Two years out from its purchase by private equity firm Versa Capital Management, Hatteras Yachts is investing not only in products, but also in its creative department and — perhaps most important — finding opportunities to let customers experience the brand.
The company is set to open a new sales facility at Pier Sixty-Six Marina in Fort Lauderdale that is part of growing the relationship between consumers and the brand, said John Ward, who remains at the helm from the time when Brunswick Corp. owned the brand.
“We’ve got our new yacht center at Pier Sixty-Six that will open later this month, which will be a great venue for the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and beyond,” Ward told Trade Only Today. “It will be a great place to showcase a lot of our products and give dealers an opportunity to bring prospects and customers in to see all this new product before or after the major boat shows.”
Hatteras is slated to make two debuts at the Nov. 5-9 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show — the Hatteras 70 Motor Yacht and the latest Hatterascal factory sportfishing boat, a Hatteras GT70 Convertible.
“There will be a couple more new-product announcements made at Fort Lauderdale regarding what’s ahead for 2016, which I can’t share with you,” Ward said.
The company has hired a new agency to handle the creative side of the business, and some of the new look also will debut at Fort Lauderdale. A new website will partially launch at the show.
“We’ve taken a different tack on the creative side of things that will cover everything from social media to the website, and you’ll start seeing that in materials at the Lauderdale show,” Ward said. “A big part of the marketing side isn’t just those things, it’s this experiential realm we’re pursuing — getting our product in front of people at fishing tournaments, open houses and, in addition, to shows and Pier Sixty-Six.”
The Hatterascal is another avenue to bring the Hatteras experience to consumers.
First christened the Hatterascal, a combination of "Hatteras" and "Rascal," in the mid-1960s, the vessel represented Hatteras at fishing tournaments, boat shows, owners' rendezvous and special events for more than 40 years.
“It’s getting back to that grassroots marketing experience of putting product out in the marketplace and allowing customers to see it and experience it,” the company’s website says.
“We have got the full support from the board to run a full circuit and full tour of the Hatterascal in 2016, and that will kick off in Lauderdale” at the show, Ward said. “That marks a renewal of a longstanding tradition at Hatteras, and that’s really exciting.”
Creating opportunities for customers to experience the yachts is crucial, he said.
“On nasty days I want to take people out on our GT70 and show them what that product will do when the environment isn’t overly friendly,” Ward said. “We think that’s going to help us by giving customers and prospects the opportunity to experience what Hatteras is all about — not just on the convertible side, but on for the 45 Express and for the motoryachts, as well.”