Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

What’s the value of our waterways?

Many cities and counties along the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Florida are having a good time deciding how to spend the money they’re receiving in settlements from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of 2010.

Boat shows are still the dominant marketing platform

“There is no way we could have talked to so many people without being here,” said Rod Bensz, director of sales and owner of B&E Marine, while winding down his exhibit at last weekend’s Progressive Chicagoland In-Water Boat Show. He captured the importance boat shows play in every dealer’s marketing plan.

Overcoming the cry of ‘your price is too high’

As you read this, salespeople on the docks for today’s opening of the Progressive Chicagoland In-Water Boat Show are likely grappling with this very issue. Let’s face it: we’re not an industry that builds cheap boats. So what’s a salesperson to do?

Is there a middle class in our future?

Reagan Haynes’ report yesterday on MarineMax’s experience that the middle class is a dwindling part of its customer base is disturbing, especially when viewed in the context of the sluggish recovery from the sales plunge of 2008-09 for our industry.

Giving back is important in business

I watched baseball’s All-Star Game Tuesday night and, while I enjoyed seeing so many of this year’s top ball players, I was most impacted by the pause in the game when everyone stood up to hold a card with the name of someone for whom they were “Standing Up To Cancer.”

Florida fishing-boat customers under attack

“Fishing boat sales in Florida plummet.” That’s a headline I hope never to write, but it’s a very real possibility for dealers who sell fishing boats if anti-fishing interests succeed in plans to deny us access to large areas along Florida’s coast.

Leadership changes at SOBA

Due to a technical problem, please click here to be redirected to the July 28 Dealer Outlook blog “Is there a middle class in our future?” Bernice McArdle is ending an outstanding 16-year career with the National Marine Manufacturers Association in which she has served in multiple key positions. While her list of accomplishments is […]

Does anyone read your emails?

These days, any marketer can throw up a tweet with a hashtag, post a blog or tag something on Facebook. But a successful marketer knows that email is still the best way to reach out.

Discover Boating lands major TV exposure

If you follow Dealer Outlook, you already know I’m a big believer in our industry’s Discover Boating campaign. And when I see multiple morning segments on the nation’s No. 1 cable news network touting how great boating is, it reminds me most dealers probably don’t see the continuous work the Discover Boating team does to […]

Overtime rule and swipe fees endanger dealers

If you think the matter of the new overtime rules or the amount you pay as a retailer in swipe fees are all finally settled, think again. There’s a move in Congress against the new overtime rules (do I hear applause?) while the reductions in swipe fees might go out the window (boos and jeers).

Dealers should consider attending IBEX

The announcement last week that registration is now open for the 2016 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference should resonate with both dealers and manufacturers for two reasons.

Why nothing beats word-of-mouth referrals

These days, dealers face a time-consuming process in selecting what marketing media to use to acquire new customers. Technology keeps growing that list with each outlet possessing unique characteristics, though not all would likely be effective. 

Overtime regulations and the spread of E15

It hasn’t been a good week if you’re a believer that businesses are already overburdened with regulations and that the potential for our customers to misfuel their boats with E15 is becoming more alarming.

Tell a vivid story with video

Marine dealers — at least those who are good at digital marketing — use the web frequently these days. However, the web was built on words and today’s Internet is built on video.

Are millennials really the future of boating?

It’s official. Millennials, those 18-to-34-year-olds, now exceed baby boomers as the nation’s largest population group. It’s a demographic that boating needs to attract if we’re to see serious growth in the foreseeable future.

Ohio event confirms relevance of boat shows

“There were gray skies, cool temperatures, brisk northeast winds off a cold Lake Erie and some unwelcomed showers, but the boat show was very upbeat, well attended and brought in ready buyers,” says Tom Mack of South Shore Marine in Huron.

MBIA uses whiteboard video for recruitment

Every marine dealer, marina operator and service supplier should be a member of their state and/or local marine trade association. The positive return on the extremely low dues investment is always a hands-down good deal.

Encourage customers to plan summer cruises

With the Catawba Island (Ohio) Boat Show starting off the Great Lakes boating season this weekend, dealers everywhere should be encouraging their customers to make plans to do more cruising, fishing and enjoying more days on the water than in many recent years. And especially for those planning to cruise, dealers can recommend a new […]

Open more national parks to boating

The National Park Service turns 100 years old this year and it’s inviting everyone to join the centennial celebration. But I also find it a time to voice disappointment in the National Park Service’s lack of support for increasing boating activity.

RBFF and Disney alliance going strong

It was Disney night this week on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.” As I watched the competition unfold to all-Disney music, I couldn’t help thinking about how the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s alliance with Disney World is going. Turns out it’s going strong.

Does reference pricing work?

We’re confronted with them every day and everywhere: retail reference prices flashing on everything from boots to boats. But a question worth asking is: do reference prices really provide consumers with any informational value and, if so, how?

Is it customer service or customer experience?

I once had an opportunity to go behind the scenes in Orlando, Fla., with the Disney Institute to observe firsthand how Disney methodologies are executed at Disney World and I have always considered Disney the model of the good customer experience … or is it good customer service?

Cheap gas and the effect on ethanol

We paid the cheapest quarterly gas prices in 12 years during the January-March quarter of 2016 and it’s fueling expectations that boats will see much more running time during this boating season. Meanwhile, ethanol continues to be a curse on boating and we might just be losing the war against it.

Don’t poop on the idea of manure as fuel, Part 2

If you missed Tuesday’s blog, it was a look at a University of Michigan Water Center study that found not enough is being done to curtail massive farm runoff, specifically phosphorus, which is known to be the overwhelming cause of widespread algae blooms in many of the nation’s lakes and waterways.

Is there hope in ‘junk fish?’

Dogfish might be a species shunned by recreational anglers these days, but the introduction of “nuggets of dogfish” to the marketplace could be a harbinger of things to come in the world of angling.

How exactly is the boating trust fund paid for?

The boating and fishing industries enjoy $600 million in support from the Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and every time it comes up for renewal in Congress we lobby hard for its continuation. Fortunately, the trust was reauthorized for five years late last year.

Low gas prices help show success

The recent spike at the pump notwithstanding, low gas prices appear to have helped last weekend’s Spring Boating Expo near Detroit and gas will predictably stay low this summer, according to Gas Buddy.

Service failures can be forever

As a dealership owner or manager, you recognize that a service failure might not be your fault, but when it happens it becomes your problem. Moreover, it can be a forever event. Here’s an example of just what I mean.