Boating Industry

January 2016

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January 2016 | Boating Industry | 27 [ 16 Marketing Trends for 2016 ] USE REVIEWS AS A MARKETING TOOL A cultural shift has occurred in the U.S. as it re- lates to what type of information consumers will trust. Online reviews reign supreme with today's buyers because they want to hear from other like-minded consumers who have purchased similar products and gone through similar deci- sion-making processes. Weiche says there are three things to do if you are going to begin asking customers for reviews: have a process, have a platform and have the right people. Using a platform like offers a series of templates for businesses to enter a customer's email ad- dress and the system will garner reviews from customers. Happy customers are encouraged to post positive reviews online and unhappy camp- ers are asked for more feedback so the staff is able to follow up with anything they can do to help the unsatisfi ed customer. "Somebody has to be such a huge brand ad- vocate to pick the time to leave you a review," said Weiche. "If you make it easy for them and lead them along … you're making their life a lot easier than if you require them to think up the process all on their own." MAKE MARKETING EASIER Marketing is incredibly diffi cult and time-con- suming for the average marine business. Find- ing the right automation tools can help save time and drive sales. Distinct Marketing offers a dealer management system that allows a dealer to upload a new boat with images, and within fi ve minutes the listing is on eBay, Boat Trader, the dealer website and more. The system allows dealers to save time, especially when it comes to moving data back and forth between systems. "The majority of dealers are using one system for doing service, maybe another for printing out sales agreements, [etc.]," said Gyllenberg. "What our DMS does is it takes all these tasks and much more, and just combines them into a seamless and very easy experience." However, it's important to ensure any auto- mation is implemented in a smart way. Single- ton Marine, a OneWater Marine dealership, integrated Lightspeed into its dealerships and has adjusted the automation rule several times based on what the company has learned over the past year. "For as much as I love automation and I think there's incredible value there in that it can en- hance the customer experience and can acceler- ate the customer through the buying cycle, the systems and processes have to be designed and set up properly for it to be done well and effec- tively," Davis said. "Or else it can be a nuisance and a detraction from the process." USE CRMS TO NURTURE NON-INTRUSIVELY Customer relationship management (CRM) tools help with follow-up activity and other au- tomated communications. This is particularly useful in a dealership when a lead isn't ready to buy immediately. The prospect is put into an au- tomated follow-up campaign to nurture them as they are mulling over the decision. These mes- sages can be provided on a timed sequence and aimed directly at the customer's relevant needs to help move them through the buying cycle in a non-intrusive way. "But again, they have to be smart enough," said Davis. "The system has to be able to account for the different types of people. And then the system has to be smart enough so that when that customer does reengage after the third message out of 12, that they get pulled out of that cam- paign [and] don't continue to get bombarded with those other messages." PAY-PER-CLICK WORKS – IF YOU DO IT RIGHT Pay-per-click advertising will continue to be a strong marketing medium in 2016. PPC can help a business understand the cost of a marketing decision and if it is seeing a positive return – only if it is done right. "That really comes down to [whether or not] you have everything integrated where you can fully track from that user's intent and their clicks through your site, purchase and every- thing else," said Weiche. "You really get a ton of insight and data, and really a complete history of what that customer's experience was and what they did on your site, and what it netted you." Weiche recommends leaving the granular nuances of PPC advertising to a professional who understands how to track analytics for PPC ads. Distinct allows dealers to target specifi c cus- tomers with digital ads through a form of sub- liminal messaging. For example, if a customer purchases a boat from you, when that customer hits their annual service you can target that cus- tomer with an ad. Automotive dealers have seen success with this in their service departments, as the algorithms are able to calculate a customer's mile averages and set alerts for 30 days before that service needs to take place. FOCUS ON THE CONTENT, NOT THE ALGORITHM It's impossible to keep up with search algorithms anymore. The second businesses learn how to game Google's system, Google has already changed it again. To optimize your search en- gine rankings, focus on what you can control – the content. To get organic results, have the content customers are looking for: boat informa- tion, specifi cations, upfront pricing, etc. Search engines "are trying to weed through the fake or the other guys who are trying to get up there using less favorable tactics, and they're just trying to bring real content that customers are searching for to them," said Gyllenberg. "If Google is trying to bring the real content to the customers and you have the real content, then it's just common sense that you'll rank well." NO SPAM ON SOCIAL MEDIA When email became a protocol for the average person, what followed? Spam. Most consumers started blocking email addresses if they were getting spammed with content they didn't care about. Gyllenberg is seeing a similar trend in social media marketing now and consumers are reacting the same way they did to email. "Companies are so eager to jump on the

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