Three words for success: video, video, video


“Tide Rises for Boat Industry” is the headline in the Tampa Bay Times, clearly capturing the energy and expectations of exhibitors and attendees as IBEX wraps up today.

From the entertaining opening speech by legendary basketball coach Bob Knight on how not to lose, to a special guest appearance by country music superstar and Discover Boating advocate Jake Owen, it’s clear show director Ann Dunbar has taken IBEX to its greatest success yet. I look forward to seeing how she’s going to top this one next year in Louisville, Ky. (IBEX will return to Tampa in 2016.)

But for me, the top opening-day speaker was the dean of marine industry marketers, Wanda Kenton Smith (president of Kenton Smith Marketing). In presenting the awards for best industry videos as president of the Marine Marketers of America, Smith revealed research findings that document today’s consumers, in virtually every important age demographic, have a ravenous appetite for video.

“We must recognize what’s going on,” she said. “For example, 100 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube every minute. A billion people worldwide view YouTube monthly. In the U.S., 153 million unique viewers went to YouTube in July alone. Used effectively, video works.”

The way I see it, Smith’s message is as much for dealers as anyone in our industry. It’s really not complicated, either. Dealers might, for example, assume producing some homegrown video takes fancy equipment and a Cecil B. DeMille-caliber director. Wrong.

With today’s smartphones and inexpensive small digital cameras, any dealer could, for example, shoot a short video of, say, a new model just arrived, upload it and send a link via email to customers who might “fit” that boat.

Or any dealer could shoot a short video of the service manager giving a few tips on preparing the boat for winter layup, upload it and send an email with a link to customers.

Or how about a short video announcing a special Christmas promotion or an invitation to an open house or a preview of what you’ll be premiering at the next boat show. The point is that the possible subjects of short videos are limited only by some imagination.

Will people watch? Can videos make a difference? Let me urge you to get the current print issue of Soundings Trade Only and read Smith’s “Marketing Insight” column on the power of online video. She will convince you if you’re not doing video, you are behind the curve.

While on the subject of video, once again I remind all dealers that the industry’s Discover Boating national campaign has made available, free of charge, three outstanding videos from the award-winning “Stories of Discovery” series. These are ideal videos to include in a dealer’s own website and they can easily be downloaded. To see them, go to: To download them, go to: and click on Stories of Discovery.

Finally, I promised in Tuesday’s blog, as an Indiana University graduate and fan of Bob Knight, that if Coach did not reveal the story to the IBEX all-industry breakfast about the night he threw the chair across the Indiana court, I would tell you. He didn’t, so here it is:

It was a TV timeout. Knight was livid about some bad calls made against the Hoosiers. While talking to his team, this is what we Hoosiers believe happened:

“I kept hearing this woman’s voice in the background calling out ‘Coach Knight, Coach Knight’. Finally, I turned to see where it was coming from and there, across the court, was a wonderful old lady — must have been 75 or 80. She obviously didn’t have a seat. Well, I didn’t want her to have to stand, so I just sent a chair to her.”

It was the only time Knight ever got a triple technical and was banished to the locker room. And now you know the story . . . as Coach Knight often tells it.


The 2021 Top 10 Most Innovative Marine Companies Awards

The marine industry consistently honors products and people. The industry, however, has not recognized forward-thinking companies that are moving the industry in new directions. Soundings Trade Only’s mission is to reflect, inform and inspire.

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