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NMMA outlines strategy for industry growth

Strategic Plan copy

The National Marine Manufacturers Association approved a three-year strategic plan that will emphasize expanding its advocacy efforts, research, industry promotion and workforce development.

The plan is designed to increase the association’s impact for members and the recreational marine community, according to a story in today’s Currents newsletter, “to ensure a strong, stable and successful industry.”

The three-year strategy was created by a task force of the NMMA executive committee, which comprises boat and engine manufacturers and board members, along with research provided by Robert Newsome, NMMA senior vice president of strategy, engineering standards and membership, and the association strategy firm Potomac Core Consulting.

NMMA president Thom Dammrich said the process for developing the plan took 12 months. It involved interviews, surveys, analysis, brainstorming, meetings of a strategic planning task force and two long meetings of the NMMA board, division board members and Grow Boating board.

“The input from the interviews was used to structure a quantitative survey of all NMMA members, non-members, exhibitors in NMMA shows and MRAA members,” Dammrich told Trade Only Today. “We spent eight months digesting a 100-page report from the research, looking at alternatives and settling on a final plan.”

“The insights we received from hundreds of stakeholders across the industry really drove the direction of the plan and gave us the information we needed to carve out NMMA’s primary areas of focus for the next three years,” said Bill Watters, president of Syntec Industries and immediate past chair of the NMMA board of directors, in the newsletter.

The NMMA board confirmed its “core purpose” is to promote and protect recreational boating with advocacy and market expansion. It will continue with existing programs, as well as increase investment in advocacy at the state and federal levels, conduct more research and promotion focused on retaining and recruiting boat owners through its Discover Boating program, and backing workforce development initiatives.

The NMMA hired two staff for its Washington, D.C., offices, including a federal lobbyist and communications professional. It also plans to hire two regional staff in the Great Lakes and south Atlantic for its state advocacy program.

“In 2020 we expect to add two additional people to our GR team in D.C., one in fundraising and one in communications,” Dammrich said. “We plan to increase engagement of NMMA members in state advocacy, increase plant visits, conduct industry outreach and expand the BoatPAC.”

NMMA plans to raise funding for its BoatPAC political action committee to $500,000 per year, or $1 million per election cycle.

Dammrich said the NMMA also will restore $1 million to Grow Boating in 2019 and “look to do more” in future years.

“We will also dedicate $200,000 a year to consumer research to better understand how to attract and retain first-time boat buyers,” Dammrich said. “We’ll also increase investment in workforce development by creating models for marine businesses to be successful in working locally to attract qualified workers.”

Ben Speciale, president of the Yamaha U.S. marine business unit and chair of the NMMA board of directors, said the executive board “wasn’t surprised” by the committee’s recommendations. “Over the next few years, the strategic plan will guide the association as it works to continue growing and protecting the industry while acting as a blueprint for the association’s leadership team,” Speciale said.

Dammrich said the industry is now in a “good place,” but will face “headwinds” going forward. “We need to get in front of them, particularly in government and in understanding consumer behavior as we work to attract new boaters and keep existing ones,” he said. “Being strategic about how we do that is critical. This plan guides us in doing just that while keeping us moving on programs, from shows to certification, that reinforce our core mission.”

The Currents story included a link to a slide show of the plan’s recommendations.


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