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Dealer conference will tackle complexity of marketing

The 2016 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo added a key session on marketing to its growing educational offerings. Meanwhile, the serious national problem of algae blooms in our waterways continues to get worse.

First, the latest addition to the MDCE schedule will deal with marketing, but it won’t be your grandfather’s old discussion of the topic. In his day, running ads in the local paper and boating magazines would just about do it. For today’s marine dealer, however, marketing has never been more complex.

What’s best? Inbound marketing? Content marketing? Email marketing? Event marketing? Experiential marketing? Agile marketing? Or one of 10 other kinds of marketing?

To examine which marketing disciplines are right for you and how much of each is needed, Eric Keiles, founder and chief marketing officer at Square 2 Marketing near Philadelphia, is the latest addition to the MDCE speaker lineup.

Keiles will outline differences and will guide attendees to deeper insight into two of today’s most talked-about forms of marketing — inbound and content marketing. He’ll tackle what they mean, how they work together, whether or not you really need both and what to expect from each.

The MDCE is the industry’s largest annual meeting with hands-on education specifically for marine dealers. It boasts more than 30 educational courses taught by experts from across the industry and around the world in four core categories — leadership, sales, marketing and service plus. There are always takeaways from every session that enable attendees to bring it back to the team. These takeaways, audio recordings and copies of PowerPoints are available free to attendees.

The MDCE is slated for Dec. 5-8 in Orlando, Fla., and is the only dealer-specific conference held annually. It’s presented by the Marine Retailers Association of America and Boating Industry magazine. Full information is available at

Algae concerns grow

If you think the algae problems in our waterways are limited to the East and Midwest, think again. A huge toxic algae bloom has spread rapidly in Utah Lake, sickening more than 100 people, turning the water to a green pea-soup texture and closing one of the largest freshwater lakes west of the Mississippi. It’s located about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Commonly known as cyanobacteria blue-green algae, it has covered almost all of 150-square-mile Utah Lake, further dramatizing that toxic algae is an increasing national problem. The outbreak in Florida is now fouling beaches on the East Coast; an outbreak in Lake Erie once left more than 500,000 people in Toledo without tap water and health departments in many states are posting warning signs against swimming in lakes across the country.

The contamination has also spread to the Jordan River, which supplies irrigation to dozens of Utah farmers, threatening crops like corn, tomatoes, summer squash and other produce.

At the Bonneville School of Sailing, the algae has forced cancellation of more than a dozen groups since the lake was closed.

“This will be a real hit,” says co-owner Todd Frye. According to Erica Gaddis, assistant director for the Utah Division of Water Quality, the lake is largely fed by treated wastewater as well as agricultural runoff.

There’s little doubt a national offensive is needed to reduce the levels of algae-feeding phosphorous and nitrogen that comes from farm and livestock runoff and, secondarily, from wastewater facilities. Federal funds should be distributed to the states so that each area can address the problem in ways that will be effective for them. But the time is now.

As an industry totally dependent on clean and inviting waterways, we must call for action on the national level.


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