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Two marketing attempts hit home runs

Two good ideas today come from our industry’s Discover Boating campaign and from a successful marketing concept in the restaurant business.

If you missed it earlier this week, Discover Boating and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation just launched the fourth video in the highly successful series, “Stories of Discovery.” To date, the three earlier videos in the series have already been viewed more than six million times, an awesome milestone.

However, the most important point is that the new video is ready for any dealer to easily embed on their website, something that should be particularly attractive to dealers in markets with a significant Hispanic population. That’s because this newest video is available in Spanish and English.

Specifically, the video takes viewers out on the water with the bilingual Vazquez family. They reveal why boating is so important in their lives and how it brings them together. After reviewing it, there’s no doubt that while this “Story of Discovery” features a Latino family, the video portrays family boating at its best and will be a great addition to every dealer’s website. Notably, the documentary is also in line with both Discover Boating’s and the RBFF’s efforts to attract more of the nation’s growing Hispanic population to boating and fishing. RBFF’s website at will focus on the Spanish version with the capability of toggling to the English version.

Frankly, dealers that haven’t taken time to see the earlier “Stories of Discover” have been passing up on great messages and professionally-produced content available free for their websites. That said, to see the newest video in English, go to

En Espanol:

The soft opening

With the fall boat show circuit about to begin, it’s the time when new models arrive at dealerships to get their premiere public showings in the local boat show. But the restaurant industry’s use of the “soft opening” could be an added marketing tool worth adapting.

The whole idea of a “soft opening” is to invite friends and top customers to a casual event showing off the new restaurant. But more to the point, it’s done to build word-of-mouth and social-media buzz with influential people in advance of a grand opening. The “soft opening” first started simply as a way for restaurant owners to train staff. Now it’s a key part of the marketing plan. But restaurants didn’t invent it. Baseball did.

Baseball has employed the “soft opening” for years. They call it “spring training.” Think about it. Loyal fans show up and pay $20 to watch what is just an exhibition game. No matter, the buzz about the team’s regular season prospects picks up steam fast, the media writes and everything is rolling toward opening day.

The same formula could easily make a successful “soft opening” for a new boat model(s) before the actual premiere at the upcoming boat show. Inviting only friends and top customers to the dealership for an informal yet exclusive event will resonate with great prospects that will respond to a VIP opportunity rather than wait for the show. And while the focus would be on one model, it would be hard for the guests to avoid nearby boats.


2 comments on “Two marketing attempts hit home runs

  1. Ed Bancroft

    I think the idea of target marketing is very important and done well in the video.

    Here is my question; Regarding the entire Discover Boating campaign. Why can’t ‘we’ do something like the “go RVing” campaign, Tom Selleck just has to say one word, ONE WORD…. AWAY and it makes the room stop and turn to the TV. HIS TIMING IS PERFECT. AWAY then the pause, it almost is hipnotic. I when I ask Family and Friends what they think about the RVing spot they get this warm look about them. Then bring up a past memory of camping and Family…
    I know we can’t copy the exact idea but something like it I believe would be a game changer for the marine industry.

  2. Joe Lewis

    Norm once again thanks for letting all your readers know about Discover Boating’s efforts. The “Stories of Discovery” have been a run away success surpassing our wildest dreams.
    Ed glad to hear you like the direction and our latest video featuring the Vazquez family. I’ve got a feeling this one is going to get the most views of the four.
    About your question “Why can’t we do something like “Go RVing”, the answer is simple, we’d love to. Unfortunately our limitation is funding. The RV industry recognized the need to market recreational camping and their products to the consuming public over a decade ago. Their program started well ahead of Discover Boating and has been well funded since it began. As an example in 2014 their media budget alone was over twice the amount of DB’s total budget.
    The Grow Boating BOD has recognized the need to increase our investment in Discover Boating’s marketing efforts. We got some great mid-campaign results we’ll be sharing with the entire industry in the next week or so. We’ve got a great product and stories that are very well received by consumers. We just need to tell them to a larger audience. Getting our message back on TV is the goal.
    Thanks again Norm & Ed.

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