MIAMI — Evinrude plans to tell its story more aggressively in 2018 though its regional marketing promotions and by providing boaters hands-on experiences with its engines during events in different markets.
“We’re just getting started,” Tracy Crocker, senior vice-president and general manager, told Trade Only Today. “We’re going into regions where we’re strong, where we’re not strong, and … the dealer will try to meet the customer halfway in the sales funnel. It could be a fishing tournament in Wisconsin, but the idea is to have dealers there to activate it. That’s a page out of the powersports industry.”
The idea is to allow consumers to experience the E-TEC G2 series and educate them that the engines are much quieter and cleaner than the 2-strokes people remember from 20 years ago, Crocker said.
The company has had an uphill battle because of the stigma, and the best way to combat that is by letting customers and dealers experience them and explain that Evinrude’s 2-strokes have three-star CARB emissions ratings.
“The conversion rate at these events is phenomenal,” Crocker said, adding that a dealer that had carried various outboard brands recently went exclusive with Evinrude after holding an event.
The propulsion sector of the industry is in transition — after decades of little change — because of the increasingly integrated systems on boats, Crocker said. “The engine is no longer an accessory to put on the back of the boat. It’s part of the boat.”
“Now consumers walking in and buying a boat, their expectations are not only at the time of purchase, but over the lifetime of the boat,” Crocker said. “The expectation is that they will go five years with almost flawless quality.”
Keeping the engines problem-free and hassle free will help bring the next generation of boaters on board, Crocker said. Evinrude introduced iDock joystick piloting program to help achieve what it calls “effortless boating.”
Those endeavors should help remove some of the hidden costs of boating, cited as one of the main reasons first-time boat buyers pulled the plug on the idea. “The more it’s integrated versus accessorized, the more affordable it is over the lifetime of the boat,” Crocker said.