Boating Industry

July 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 43 26 | Boating Industry | July 2016 FOR MARINE BUSINESSES looking to create successful events, there is one simple tactic: plan ahead. Any event that is intended to make an impact on customers should take weeks to organize, develop and execute. "To have any successful event, you have to plan far enough in advance," said Dave Commander, president of Russell Marine, the Boating Industry Top 100 Best in Class winner for Best Events. "You've got to get everybody to believe in the event [and] the importance of the event, and then proper planning makes the event successful." Planning successful events means thinking ahead about the marketing strategy as well to make sure you get customers through the door or to the marina. "When the [events] are planned and advertised correctly, whether it's via social media or on our website, and people have time to coordinate their schedules to attend, if they do have time and we do plan it ahead of time, then we fi nd that the event is much more successful," said Monica Reed-Hurst, sales manager at Spend- a-Day Marina. The minutia of cooking or purchasing enough food, decorating and making the event fun is tedious but well worth the time and dollar investment. "It's about the marketing materials that you use actually at the event too to make it seem and appear that it's an event, not just an [average] day at the marina," said Reed-Hurst. Once you've identifi ed what events you want to hold and when they will be held, follow these tips to use your events to build up your brand. 1. UNDERSTAND IT'S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT SELLING Your end goal is to ultimately sell boats, marina memberships or whatever product/service you offer – and many events can directly help you do this – but understand that events shouldn't be planned with the sole purpose of selling. "It's more about the lifestyle of boating ver- sus being too hard marketing. For these types of events, it's not necessarily where we will adver- tise promotions on boats or motors or anything like that," said Reed-Hurst. "We try to make sure they know that we're the dealer that will have fun with them and takes the extra effort to do these types of things on the lake, because there's other dealers on the lake that don't." Marine business should host events that serve the community and build relationships. These help build goodwill with existing and new customers. "We have a big charity event that we work in conjunction with the Alexander City Lions Club, and that [return on investment] is determined about how much money we end up making for charity," said Commander. "We believe boat- ing is fun and we want to create a fun, exciting atmosphere … and also giving back to the community too." 2. COLLABORATE ACROSS THE COMPANY If you want to hold successful events, you don't have to – and shouldn't – do it alone. Your best assets for event planning are your existing team members. "It's defi nitely a group effort when it comes to the implementation that day, of course, because it takes a lot of work from every depart- ment to coordinate," said Reed-Hurst. Identify which team members are willing and able to help plan your events, and determine who will be responsible for each aspect. "Determine an action plan and assign specifi c responsibility to certain people, and then develop that action calendar and meet regularly to make sure all those actions are taken care of," said Commander. 3. USE YOUR EXISTING NETWORK You don't have to promote the event all on your own. Use your existing networks and business relationships to share event details through print ads, sharing social media posts, hanging post- ers and more. Lisa Almieda, a Freedom Boat Club franchise owner in Jacksonville, Fla., uses the Downtown Jacksonville's email list from its citywide boat parade to promote events at her marina. Russell Marine teams with the city of Mont- gomery for its annual RiverFront WakeBattle, which won Nautique's Event of the Year two years ago.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Boating Industry - July 2016