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Boat show season just in time

I call it the fall boat show tour and itís about to get started. It will begin on the Great Lakes at Michigan City in late August and wind up at Ft. Lauderdale in November. In between there are major ďstopsĒ in many places from Rhode Island to Seattle, Texas to Maryland.
This yearís fall boat shows couldnít come at a better time. Iím referring to the fact that with boat sales having been disappointing this summer, the fall boat shows now hold the most promise of moving out non-currents and, hopefully, even jump starting our 2008 models.
Donít get me wrong. Iím not saying the fall boat shows will create a market that doesnít exist. Sadly, no boat show can do that. However, if my 34 years of producing over 100 boat shows has taught me anything, theyíve clearly demonstrated that shows will draw in whatever market does exist, putting us face-to-face with large numbers of genuine prospects. We know when and where they will be. Itís why the majority of buyers surveyed by J.D. Powers identified boat shows as their #1 source of information.
Truth is no other promotional medium can do that, not one. Not TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, not even the internet which, incidentally, was cited by only 32% of the J.D. Powers survey respondents as a key source of information. All of those media are only 2 dimensional and not interactive. An exhibit at a show, on the other hand, is 3 dimensional, direct contact promotion.
Finally, a boat show has drawing power because it combines and coordinates the money and attraction of many. No dealer could ever reach such a level alone. So, love Ďem or hate Ďem, if there is a good fall boat show in your market area, you need to be in it. Until we can find a better way to place our products, sales people and prospects nose-to-nose, boat shows will remain the single most powerful weapon in our retail marketing arsenal.
Thatís the way I see it, how about you?

Comments

7 comments on “Boat show season just in time

  1. Michael Joyce

    I think Norm Schultz has been a great addition to Soundings Trade and this article was a good example. I sent it around our office to remind people that in a down year, boat shows may be even more important becasue the few buyers that are out there will all show up in one place at the same time.

  2. Jim Coburn

    Norm’s experience is incredible. I too have passed this one around to the marine finance staff at my company. We plan to visit the fall shows important to our market with a positive attitude. There IS a market and we plan to be a part of it!
    Thank’s Norm.

  3. Larry Vaive

    Norm adds great insite to any article.I had the pleasure to work with Norn whrn I had a Boat Dealership in Ohio and was involved with the Boating Association of Ohio.When Norm spoke at our meetings,all the dealers would listen very closely to what he had to say.

  4. Nyla Deputy

    I think you are going to see a lot fewer boats at these shows this year. Simply Because of the cost of getting the boats to the show, and the cost of display space at the show. Manufacturers & dealers can’t spend money to bring boats to a show if they don’t have it to spend. Instead of a dealer or manufacturer bringing 6 boats, he might only bring 2 or 3.

  5. RICK RANSOM

    I THINK BOAT SHOWS ARE BECOMEING A THING OF THE PAST WITH NO OR LITTLE MANUFACTURES REBATES COST OF FLOOR SPACE AND LESS ATTENDANCE EACH YEAR.DEALERS ARE LOOKING FOR OTHER WAYS TO REACH BUYERS

  6. John McDevitt

    The NMMA boasts on it’s website about the number of trade shows it has. Do all these trade shows really help sell more boats or are they creating a finacial burden for the dealers who feel like they must participate in them. I would rather see some of the dealers trade show money invested in service to the customer and training for their employees.

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