the industry’s largest annual conference and expo designed by dealers for dealers.

Dealer Week is slated for Dec. 6-9 at Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. The opening session will feature leadership coaches Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, co-authors of Anxiety at Work, which explores the causes of workplace stress and the management practices that have proven successful in reducing tension and cultivating calm.

Gostick and Elton are recognized for their practical strategies that boost resilience, reduce staff anxiety and increase productivity. They’ll address such topics as:

• how to spot rising anxiety levels in your people

• what you can do to ease their concerns

• how you can engage in productive conversations in uncertain times

This high-energy, actionable presentation will be your guide to initiating these strategies in your dealership. Click here for a video of Gostick and Elton previewing their keynote.

More than 700 dealers typically attend Dealer Week because of its focus on methods and opportunities to increase retail success. If there has ever been a critical year to take advantage of Dealer Week, this is it.

I urge every dealer to register now.


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