In it for the Long Haul: Securing the Future of Your Business with Customer Engagement

Frank Peterson RBFF

By Frank Peterson

I started my career in sales, spending over 13 years at Mobil Oil Corporation, before opening my own business. I know, personally, the importance of hitting quarterly and annual sales goals and turning a profit. But I also learned how important it is to plan for the long haul. In fact, it was that long term planning which, when 9/11 occurred, saved my business and allowed me to remain profitable.

Now at the helm of RBFF, a non-profit organization focused on increasing participation in recreational boating and fishing, I once again find myself planning for the long haul. Leveraging industry research and consumer trends, RBFF has spent the last 20+ years recruiting new audiences to an activity that has traditionally been dominated by older white males. I believe the fishing and boating industries should be looking into these new audiences too.

Today our challenge is to cater to a diverse audience and a wide variety of needs based on our customer’s experience level. And in a world where people have more information than ever at their fingertips (and may be experiencing information overload), they want a more thoughtful and personalized experience. They are looking for brands to focus on their needs and provide value beyond the initial purchase. It’s not just about catching a big fish, but also enjoying the experience, the time outdoors and the mental health benefits and overall wellbeing it brings.

How do we do that? I believe companies need to welcome all participants and showcase them in their marketing efforts. I believe product training needs to emphasize customer benefits, not features, to demonstrate how your product will make them more successful and have a better experience. And, I believe you should provide your customers with a variety of resources on where to fish, how to fish and why they should fish for fun, for family and for conservation.

RBFF has a variety of programs and resources to support your customer engagement efforts.

Excellent customer engagement goes beyond the sale. It is a relationship that needs to be nurtured. Are you in business for the next quarter or the next quarter century?

Frank Peterson is the president of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation

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