I recently talked to Brunswick CEO Dusty McCoy for an article in the October issue of Boating Industry, and while we covered a wide-ranging set of topics, one area jumped out at me.
We've written a lot about the need to diversify the industry over the last couple years -- and gotten some pushback from many of our readers. So it was interesting to me to hear McCoy's clear-eyed assessment of our industry today:
"We have to be very realistic in the U.S that our fundamental customer base is in decline. There are changing demographics that are coming at us and we’re not going to be able to change those.
We have got to, as an industry, really begin to address how we bring this changing demographic into the industry. .... Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic group in America and we need to bring that diversity into our customer base. ...
"To keep the industry the way it is and to think we’ll be able to be healthy long term would be a big mistake for all of us."
McCoy went on to point out the important role workforce diversity will play in the success or failure of these efforts. In other words, if we want to sell to more women, more Hispanics, more African-Americans, more Asians, we need to have more of them at the dealerships and marinas.
There’s not going to be one magic tool; it’s going to be 200 magic tools. It starts with cost of the product, our dealer network having diversity on the workforce.