Discover Boating’s success earns increased support

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There’s good news these days from the industry’s Discover Boating national campaign. A report on this year’s results will be discussed this weekend in Orlando at the annual meeting of the National Marine Trades Council. Then, attendees at the 2012 Marine Dealer Conference and Expo that opens Monday will get a first look at the growth plans for 2013.

The recent announcement that GE Capital has stepped up to support our national effort is great news.

“Supporting the Grow Boating initiative,” said Bruce Van Wagoner, president of GE Capital’s marine division, “is one way we support dealers and manufacturers.”

Beyond GE’s contributions, it sends a much-needed signal to the rest of the financial community to stand up and be counted in our industry’s growth initiative.

Similarly, last month an equally big announcement came from the Accessory Manufacturer Division as its board approved a model for accessory firms to directly support Grow Boating beginning in March with 1/10 of one percent of North American marine sales. The real story in all this is that we’re now seeing additional segments of the industry finally recognize the importance of the Discover Boating campaign and the need to become active contributors to the industry’s future.

The theme for the Discover Boating 2012 campaign is “Welcome to the Water” and it has been a real success story, reports Grow Boating chairman Joe Lewis (Mount Dora Boating Center in Florida). Some examples that the campaign has delivered:

  • More than 887 million impressions on online, mobile and Connected TV
  • More than 22 million video views.
  • Discover Boating outperformed all other advertisers on the Connected TV platform, garnering an 85 percent video completion rate. This is 16 percent higher than industry benchmarks.
  • The aggressive online ad campaign has generated a whopping 1,811,522 visits to the campaign anchor DiscoverBoating.com website. Of that number, 1,507,620 were unique visitors. Moreover, the mobile video completion rate topped out at more than 95 percent and drove nearly 40,000 of the visitors to DiscoverBoating.com.
  • All those visitors racked up a huge 3,316,788 page views.
  • The all-important referrals to manufacturer’s websites exceeded 414,160
  • More than 480,000 viewed the Boat Selector page
  • In search engines, the Discover Boating “boat loan calculator” will come up No. 1 and is one of the five most-visited DB pages
  • The Accessories Section is being used by visitors to research the latest aftermarket products and is redirected to manufacturer’s websites.
  • The “Welcome to the Water” Movie Maker introduced in May is now on more than 115 industry Facebook pages and has already racked up more than 10,500 user-created videos.
  • The Discover Boating Facebook page now has some 550,000 followers (ranked the ninth fastest growing), and in the Travel & Leisure category it’s outperforming big names like Delta Air Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises, to name a couple.

All this doesn’t even include the successful use of Twitter and blogging to raise boating awareness. In addition, there has been a very broad media relations campaign, highlighted by celebrity athletes like Phillies pitching ace Roy Halladay, Kevin VanDam the world’s top bass angler, and six-time NFL Pro Bowler and ESPN analyst Jason Taylor, all appearing on radio and TV shows around the country during the boating season to talk about why they’re boaters.

Overall, if there was ever any doubt that the Grow Boating initiative would be successful, there should be no doubt now. It is solid, outperforming expectations and it should remain a top priority for injecting the boating lifestyle message into the national marketplace. As such, it should also now be obvious that every segment of our industry needs to be making a financial commitment to this effort.

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