It’s that time of year again, with year-end and year-beginning lists. We’ve seen plenty highlighting the marketing trends to watch this year, but here are some of the key ones that will matter to the marine industry in 2014.
1. The continued growth of mobile – As of last fall, 63 percent of adult cell phone users reported using their phones to go online; 34 percent of those users said it was their primary way of going online, according to the Pew Research Center. Those numbers have doubled since 2009. That means having a mobile-optimized site, mobile-friendly emails and more will become increasingly important.
2. Evolving SEO – Search engine optimization continues to change. Google is constantly changing its algorithms to combat “link farms” – those sites that try to get traffic simply by using a lot of commonly searched words. Last year’s Penguin update was designed with that specifically in mind. More than ever, the new algorithms reward good content, so items like blog posts, articles, etc., about buying a boat are going to garner better traffic than trying to just list a bunch of boat brands.
3. Pinterest growth – If you’re trying to reach women with your marketing, make sure Pinterest is a part of your plan. The site has grown from just over 27 million users in 2011 to more than 70 million last year. We’re lucky to work in a very visual industry that lends itself well to Pinterest’s photo-centric approach. Encourage users to “pin” photos from your website to their boards. (If that last sentence didn’t make any sense to you, check out this primer on Pinterest.)
4. Events still matter – It’s not all digital in 2014. Getting people on the water is still one of the best ways to get them to buy that boat. Even outside our industry, two-thirds of marketing professionals consider events to be the best marketing strategy, according to a MarketingProfs study.
5. Targeted direct mail works – Direct mail can still make a difference if it’s done right. That means using carefully developed lists that get very specific messaging. For example, if someone came in and looked at a Cobalt 273, they get different message than those customers that were checking out a PartiKraft.