The National Marine Manufacturers Association's board of directors voted unanimously at its May meeting to continue the redirection of Grow Boating funds until June 30, 2010.
Last year, it was agreed the industry would be better served by redirecting 85 percent of assessments toward a combination of efforts designed to increase dealer sales, while maintaining some momentum of the Discover Boating campaign. The remaining 15 percent would support public relations, DiscoverBoating.com, Marine Industry Dealership Certification and a few additional core programs.
"The state of the market is such that with wholesale shipments ... down 70 percent there just isn't enough funds to create a critical mass for a national advertising campaign, and so it was felt that the manufacturers could use that money more effectively to help their dealers with sales today rather than promoting the lifestyle for future sales," Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA and Grow Boating Inc., told Soundings Trade Only this morning.
"All the other aspects of the program are intact and running at full speed," he added.
Marketing efforts include a Discover Boating Facebook page with more than 6,000 "fans," using Twitter to interact with consumers, adding a "social" room with a blog to DiscoverBoating.com and the "I Discovered Boating" ad contest, which has received 150 entries, Dammrich said.
In addition, public relations efforts are continuing, as the NMMA works to get the word out about the boating lifestyle to producers and editors in hopes they will run stories on boating.
Dammrich said the board is hoping to resume a national ad campaign next year.
"I hope that the market has recovered sufficiently by then that it will make sense to do that," he said.
— Beth Rosenberg