Michigan trade group's risk paid off


This week Soundings Trade Only reported that attendance at the Detroit Boat Show was up 19.2 percent. The show, produced by the Michigan Boating Industries Association, ended Feb. 24.

Attendance was 85,087 compared to 71,381 in 2007.

This, in of itself, was fantastic news given Michigan’s depressed market with its auto job layoffs and high unemployment rates.

What’s even more spectacular, though, was the strategy of the Association’s board members.

This group thought ‘outside the box.’

They took a deliberate risk by implementing a strong pre-show ticket promotion. The board members approved issuing promotional tickets to exhibitors, who were then asked to provide these tickets to their client lists. The mailer also included discount coupons.

This pre-show ticket promotion was complemented by an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign plus a repertoire of special events.

Sure, the board members knew the pre-show ticket promotion would result in less ticket revenue for the association. But they maintained their focus on driving attendance. They kept their eye on the long-term. They wanted to stimulate interest in boating and marine products.

They were proactive, which is very difficult to do in tough times. More often than not, people tend to react when things are tough and they lose their focus.

But the board members of the Association maintained and, ultimately, met their goal. Kudos to them.

In tough times such as we’re experiencing, thinking outside the box and taking risks are crucial to stimulating interest in boating, which could ultimately lead to sales.

Share with us the risks you are taking; now is the time to help each other if we’re going to turn the tide on these tough, economic times.

Lois Caliri


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