The health care bill (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was basically crafted behind White House closed doors. Then, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed it with her now famous statement that, “it’s good and we need to pass it so we can find out what’s in it!” On the Senate side, Harry Reid proclaimed [...]
The other day I watched a guy pull into a handicapped-only parking space, but he had no handicapped sticker hanging on his mirror. Since he didn’t look like he could beat the hell out of me, I asked: “Do you realize that’s a handicapped only space you’re in?” He just dropped the F-bomb and continued [...]
Okay – I admit the words “Congress” and “cutting” may seem incongruous, but boating could lose some outstanding programs depending on the outcome of budget battles in Washington.
I’ve always admired NMMA president Thom Dammrich who, long ago, was among the first to call the production of ethanol nothing but a “great scam!” So, he’s likely grinning, as I am, at the vote last week in the U.S. Senate on an amendment that indicates a majority (73-27) of its members have had an [...]
Is it that in today’s culture it’s wrong to think inside the box? Could it be that in business or government, only thinking outside the box will do?
The fact that fishing is critical to the future success of our industry is well-documented by studies like those from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. As I pointed out here on Tuesday, RBFF’s latest study revealed a whopping 8.4 million anglers do not currently own a boat, but say they’re considering buying one. That’s [...]
Regular readers know I love to fish – freshwater or saltwater, count me in. Accordingly, issues that negatively impact angler access get personal. Moreover, as an industry member, I readily see the extraordinary economic importance of fishing to the majority of marine dealers – reason enough to call attention to angling issues.
Good news for retailers seems too infrequent these days, so here’s some: Yesterday, the Senate torpedoed an attempt to delay the debit card swipe fee reforms (see Dealer Outlook, Jan. 20, 2011 and April 26, 2011) mandated by last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform act.
The use of social media for marketing is apparently picking up speed with small businesses across the county, according to a study just released by Pitney Bowes. In fact, the April research shows that social media, at least by some measures, is beginning to rival even e-mail.
Special events like the ones slated for this month in Cleveland and Ft. Myers, Fla. are proving to be low-cost opportunities to create excitement for boating and related water activities.
Gulf of Mexico: It’s time to check the health of the gulf from the Florida Keys to the Texas coast. Growing concern over reports of sick red snapper and other fish being caught in the wake of last year’s BP oil spill has pushed federal officials to fund an ambitious survey of the entire gulf [...]
I don’t know why I watched the final Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday afternoon. I must admit I’d probably seen less than a half dozen shows by this remarkable talk show icon over the last 25 years. But I am glad I was tuned in to this one.
Good marketing plans are relying more and more on the effective use of information technology, ranging in scope from a good company website to taking advantage of social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. But, despite all the current hype for the “hot” social media outlets, the email newsletter remains the most effective way [...]
I went into my dealer’s to buy a bottle of “green” boat soap. I handed him a $50 bill and apologized for not having anything small. “That’s alright,” he said. “You can bring me the rest later!”
Mention increasing state revenues and keeping people working and you’ll find instant friends in your state legislature these days. The time for local and state marine trade associations to push for positive state legislation couldn’t be better.
While our customers nationwide face potential engine problems from corn-based ethanol at level E-10, never mind the anticipated E-15, the debates, lawsuits and arguments roll on. Surprisingly, the latest comes from Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who have discovered that the $6 billion federal subsidy to the ethanol industry isn’t such a [...]
These days, keeping up with the advances in digital technology seems impossible. We can only imagine. So, let’s have some fun. Is the following science fiction or real?
Three congressmen have demonstrated their genuine lack of knowledge by introducing the “Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Yachts Act” (H.R. 1702), which would eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on boats qualifying as second homes.
The launch of Discover Boating’s all-new “Welcome to the Water” campaign is happening as you read this, and a special webinar is set for dealers to see what’s happening and learn about the newest resources available.
“Motor vessel Special Kay, this is the Coast Guard,” said the voice over my radio. “Be advised you are entering a ‘no-nav’ restricted zone and you are ordered to alter course immediately. You must navigate around the 25-square-mile turbine farm ahead of you. You cannot enter it, fish there or even pass through it!”
Call it the mother of all fee battles – the ongoing clash between retailers and bankers over how much it should cost a retailer to swipe a customer’s debit card (swipe fees). The war should have ended last Friday with a retail victory, but it didn’t.
We successfully lobbied Congress in 2008 for the Clean Boating Act. It was an important victory for pleasure boating. Indeed, had it not passed, our customers would have been required to obtain an EPA permit to discharge virtually anything – for example, boat soap running off a washed deck.
Tomorrow’s anniversary of the BP oil spill should spark recognition that the nightmare from the worst environmental calamity in our nation’s history is far from over. We can’t ignore the damage rained down on the environment in general, fellow boat dealers and marina operators in particular, and the million of families living along the Gulf [...]
We assume the aging process lasts longer nowadays because we’re generally living longer. Not true. Yes, the aging process still happens, but once it starts it lasts about the same length of time as it always has. Surprised? Me, too.
