Boating Industry

January 2016

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28 | Boating Industry | January 2016 [ 16 Marketing Trends for 2016 ] social media bandwagon that anything that gets a like or a view or a share, they're willing to post, and I think going into the future customers are going to be fi ltering out much more of that," said Gyllenberg. "Giving the customer something they can only get from your [business] … things that make you different, that's what's important." BLENDING OF TRADITIONAL AND DIGITAL With all this talk about digital marketing medi- ums, does this mean 2016 is the year traditional marketing becomes irrelevant? Not so fast. As digital marketing becomes such a huge piece of a business's strategy, the line between digital and traditional marketing is fuzzier than ever. For instance, consumers who are searching for boats on a mobile device often don't want to spend the time fi lling out a web form, but they will call a dealership right away. "If we were watching just email leads, you would think that the mobile stuff isn't working, but if you actually look at the phone calls, you see we do generate a lot more phone calls than we do email leads from those mobile custom- ers," said Davis. DIRECT MAIL AND BOAT SHOWS REMAIN HUGE Another traditional medium that will remain prominent in 2016 is direct mail, as long as it is done strategically and targets specifi c consumers. Davis said he still uses jumbo postcard cam- paigns in his dealerships and relies on the regis- tered boat owner list. With that list, he can target competitive owners who may be interested in a new model his dealership is selling, or customers who may want to trade up and have used brands Davis wants to sell. For boating especially, one traditional me- dium that remains incredibly relevant is boat shows. Dealers spend the most money on shows because they see the largest return on investment. "Boat shows allow the customers to have that personal experience with your salesman and your dealership, even if it's not at your dealership," said Gyllenberg. "That's some- thing you just can't expect the Internet is going to replace." This is why Distinct released its digital dis- plays in 2015, which allow dealers to show off photos, videos and other marketing collateral. They also allow dealers to capture leads on-site at the show through giveaways and other op- portunities for the customer to input their infor- mation. (These displays were chosen as a Top Product of 2015, which you can read more about in our May 2015 issue.) RELATIONSHIP MARKETING One of a business's strongest marketing tools in 2016 will be its own people. Marketing the rela- tionship you can offer is what differentiates you from a competitor. "Boats are boats. That sounds kind of crass and almost dismisses product, and I don't mean for it to sound quite so generic, but what we do fosters relationships on the water, whether that's between the customer and their family and friends or between us and our customers," said Davis. "We want to maintain that relationship with our customer – that is our goal." Davis has seen this in action with one of OneWater Marine's dealerships, Rambo Marine. When Rambo Marine began selling Malibu after 28 years of being a MasterCraft dealer, custom- ers didn't fi nd the next MasterCraft dealership – they called Rambo and asked what Malibu the dealership recommended they buy. EVENTS BUILD RELATIONSHIPS Because relationship building is still such a strong tool for marine businesses, getting customers in the door should be a priority in 2016. Events that show appreciation for existing customers and give prospects an opportunity to become familiar with the lifestyle are highly successful. Singleton Marine hosts a fall foliage cruise 56% » of smartphone users use their phone at least occasionally to learn about community events or activities. Source: Pew Research Center "Boat shows allow the customers to have that personal experience with your salesman and your dealership, even if it's not at your dealership. That's something you just can't expect the Internet is going to replace." — Jani Gyllenberg, founder, Distinct Marketing Boating Industry .com For more in-depth digital marketing strategies, read our Digital Fitness Plan in the July 2015 issue of Boating Industry or go to

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