MMA plans panel discussion on decline in first-time boat buyers

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The decline in first-time boat buyers and strategies for reversing the trend will be the focus of a panel discussion, “Saving Generation Agnostic,” when the Marine Marketers of America hosts its biannual general membership meeting Nov. 2 during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

In 2000 first-time boat buyers represented 42 percent of all buyers, compared with 33 percent in 2015, according to results from a recent Info-Link marketing study.

“This is an excellent opportunity to learn how to attract and close first-time boat buyers with insight from leading industry experts,” Wanda Kenton Smith, president of the MMA, said in a statement. “The discussion will include an overview of today’s boat buyers, with insight into the reasons for the sales decline, what it means for the industry and what marketers can to do to keep their prospects in the pipeline and engaged after the sale.”

Panelists include Grow Boating Inc. president Carl Blackwell; Joe Lewis, general manager at Mount Dora Boating Center and Marina; Info-Link client services director Peter Houseworth; Freedom Boat Club president and CEO John Giglio; and BRP/Evinrude global marketing and strategic planning director Oliver Pierini.

Courtney Chalmers, vice president of marketing for the Boats Group, will moderate the discussion.

Sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale show, Freedom Boat Club and Sea Tow, the meeting and presentation will take place at the Bahia Mar Yacht Center in State Room A/B from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is $35 for MMA members and $40 for non-members. Advance registration is required.