Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

Online video is a good dealer marketing tool

Remember the early days of online video? It took forever to download a short clip. It came up only in a small window and the sound was lousy.  “Forget it,” we would grumble as we moved on rather than wait. What was novel a couple of years ago is mainstream today. It was about 2006 that the video-sharing site YouTube began sweeping the U.S. According to e-Marketer Daily, three technologies came together: Flash-player for instant viewing without downloading; upload-ability that makes video-sharing easy; and wmbedding code that allows users to post video clips on Webpages or blogs. Bingo! . . . Video became a consumer-driven platform because there was virtually no entry cost. Online video went from niche to mass market.

But, is online video a marketing tool for marine dealers? You bet! That’s because so many people now watch online video so they’re fully at ease with it. According to studies by Lightspeed Research, a whopping 72 percent of U.S. Internet users watch video clips monthly. More specifically, 62 percent watch at least one clip a week, a figure that Lightspeed analysts translate into 97 million weekly viewers. The estimates of Nielsen Online’s (AC Nielsen) are even higher at nearly 117 million. Americans reportedly watched a record 16.8 billion online videos in April, with YouTube accounting for the overwhelming majority of views.

I’m not, of course, talking about online streaming of TV shows or major movies, albeit online video from TV network sites is already a powerful advertising platform. I’m referring to the fact that with little more than an inexpensive digital camera and some healthy imagination, dealers can add video to their Web sites, start sending video messages to customers and prospects, and even make and upload special videos ranging from how- to subjects to holiday greetings.

Truth is, with today’s technology, a salesman could just sit in front of a camera-equipped laptop, video himself talking to, say, a sales prospect or a good customer and send it to their email for viewing later.
Not surprising, some major dealers have already begun using online video. For example, Galati Yachts, Anna Maria, Fla. (, is using some professionally produced/hosted video pushing pre-owned boats.

Perhaps the best example of a dealership’s online video comes from Lakeside Marine Group, Lakeside, Ohio ( Also professionally done, this video lets a number of customers do the talking by sharing their views of Lakeside and its products. 

 Professional or do-it-yourself, online video can be a great tool both the sales and service departments (like, a video update to an owner on work being done on his boat) can use very effectively. It’s worth learning more about.


6 comments on “Online video is a good dealer marketing tool

  1. David Tomen

    It is also worth noting that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. There are more searches conducted on YouTube than on Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo combined. I ask clients all the time how they found one of our listings. I cannot remember the last time they said that they initiated their search on Yacht World, Boat Trader or Yacht Council. They got to me via a search engine.

  2. Chris Kelly

    Good call Norm! I’ve been doing professional online video production for 10 years, and there is one major fact that’s long-since proven. A boat for sale WITH video will get at least 5 times more views than a similar boat without video. Videos like these can be added to listings on to get them to stand out. They don’t have to be fancy, either. Still photos can be stitched together with voice over to make a decent presentation, or real video from a digital camera. I would NOT advise anyone tyring to sell a boat to use a cellphone camera for video. In my opinion these videos are so poor they do more harm than good. Thanks for the post!

  3. Scott MacFarland

    Great information. It’s so nice to hear someone talk about video being a valuable tool for dealers. I have been involved in the interactive agency environment and also at the marketing executive level in the marine industry. I am an advocate of using video on the web both pre-produced and live. Both have a huge impact on customer buying decisions, service and education and their perception of the brand. Of course, if the video is sharable, attached to a blog and a dialogue is started with the customer, then it’s really hitting on all cylinders.

    Because videos are viral, tap into both visual and auditory senses, it still is the best storytelling medium. Also, with mobile marketing playing an integral role in lead generation and shortcodes strengthening that channel, it has bolstered video’s ability to be accessed and viewed virtually anywhere, anytime and integrated with existing advertising.

    What dealers’ really need is an agency who’s not trying to hit them up for every penny they have, but someone who cares about the brand and the growth of the industry at large. There are not many of us left, but hopefully we can shape the next generation positively.

    Scott MacFarland

  4. Edward Rosenthal

    Yacht Council had real video. I hope that Yacht World will soon have the same. I am more interested in having a direct link from my professional site then a utube link. Verizon does not have the ability to send video(file to large). Help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.