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When alphabet soup means all business

When you participate in WTTW (“Welcome To The Water”) on NMD (National Marina Day) you will have a GWP (Great Weekend Promotion).

For the first time, the industry’s Discover Boating national “Welcome to the Water’ marketing campaign has teamed up with the American Marina Institute’s National Marina Day program to take the 12-year marina program to the next level. Moreover, early commitments to the program from dealers and marinas around the country are already leaving no doubts about its nationwide success. So if you’ve heard about it, but haven’t really stopped to examine your opportunities, here’s a rundown:

It’s no longer just a marinas event. This year it’s recast as an all-industry coordinated effort that includes support and participation from across the boating spectrum, including marinas, dealers, manufacturers, marine trade associations and boater education organizations. The objective is to promote the boating lifestyle in a way that will result in increased boating participation — a good aim to be sure. But even more specific, the goal is to have 500 marinas nationwide participating and provide 10,000 on water experiences for potential new boaters.

But participation shouldn’t be viewed as altruistic — it’s all business. Marine Industries Association of Central Florida executive director David Ray is spot-on when he says: “Dealers who participated in [National Marina Day] last year found with very little work it was an excellent event to re-energize dormant leads — those that over the winter boat show season or spring still hadn’t made a purchase. Here’s an opportunity to get them on the water and give them a real taste what boating is all about.”

To that end, the MIACF is a sponsor of the event and is playing a key role of organizing and promoting it locally. “We’re securing marinas in Central Florida as host sites,” Ray says, “then matching dealers and, hopefully, some manufacturers along with boating educational groups, clubs and similar boating organizations. Our objective is to get potential new boaters on the water whether thru demo rides, training sessions or other boating activities.”

The MIACF will also be promoting the event locally. Plans call for supplementing the national exposure that the “Welcome to the Water” campaign is giving to National Marina Day. The MIACF will provide and promote a dedicated website, tailored for search engine optimization, promoting the participating marinas with links to their websites. Ditto for participating dealers with links to their websites. In addition, Ray plans on using local radio, print and PR.

A little imagination will go a long way. Event activities can take many forms at each marina. Demo rides, hands-on boat training, water sports exhibitions, kids fishing events, boating safety demos, contests and prizes, nautical flea markets, expert fishing clinics, couponing with local restaurants, music, accessory booths, refreshments, etc. Each marina and dealer group can work and plan events together to make this a fun day for everyone.

Planning materials? Everything you need to get going is available free, from a planning timeline to resource kits to press releases and much more. It’s all at: www.nationalmarinaday.org

WTTW on NMB will give participants a GWP. It is slated for Saturday, June 8. If you’re a dealer/marina, I urge you to get on board and work with other area dealers who have complementary products. If you’re a dry-land dealer, contact your fellow marina members about working together on a mutually beneficial promotion.

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