A viable website is very important to any dealership in this digital age. Online search engines have long surpassed offline tools like the yellow pages when it comes to attracting new customers. Moreover, Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines have a wealth of free tools to help small businesses rank higher in the search [...]
With the expected budget battles just ahead, Larry Innis, MRAA’s lobbyist in Washington, predicts: “This re-authorization will be the most difficult one in memory!” His reference: the upcoming reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Fund in which hundreds of millions of boating and fishing dollars will be at stake.
Over the next five years, at least 30 state regulatory agencies will review and renew their marine general NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Permits. Mandated by the Clean Water Act, these permits regulate, for example, discharges of copper bottom paint and bottom cleaning methods used by marinas.
We went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, hoping to bring home a few snapper dinners. We dropped anchor about 16 miles offshore and we found lots of action. But it wasn’t the snapper that were biting. It was gag grouper attacking our baits. Hard hitting and always an exciting fish to catch, gag [...]
These days, add-on fees are providing a way for businesses to generate extra revenue.
Boot Camp – it’s a place for new recruits. It’s a utility for Apple’s Mac OS. It’s was the name of a 2001 TV reality series and there was a 1980s band called Bootcamp. But today it has new meanings worth noting for marine dealers.
The great recession has caused all dealers to run lean and mean. That’s not been all bad. On the plus side, the “dead wood” should have gone out the door some time ago. And, employees who remain have been generally content just to have a regular paycheck.
In the past nine months, four well-known leaders in boating associations have retired or announced plans to do so. None is better known that Phil Keeter, MRAA president, who will retire at the end of this year following 23 years at the national association’s helm.
A variety of issues on the federal level are attracting industry attention these days:
The report this week that Subway tops McDonald’s in the restaurant unit race may seem surprising. Actually, Subway passed McDonald’s in number of stores six years ago and still holds onto that position. The score: Subway 34,239 vs. McDonald’s 32,737. But, just for the record, McDonald’s hauled in $24 billion last year compared to Subway’s [...]
The ravenous Bighead Asian Carp is looking for a way to get into the Great Lakes via the Chicago Area Waterway System and it’s no laughing matter. In fact, as reported in TradeOnlyToday, it’s serious enough that there’s now a bill in Congress to, possibly, eliminate the expected devastation to native fisheries the Carp would [...]
Social media — like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs – are all the talk these days, and rightly so. But, if that’s led you to conclude that e-mail is yesterday’s news and no longer worth the time to use in your marketing plan, better think again.
What is normal now? Spending less? Saving more? Trading down? Scaling back? Everyone appears to have an opinion but no one seems to know for sure.
I attended a meeting last week in which several participants shared ideas about growing boating. Among them: more promotion of the family benefits; aim harder at Gen X and Gen Y; get kids involved at an early age; sell the boating lifestyle, among others – all good ideas, to be sure. But one was missing: [...]
Last weekend’s Miami boat show presented a myriad of new products to the boating public, sending a clear signal the industry is now bullishly looking forward and investing in potential game-changing innovations.
Miami Beach becomes the epicenter of industry sales activity starting today, with the opening of the Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail, as well as the Yacht & Brokerage Show that stretches a mile along Collins Avenue. The big Detroit Boat Show also runs through this Sunday in the Motor City.
Actually locking up some of the big spending cuts being bantered about in Washington this week could go a long way to increasing consumer confidence and, therefore, their spending. That would be good for us. But, oh, the hurdles to get there!
With evidence mounting we’re finally climbing out of the pit, it’s time to put behind us the pressure to sell at any price for the sake of cash flow and start looking to profits.
Does anyone agree that our energy policies border on irrational?
There are many things that combine for good customer service. At least one isn’t complicated and costs absolutely nothing, writes Michael Hess in “Ban this Language from Your Customer Service Vocabulary” for BNET – the CBS Business Net.
As February begins, we’re coming off a month dominated by good news. In January, the Consumer Confidence Index was up . . . new home sales were up . . . the Dow Jones was up . . . and sales at our boat shows were up. In fact, the final three months of 2010 [...]
I spent three great days last week visiting the Cleveland show. Each day I talked with dozens of fellow boaters from organizations I was active in for many years – groups like, Lake County Yacht Club, U.S. Power Squadrons, Lake Erie Safe Boating Council, Greater Cleveland Boating Association, Sea Grant and more.
As President Obama shares with us the State of the Union tonight, there will be no surprise when he says creating jobs is numero uno! What we’re not likely to hear, however, is that until there is an end to the unprecedented drop in credit lines and loans to small businesses like ours, he can [...]
It’s hasn’t received much publicity to date, but the high swipe fees being charged retailers for swiping customers’ debit cards may be headed for a major slashing. In fact, the Federal Reserve in December proposed big cuts, up to 90 percent!
The boat show season has pulled away from the dock and industry hopes that we’ll see signs 2011 will be a year of improvement are being realized in the early going.
It’s boat show season! If you’re not in your local boat show, you’re not in the right place at the right time! That’s the overriding conclusion I draw from the first-of-its-kind “2010 Boat Show Purchase Influence Report” by Foresight Research, a Michigan firm that pioneered the measurement of ROI from marketing communications for the automotive [...]