Bonus sessions set tone for biggest MDCE yet

Marine Dealer Conference & Expo
November 13, 2012
Filed under News

Press Release

ORLANDO, Fla. – The educational portion of the 2012 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo began today as five bonus sessions were held at the Orange County Convention Center.

The five sessions included the following:

Grow Boating update: Carl Blackwell, chief marketing officer for the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) updated attendees on the results of the 2012 Grow Boating campaign, as well as revealed preliminary plans for 2013.

In 2012, more than 11,000 videos were made with Grow Boating’s Movie Maker app, according to Blackwell. The campaign’s “Likes” on Facebook also continued to grow; currently, Grow Boating has nearly 536,000 “Likes.”

In 2013, Blackwell said Grow Boating will begin holding 30-second spots in cinematic films, which will be held during peak summer months to attract non-boaters. In addition, the campaign will continue to grow its social media presence. Specifically, Blackwell cited Pinterest as a medium with potential for growth.

An overview of the MRAA’s new guide to dealer growth in 2013: The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas’ Matt Gruhn and Liz Walz unveiled the association’s new guide to dealer growth in 2013. Key strategies included in the guide were diversification in your dealership, discipline, digital strategies, as well as strategies to appeal to minorities and the new age of boat-buying customers.

“What is appealing to your baby boomer generation is not going to appeal to the up-and-coming group that are having families and are at the age of buying boats,” Liz Walz, director of membership for the MRAA, said.

Water Sports Industry Association Success Stories: In this session, WSIA President Jim Emmons outlined the recent success and future goals for the association.

Emmons discussed WSIA accomplishments such as developing unified warning labels for manufacturers’ use on watersports products, its work with National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to educate law enforcement, and its efforts to protect waterway rights.

Emmons pointed out that if people cannot boat on their local waterways, they are not going to spend money on a boat, which is why WSIA fights against legislative restrictions on water access.

Sierra Touch and Test System demonstration: SIERRA demonstrated its company’s new Touch and Test System, which allows technicians to plug into an electric control module and diagnose engine problems without needing a computer.

Best practices for trailer safety standards: Gary Potter of EZ Loader and the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers outlined compliance standards enforced by certification associations like the NMMA.

Potter said certification is important to show that manufacturers adhere to established industry standards, as well as state and federal safety regulations. Complying with the rules is important for safety reasons, he said, including protecting yourself in the case of an accident.

MDCE is being held November 11-14 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center and is co-produced by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Boating Industry. For more information, visit

About the MRAA: Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is the only North American association dedicated to furthering the interests of boat and engine dealers and other marine-related retailers throughout North America. For more information, visit

About Boating IndustryBoating Industry serves the marine industry through its mission to be a source of Intelligence you can profit from, in person at events such as MDCE, online at, through in-depth white papers and in the magazine.


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