Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

RBFF eyes growing Hispanic market

Studies by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation show fishing participation increased from 46.2 million to 47 million last year. But within the huge 53-million-strong Hispanic market identified in the U.S. Census, only 1.67 million are reportedly fishing.

No wind power on our waterways

Let’s build a wind farm. We’ll put windmills just offshore of a major city and disfigure the view of a beautiful lake. We’ll see if winter’s ice will knock them over; if they’ll interfere with established commercial shipping lanes. We’ll count the birds getting whacked in the blades. We’ll see if they endanger pleasure boaters [...]

Marine dealers part of swipe fee settlement

If you’ve never accepted a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card from any customer at any time between Jan. 1, 2004 and Nov. 28, 2012, please stop reading the rest of today’s blog. But if you have, you’ll be interested in this:

‘Partner In Command’ debuts today

A new chapter in boater education is set to come online today as the United States Power Squadrons and BoatUS unveil “Partner In Command,” the first in a series of online seminars designed to provide boaters with a convenient way to improve boating knowledge and skills.

No Super Bowl is good, but no E15 would be better

Concerns that the Super Bowl would be called for “clipping” the marine industry’s iconic winter boat shows in Miami were benched on Tuesday when the NFL team owners voted to go to a new stadium in San Francisco in 2016 and Houston in 2017.

A checklist of outlawed phrases

We’re now in our peak months of selling. While industry sales figures are mixed and somewhat below expectation because of the lousy spring weather in the Midwest, our recovery continues to move forward with increased activity at the dealership level.

Lake Erie stakeholders take up fight for clean waters

It’s as much about the economy as it is the quality of life for a group of concerned Lake Erie stakeholders who are notable for their newly-formed economic interest group called the Lake Erie Improvement Association. And perhaps it’s a good model for others similarly affected.

Industry should focus on growing Hispanic market

We frequently talk about our need in the marine industry to embrace — make that vigorously pursue — diversity for our future growth. If being an industry that’s “inclusive” isn’t a motivator, or if “political correctness” doesn’t spur action, how about recognizing that’s where prospects with money can be found?

Employee benefits can benefit you, too

Want to keep good employees? Offer good benefits. There’s great truth in that. But the costs continue to rise, pushed mostly by many mandated benefits such as Social Security contributions, Medicare taxes, disability and unemployment insurance (I don’t even want to touch looming healthcare issues).

PETA could have its eyes on anglers

It seems that fishing is constantly under attack these days. No fishing zones are proliferating. Attempts to ban lead in lures are increasing. Closed seasons based on unscientific data are prevalent. What’s next? Drones watching anglers from above?

Should we look at customer service differently?

I’ve blogged about the importance of good customer service many times. I’ve always focused on the importance of fast response and quick solutions to customers’ problems. However, those factors notwithstanding, could it be that we’re looking at customer service from the wrong direction?

Being bullish about the economic future

As we’ve moved into April, the traditional start of our top retail quarter, dealership teams should be pumped by the economic indicators that continue to move in our direction, especially news that Fannie Mae just announced a healthy profit.

Send emails that get read

There must be several hundred emails in my inbox right now that I haven’t had time to read. Although I think I’ll get to them sometime soon, it probably won’t happen. They’ll just get older until I “clean house” one day without ever reading any of them.

E15 appeal to Supreme Court shouldn’t be necessary

It was a very different world when the idea of turning food into fuel might have seemed sensible. Truth is, it never made sense, except to those who hoodwinked Congress into passing a Renewable Fuel Standard that would pay off big for ethanol producers. Without question, that whole concept has clearly outlived its usefulness.

March Madness spills over into politics

For those who think Madness only comes in March (hope your NCAA bracket picks are holding up), I have sad news. Madness crops up any time. However, March seems to lead the pack and I’m not talking basketball. Just for some laughs today, check out a couple of random examples:

Publicity is always worth pursuing

Maybe I’m living in the past. I was, many years ago, a PR man in the Johnson Division of OMC (RIP). I remember writing news releases about everything from outboards to the Air-Buoy. (Anyone remember that product? It was neat, but it didn’t sell.)

It’s time to raise prices

Raising prices is always tricky. We want fair prices for our products and services, but we don’t want to lose customers as a result. It makes for worrisome decisions for all dealers. So when and how do we do it?

Educational opportunities set to expand

The United States Power Squadrons has taught more than 4 million boaters during the last 99 years, but that number is expected to rapidly increase when a new, soon-to-be-announced program begins this spring. Moreover, the value of the Power Squadrons to marine dealers will become more evident, too.

Congressional Boating Caucus: How important is it?

The announcement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association that Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., will join Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., as co-chairs of the Congressional Boating Caucus was welcomed news. It’s timely, then, to look at what the caucus means to all of us in the [...]

What’s holding our buyers back?

As already reported, the Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail was another success and the Detroit Boat Show that runs until this Sunday racked up a very big first weekend.

Events are a great way to know your customers

A recent email from MarineMax reminded me that the time is now for dealers to plan customer events during the upcoming boating season. In this case, MarineMax was promoting a trip for its trailer-boating customers to Mount Dora in Florida and an antique boat show. MarineMax puts a lot of stake in its customer events [...]

Detroit and Miami are barometer shows

Key boat shows at opposite ends of the country — one up north in the Great Lakes’ second biggest market of Detroit, and two monsters in Miami that cover everything the industry has to offer — will open doors today and Saturday and give us a pretty clear indication of just what to expect for [...]

When it isn’t fun anymore: a lesson from ABBA

“It’s sure not fun anymore.” Sadly, I’ve often heard that during this recession, from dealers to salespeople to association directors. All agree they once were having fun. But, the length and depth of this downturn seems to have pounded the fun out of them.

NMMA moves forward as EPA gets a smackdown

In what should have been the ruling in the lawsuit against E15 mandates, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has finally called out the Environmental Protection Agency for using “an unreasonable exercise of agency discretion.”

RBFF: The ‘quiet’ promoters of boating and fishing

It’s called the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s not surprising. If you have, but you’re really not sure what it does, no surprise there either. That’s because this organization “quietly” goes about its work, calling little attention to itself while doggedly pursuing a goal of bringing more people [...]

Marine financing poised for 2013 gains

In case you missed it, there’s good news from the National Marine Bankers Association. It recently reported increased loan activity for 2012 through the third quarter, with 92 percent of those reporting expecting the final quarter will prove the same or better than a year ago.

Don’t be misled by New York show results

If you see the attendance numbers (down 19 percent) at the New York Boat Show last weekend as a bad indicator of the industry’s show season ahead, you’re missing the real picture. Facts support our expectation that the shows will see improved results in 2013.