From websites to social media to online reputation management, digital marketing is rapidly evolving. With its recent acquisitions and product releases, ARI is increasing its investment in those areas.
To read the full Q&A with Olivier, be sure to check out the May issue of Boating Industry.
Boating Industry: When you look at the marine industry for 2014, what’s ARI’s outlook for this year?
Roy Olivier: We actually look at industry agnostic numbers and industry numbers and in both cases we see 2014 shaping up to be a pretty good year, barring some sort of unexpected event that would affect the economy. Most of the dealers and manufacturers that we deal with are reporting increased website traffic, increased leads and are doing well. I think 2014 is shaping up to look like a pretty strong year.
Boating Industry: Last year, you acquired Duo Web Solutions. What made that an attractive move for ARI?
Olivier: Duo was really an acquisition that directly links to our strategy to provide additional marketing services to dealers and manufacturers. Duo had a suite of services primarily designed to address search engine marketing, online reputation management, email and other services to help those dealers have strategies and tactics for creating that electronic dialogue with their customers via social media and other outlets.
The acquisition was really to strengthen our capability in that area. The principal of Duo, Heather Blessington, is now our chief marketing officer. Her role here is to help us take the ARI offerings, the Duo offerings, put them together and kind of reboot our strategy with those products.
Boating Industry: They were a big player on the powersports side. Do you anticipate being able to apply what they were doing to your marine clients as well?
Olivier: The best practices in the industries are very, very similar, so we believe that a lot of the skillset and a lot of the things that they did in other vertical markets will translate directly into marine.
We’ve done 14 acquisitions in the last 15 years or so and if you look back at all of our acquisitions were designed to acquire primarily a dealer footprint or a product suite. Duo was the first time that we’ve done something that really wasn’t product or dealer footprint. It was designed to increase our capability in a specific area because we believe three years, four years from now, digital marketing will be much more important than it has been historically.
Boating Industry: Why is that important to the industry?
Olivier: Dealers that are not on top of and executing a good digital marketing strategy are simply going to get lost in the ocean of websites out there that are offering products and services to consumers. Helping dealers understand how to create a local, digital dialogue with customers and prospective customers, how do they manage their online reputation, how do they manage the various social media channels and drive traffic into the dealerships, that’s going to be more and more important.