IBEX is for dealers, too

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The name really is misleading. Sure, when the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference began 28 years ago, it was just a small trade event for builders. Today, IBEX has become our industry’s largest all-inclusive trade show.

The truth is, no other event gives attendees so much access to the people and technology shaping the industry. So, it’s an event for everyone that designs, builds, services or sells boats and related products.

IBEX returns to the Tampa Convention Center for three days Oct. 2-4. Thousands of attendees will be drawn there to learn of the latest technology and related products shaping our industry today and tomorrow. The exhibition will include more than 500 displays of products and services filling both floors inside the convention center, the outside waterfront promenade and the docks installed for the in-water portion of the expo.

To thousands of other attendees, however, it’s the educational conference that most draws them. And this year, the conference schedules include 100 learning opportunities found in either the IBEX Seminar Series, the pre-conference Super Sessions, and in the wide-ranging Tech Talk Workshops.

“Overall, we are offering even more educational opportunities than in years past,” said Sarah Devlin, IBEX Education Director.

Digital Marketing: Join the Evolution

A headline educational offering this year will be the “Grow Boating Marketing Summit.” It’s a full-day, expert-packed event in which attendees will learn how to leverage today’s digital marketing. It’s scheduled for Oct. 1, the day before IBEX opens, and for dealers, this is reason enough to head for Tampa.

Good marketing is about making meaningful connections. While human nature hasn’t changed, the ways in which we consume content has changed the marketing landscape forever. Today, every dealer’s customers and prospects live online. But to effectively reach and influence them, solid marketing efforts need to live there, too.
In the “Grow Boating Marketing Summit,” attendees will learn how to leverage digital marketing channels — social media, email, display ads, video, search engines, websites and more — to ultimately increase sales. Organized by the industry’s Grow Boating initiative, all industry stakeholders are invited to attend the Summit and get the tools needed to effectively market to the next wave of boat buyers.

The Summit will feature speakers from a variety of industries sharing their digital marketing areas of expertise. These include: Brooke Skinner-Ricketts (Cars.com) Marketing attribution and dealer networks; Marcus Sheridan (Author of “They Ask, You Answer”) on How the video revolution has changed buyers forever; Tom Martin (Author of “The Invisible Sale”) Automated digital sales prospecting system; Tannis McKenna (Google) on SEO, SEM, Google products and analytics; Brad Dixon (Adaptly) Latest trends on Facebook and other social channels; Steve Pizzolato (Avala Marketing Group) Landing pages and the importance of inbound marketing; and Jack Ellis (Info-Link) Recreational boating trends and statistics.

The discount registration of $159 ends today (Aug. 30) for this summit. After today, regular registration will be $199. Lunch, snacks and beverages are included and the full day of learning will wrap up with a cocktail reception co-sponsored by the Marine Marketers of America.

Overall, dealers can benefit from attending IBEX in three ways: (1) Learn about the latest materials, products and accessories that builders will be incorporating in boats headed for showrooms; (2) Spot potential new profit centers for the dealership; (3) Talk with builders about the technology changes coming tomorrow. Moreover, having a dealership’s service department leader exposed to the latest techniques could mean increased profits from that department.

Finally, it’s also important to note exhibit hall registration is free until Sept. 16, with a $25 registration fee after that date. To review the entire expanded lineup of 100 educational programs, speakers, specialty demo sessions and exhibitors set for this year, just go to: www.ibexshow.com

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