BDC Readies Boating Clients For 2010

With boat shows just around the corner, BDC Advertising has completed a long list of “to-do’s” for its boat business clients. Manufacturers, dealers, accessory manufacturers and trade associations have all turned to BDC for advice, websites, brochures, catalogs and social media. The result is the new American Angler website for Smokercraft Boats (www.americananglerboats.com); Stevens Marine’s new Boats Motors and More catalog and website (www.stevensmarine.com); Weldcraft Boats new brochure and website updates (www.weldcraftmarine.com); Duckworth Boats 2010 brochure and website (www.duckworthboats.com); Barewest Wakeboard Towers redesigned brochure and updated website and a number other dealer websites and trade association projects that will be completed early in 2010.

BDC Advertising Vice President Trey Carskadon commented, “2009 was, by any standard, an exceedingly difficult time in the marine industry. Thankfully, all of our accounts survived, and in some cases, posted numbers that were well-beyond the average. We’re certainly not pleased by the results of 2009 but under the circumstances we’re bucking the trend. Looking ahead, there’s considerably less supply; fewer market choices; there’s some demand and encouraging late-season upticks in sales; financing should be more accessible; and in several markets there’s encouraging fishing and water forecasts that should help boating in a number of national markets.”

“We’re encouraging our clients to become resources for their area, create anticipation of upcoming fisheries and boating opportunities, be more visible and present in the markets they serve but to spend judiciously and leverage every bit of value-added performance in their marketing efforts. We’ll all have to continue to work harder and smarter but the rewards are there especially for those that can generate some growth and create some momentum going into 2011.”

Look for social networking platforms to blossom as dealers and manufacturers create broader and more productive online communities. Internet advertising will not replace print and other conventional advertising opportunities but will continue to expand and provide greater returns as the boating community improves its messaging, understands the opportunities and expends more energy in optimizing their presence in online forums and communities.

As dealers and manufacturers recover from 2009 they need to be mindful of differentiating them from their competition while working cooperatively and individually to elevate boating as a top-of-mind recreational pursuit. This can be achieved through cross-promotions, co-promotions, targeted PR and community involvement in customer-based fishing and water-sport organizations.

A number of marine-based businesses are shell-shocked and fail to recognize that this is an opportune time to capture market share. Boat customers want reliability, certainty, affordability and resources to guide them in their boat ownership experience. Those messages will resonate going into the show season. Promote affordability (for example) through cost-of-ownership analysis that ably demonstrates fuel savings, ease-of-maintenance and the benefits associated with dependable performance. As one manufacturer put it, “it only has value if you tell the market what you’re doing.” Don’t assume the market knows what you’re doing or trying to do. Tell them. Again, the biggest opportunity for growth in 2010 exists in taking market share. There are a number of marine-businesses that failed and those customers are looking for a home…give them a great reason to business with you.

BDC Advertising’s analysis of 2009 was spot-on as we worked with our client’s to reduce marketing expenditures by as much as 80% and initiate a number of in-season sales events and promotions that were creatively promoted through online programs and a variety of partner businesses and organizations. As indicated, the results were comparatively good as boating and retail customers moved to adjust inventories, balance their workforce with the workload and cut other expenses.

Our look to 2010 is brighter and demands some ratcheting up of marketing efforts and marketing mix. Still, staying conservative through 2010 and laying important groundwork for 2011 will be our push with our customers. 2009 is a stark reminder to always take full advantage of every dollar spent through proper planning, value-added opportunities, fluid and effective communication and purposeful/thoughtful approaches.

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