Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

Dealers should consider attending IBEX

The announcement last week that registration is now open for the 2016 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference should resonate with both dealers and manufacturers for two reasons.

Why nothing beats word-of-mouth referrals

These days, dealers face a time-consuming process in selecting what marketing media to use to acquire new customers. Technology keeps growing that list with each outlet possessing unique characteristics, though not all would likely be effective. 

Overtime regulations and the spread of E15

It hasn’t been a good week if you’re a believer that businesses are already overburdened with regulations and that the potential for our customers to misfuel their boats with E15 is becoming more alarming.

Tell a vivid story with video

Marine dealers — at least those who are good at digital marketing — use the web frequently these days. However, the web was built on words and today’s Internet is built on video.

Are millennials really the future of boating?

It’s official. Millennials, those 18-to-34-year-olds, now exceed baby boomers as the nation’s largest population group. It’s a demographic that boating needs to attract if we’re to see serious growth in the foreseeable future.

Ohio event confirms relevance of boat shows

“There were gray skies, cool temperatures, brisk northeast winds off a cold Lake Erie and some unwelcomed showers, but the boat show was very upbeat, well attended and brought in ready buyers,” says Tom Mack of South Shore Marine in Huron.

MBIA uses whiteboard video for recruitment

Every marine dealer, marina operator and service supplier should be a member of their state and/or local marine trade association. The positive return on the extremely low dues investment is always a hands-down good deal.

Encourage customers to plan summer cruises

With the Catawba Island (Ohio) Boat Show starting off the Great Lakes boating season this weekend, dealers everywhere should be encouraging their customers to make plans to do more cruising, fishing and enjoying more days on the water than in many recent years. And especially for those planning to cruise, dealers can recommend a new […]

Open more national parks to boating

The National Park Service turns 100 years old this year and it’s inviting everyone to join the centennial celebration. But I also find it a time to voice disappointment in the National Park Service’s lack of support for increasing boating activity.

RBFF and Disney alliance going strong

It was Disney night this week on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.” As I watched the competition unfold to all-Disney music, I couldn’t help thinking about how the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s alliance with Disney World is going. Turns out it’s going strong.

Does reference pricing work?

We’re confronted with them every day and everywhere: retail reference prices flashing on everything from boots to boats. But a question worth asking is: do reference prices really provide consumers with any informational value and, if so, how?

Is it customer service or customer experience?

I once had an opportunity to go behind the scenes in Orlando, Fla., with the Disney Institute to observe firsthand how Disney methodologies are executed at Disney World and I have always considered Disney the model of the good customer experience … or is it good customer service?

Cheap gas and the effect on ethanol

We paid the cheapest quarterly gas prices in 12 years during the January-March quarter of 2016 and it’s fueling expectations that boats will see much more running time during this boating season. Meanwhile, ethanol continues to be a curse on boating and we might just be losing the war against it.

Don’t poop on the idea of manure as fuel, Part 2

If you missed Tuesday’s blog, it was a look at a University of Michigan Water Center study that found not enough is being done to curtail massive farm runoff, specifically phosphorus, which is known to be the overwhelming cause of widespread algae blooms in many of the nation’s lakes and waterways.

Is there hope in ‘junk fish?’

Dogfish might be a species shunned by recreational anglers these days, but the introduction of “nuggets of dogfish” to the marketplace could be a harbinger of things to come in the world of angling.

How exactly is the boating trust fund paid for?

The boating and fishing industries enjoy $600 million in support from the Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and every time it comes up for renewal in Congress we lobby hard for its continuation. Fortunately, the trust was reauthorized for five years late last year.

Low gas prices help show success

The recent spike at the pump notwithstanding, low gas prices appear to have helped last weekend’s Spring Boating Expo near Detroit and gas will predictably stay low this summer, according to Gas Buddy.

Service failures can be forever

As a dealership owner or manager, you recognize that a service failure might not be your fault, but when it happens it becomes your problem. Moreover, it can be a forever event. Here’s an example of just what I mean.

Are you ready for the 2017 model-year rollout?

In less than three months, you could be receiving some 2017 model-year boats. That’s because President Obama signed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 and it included an unprecedented model-year change that will impact every dealer.

Florida anchoring bill faces vote today

The Florida state legislature will set a terrible anti-boating precedent with an expected vote sometime today on a bill (HB 1051) banning overnight anchoring in selected areas. All Florida boating interests should oppose the action right now.

Fish in Cuba with Betty Bauman

As Cuba opens up to limited travel opportunities, it’s no surprise that the marine industry’s first lady of fishing, Betty Bauman, is set to lead a group to fish the island’s waters.

Here’s to the resiliency of our industry

It’s hard to believe, but it’s here. After talking about it for the last 12 months, we’re about to see industry history made with the Thursday opening of the new Progressive Miami International Boat Show at the new Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin.

Support new status for manatees

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to “downlist” the West Indian manatee from endangered to a less-serious status of threatened and the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association is calling on its members — and all boating interests — to support this action in public comments now.

Senator addresses Lake Erie trade group

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told nearly 100 attendees at the annual meeting of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association that significant progress was made in 2015 on issues that impact the marine industry, particularly on the Great Lakes and Lake Erie.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable

National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich might be the most in-demand speaker in the marine industry today. His position allows him a comprehensive view of the business.

What’s the best way to position a deal?

It’s showtime as the New York Boat Show opened Wednesday and the show in Houston opens Friday. They’re starting off the industry’s critical winter boat show season with anticipation of gains in attendance and continued increases in sales.

With a new year comes a new show

The final countdown to Miami is underway. In just six weeks, an all-new sound will be coming from a 74-year-old marine industry institution. The Progressive Miami International Boat Show will open its 75th edition in the new Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin and celebrate the largest relocation of a boat show in history.

Did you pay attention in 2015?

It’s the end of the year and a darn good one at that. So, come on, make my day and take this little quiz about some random facts and highlights. No Googling! (Answers at bottom)

Shining lights across central Florida

When Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, blankets his house with Christmas lights in the classic film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” it doesn’t hold a twinkle to the display Joe and Susan Lewis, with teens Joey and Julia, stage in central Florida.

Model-year starts are finally about to change

Hallelujah! The discussion of when the model year should start and end has been going on for years, but it’s expected to be finally settled when the Senate passes a U.S. Coast Guard reauthorization bill today and sends it to the president.