Your Future and Being on the Right Track

If you’re sitting there waiting for your customers to come back let’s explore a few thoughts.

Peter GranataBy Peter Granata, president, Granata Design — Will Rogers once noted that “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

So if you’re sitting there waiting for your customers to come back let’s explore a few thoughts.

There are opportunities in some, as yet, undiscovered areas of boating. The thing to remember is that your product, or service, has to adapt to a new style of appeal. Today’s customer requires a visual reinforcement of his/her current values from your product.

The current economic times have created numerous changes in buying decisions, and it will continue to become increasingly obvious that many boats have priced themselves above their intended market (sometimes it’s not smart to listen to everything the customer wants). A long list of manufacturers are hopelessly waiting for the “same” customers to return as before this economic downturn. Without acknowledging it, they are expecting buyers to be interested in the same old thing that is “dressed” a little differently. Big mistake.

Here are some things to consider as you develop a new product or service.

Recent surveys show that the population is migrating to geographical areas that are nearer to coast lines. Job salaries have declined and the workforce is experiencing a diminished psychological relevance in terms of their value in the work place.

For men this is an especially important element that defines them. While women define themselves by their relationships and put “security” above all else, men need to feel relevant and significant in all areas of their life.

As such, it is imperative to address these feelings in any new product.

Many boaters are financially unable to buy a boat that is equivalent to what they would have purchased before this economic downturn. According to marketing experts I spoke with, this diminished purchase capacity on the part of many consumers can leave them feeling less significant and keep them away from purchasing a boat.

In order to offset any feelings of financial inadequacy and restore the buyer’s feeling of significance, automobile manufacturers are responding with new categories of transportation. Crossovers, mini’s, Value cars (Small but high near luxury content), electric cars, hybrids, etc. Anybody can buy one of these and hold their head high in their social group because it’s different and also meets the buyer’s financial capability.

A common assumption made by producers of new products and/or services is that the consumer is going to want what they have always wanted, except they will want it at a lower price.

If you count yourself in that group, it’s time to re-think your strategy.

Nowadays a boat (even a service) has to be made to appeal to the eye, the mind, the wallet, and the prevailing social environment. Buying a boat is no longer a decision that is made on one of those requirements, it needs to have an undeniable appeal to all of those requirements.

The key is going to be a configuration that has great versatility. Product versatility equates to a better value in the mind of the new consumer and allows for a greater social acceptance of the purchase.

Ask yourself, “Does my product offer the customer a broader range of use and is it a purchase that can have a broad social appeal?”

Your company’s future is vested in your customer feeling good about his decision to buy your product. Time to get a move on.


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