by Jeni Bone
'What we’re selling is fun!' was the key take-away theme from Thom Dammrich’s presentation to 450 delegates at the recent Marine13, held 28-30 April 2013 in Sydney.
Focusing on fun and family time is key to promoting boating.
According to the president of the NMMA, this industry has to be about PEOPLE, not PRODUCT.
'In all our marketing, all our videos, we are showing the joy, the fun, the looks on people’s faces when they’re on the water, relaxing and enjoying time with their families – not just boats on the water.'
Dammrich emphasized the need for brands and marketers to keep pace with consumers, now using tablets and smart phones (phablets), with 85% of them watching video online – a 60% increase since 2010.
Thom Dammrich President NMMA
'And we know that people are receptive to boats because we have a 95% click through to completion – which is 37% higher than the ad industry benchmark. Video brings boating to life. It’s vital to be connected so your customers can experience everything you offer.'
Next on the agenda for NMMA and its Discover Boating program is connected TV, which Dammrich says is 'a fast growing segment'.
Discover Boating, the enormously successful US promotional initiative used cinema advertising over the summer, because analysis determined that’s where its main market sheltered during the hottest days, as well as queuing up to see the latest blockbusters.
'We found that the main early adopters, the ‘social anchors’ as we named them, were 47% more likely to attend the cinema, so we went on screens to reach them.'
The tagline that accompanied simple vision of families enjoying time on the water was: 'Things change on the water, most of all you!'
PR, on-water open days and targeting 'Mommy Bloggers' were also crucial to getting the Discover Boating messages to consumers.
'We know that women influence 89% of all buying decisions,' said Dammrich referring to the 'purse power' of the new breed of women, whether in business, taking a break from working and those who choose not to work at all. 'Women are your market,' he stressed.
Mommy bloggers were invited to experience boat shows all over the country, from New York to San Francisco and they reported 100% positive sentiment in response to their experiences. 'This is a very powerful community and something you can’t afford to ignore.'
Another crucial community that the US industry needs to harness is the boat owning public. 'Never underestimate the power of the boating community. They are ambassadors for boating and you need to get them onboard. Drive them to your Facebook. Through our campaign, we were able to reach 3.2 million people in seven days. Facebook and other social media are just as important as your website.
'And it’s not just for young people. We found that our campaigns reached people 25 to 55 years – that’s your sweet spot. You need to encourage boaters to join the movement via Twitter, Pintrest, YouTube with the aim of getting more people in to boating through interaction.'
Youth is a major focus of Discover Boating. 'Youth must be a priority. Our research found that people who had a positive experience with boating are 80% more likely to reignite their interest in boating as adults, and the opposite is true.'
Minority ethnic groups who in the future will be majorities – as soon as 2020 in some states – need to be invited to become involved.
'We need to talk about it. The demographics don’t lie. There are 15.6 million households in the US with $50,000+ income. We need to be inclusive and reach out with our message beyond traditional markets.'
Dammrich ended his presentation with a call to arms for the local industry. 'Like the US, the Australian boating industry is an ecosystem. Anything that adversely impacts one segment of the industry will eventually impact all of you. As an industry, we must work together.
'We are interdependent and our success depends on working together as a group. It’s economically important to our industry, but it’s also socially important for the health and wellbeing of our societies.'
More at www.marine13.com