Boating Industry

March 2016

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Page 15 of 43 16 | Boating Industry | March 2016 MONTHLY RESEARCH up from 14 percent in 2014, the second-largest one-year gain in the survey. (We didn't ask about Instagram in 2013.) Nearly a third of readers plan to use Instagram more in 2016, while 17 percent plan to use it less this year. As for YouTube, 31 percent reported using it last year, up from 27 percent in 2014 and 19 percent in 2013. Fifty-fi ve percent said they plan to use the video service more this year, while only 8 percent plan to use it less than in 2015. Other social media platforms are proving less popular. Twitter usage dropped from 24 percent in 2014 to 19 percent in 2015. Only 18 percent of respondents plan to spend more time marketing on Twitter this year, while 23 percent plan to put less effort into it. Pinterest was used by only 7 percent of readers in 2015, down from 10 percent in 2014. Twenty percent plan to use it more in 2016, but 26 percent plan to use it less. All told, digital media continues to be a key part of marketing for most companies. In fact, the top fi ve (and eight of the top 10) market- ing tactics that readers plan to use more of in 2016 are all digital. The top marketing tactic in 2015 – the most used and the most useful – was a com- pany website. Eighty-fi ve percent of compa- nies said they had a website, basically fl at over the last three years, while 29 percent said their website was the most successful marketing outlet last year. That represents a slight in- crease from 2014 (27 percent) and 2013 (25 percent). Despite that high usage, 65 percent said they plan to use their website more in marketing this year. More than two-thirds of readers said they used email marketing in 2015, down slightly from 2014 but up from 60 percent in 2013. Sixty-two percent plan to do more email mar- keting in 2016. Web advertising was used by only 42 percent of readers last year, but 12 percent identifi ed it as their most successful marketing tactic for the year – the third highest total. Nearly 60 percent plan to do more Web ad- vertising this year. We also asked about targeted mobile ad- vertising for the fi rst time this year, and 13 per- cent said they used it in 2015. A quarter of all respondents also plan to increase their mobile advertising in 2016. Traditional methods still important A focus on digital doesn't mean that readers have given up on the more traditional market- ing tactics, even though their use is declining for the most part. Boat shows continue to be a mainstay for many, chosen by 19 percent as their most successful marketing tactic in 2015, the sec- ond highest total after company website. Boat shows still play a large role BY JONATHAN SWEET The boating industry is embracing digital mar- keting to an even larger extent than in past years, with mobile advertising, social media and the Web grabbing a larger share of the market- ing dollars in 2015. Still, traditional methods like boat shows and print advertising aren't being abandoned in the quest for the elusive boat buyer, according to the latest Boating Industry marketing survey. For the third year in a row, we surveyed the readers of our print and digital products about how they market their businesses. We surveyed dealers, service providers, manufac- turers and others in January about how they promoted their businesses in 2015 and their plans for 2016. Even a quick glance at the results of this year's survey shows that, generally speaking, Boating Industry readers expended more effort on digital marketing, especially social media, in 2015 and plan to continue to do so in 2016. Social media strength Facebook is still the king of the hill in social media, but the boating industry isn't afraid to use other networks as well. While only 8 percent of readers rated Face- book as their most important marketing tactic in 2015 (the same as in 2014), 71 percent re- ported they used it for marketing last year. That was up from 55 percent just two years ago, the biggest jump over that period. Even with that in mind, 53 percent said they plan to use Facebook more this year, while only 5 percent plan to use it less than in 2015. Instagram and YouTube are the two other big gainers in this year's survey. Twenty-two percent of respondents used Instagram in 2015, CURRENT CONDITIONS January 61.2 December 52.1 FUTURE EXPECTATIONS January 70.9 December 63.6 We also asked readers about their views on the current health of the market. In this regular monthly feature, we track the optimism of Boating Industry readers to help us get a read on the industry. A reading of zero means equal numbers of people are experiencing or expect growth as contraction. January's results showed a nice uptick and continued year-over-year growth for Boating Industry readers, improving from December. Respondents are even more optimistic about the future, with a very positive outlook for the next quarter. BOATING INDUSTRY INDEX Digital marketing leading the way

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