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.
- Embed our Places to Fish & Boat website plugin on your website to provide your customers with places to fish and boat nearby.
- Include our Fishing License & Boat Registration plugin on your website to provide your customers with one-click access to fishing license and boat registration information in their state.
- Share our fishing and boating how-to videos on your own websites and social media channels.
- Download free, customizable marketing materials from our Get on Board retention toolkit to help support our national efforts keep new audiences engaged in the sport and to grow fishing and boating.
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