Publisher’s notebook

Being in publishing these days is not easy. Not only do we intimately feel the ecomomic pressures like any other company in business today, but we also have to report on it — day in and day out. From the seemingly endless race for the White House, to the Dow Jones tickers, and every news broadcast in between, it has been down-right impossible to escape the ever-present negativity surrounding our economy.
So after a rash of our e-newsletters that contained some of that doom and gloom, we were sitting in one of our recent editorial planning meetings, discussing how we can be of most help right now — when you and this entire industry need it the most.
The immediate result of that meeting was our November “Ideas Issue.” If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to read that issue, you should make the time. It contains hundreds of ideas and best practices that are truly what we have come to call actionable content. They are ideas that can be immediately adapted and implemented for just about any marine business today.
Like you, we often receive customer service letters, or notes of gratitude, if you will, from our readers. In the weeks following the distribution of our November issue, and throughout the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo where we handed out hundreds of additional copies, we received numerous, notes, e-mails and positive comments from dealers and builders alike, thanking us for providing real-world solutions they can use.
The reason I share this with you is not because I want to shamelessly plug our brand or magazine. In fact, truth be told, those “ideas” came from companies just like yours, through the hundreds of companies that apply each year to the Top 100 Dealers Program.
With the current uncertainty dominating today’s economy, we didn’t know how dealers would respond to the Top 100 application process this year. But we were impressed with the turnout: More than 340 companies applied, and while many of those dealers had hunkered down into survival mode, it quickly became clear that the Top 100 continues to strengthen, despite any external economic factors.
In fact, this year’s class of Top 100 Dealers collectively raised annual revenue by 5.75 percent in 2007, while achieving a customer satisfaction level of 96 percent for the first time in the history of the program.
As we look to celebrate and honor this incredible group of dealers, you can find many more issues of Boating Industry packed with actionable content. This entire issue is devoted to ideas and best practices gleaned from the group, and we’re already working on filling our February issue with more.
And you know, none of this would be possible without the support of a forward-thinking group of companies known as the Leadership Alliance, the sponsors that truly bring the Top 100 to life. You know, it’s no secret that in the face of economic hardships, companies cut back, and the line items typically first affected are advertising and marketing. These companies, though, our Leadership Alliance, are true visionaries … they have continued to support this program because they “get it.” They understand that this program is so much more than a one-night or one-magazine-issue celebration of excellence. They understand that this program allows us to provide you, our readers, with things like our November “Ideas” issue, the issue you have in your hands and all those issues yet to come.
These Leadership Alliance members – BRP US Inc./Evinrude, GE Capital Solutions Commercial Distribution Finance, Boat Trader, Volvo Penta, ADP Lightspeed, Honda Marine, Channel Blade Technologies, Manheim Specialty Auctions and the Marine Retailers Association of America – are steadfastly committed to you, the marine dealer.
These companies enable us to deliver this type of content year-round — in all of our products. Without them, there wouldn’t be a marine best practice portal on our Web site, there wouldn’t be an “Ideas” issue when struggling companies need it the most … and quite frankly, there wouldn’t be a Top 100.
They see their investment in this program as an investment in the marine industry and specifically in the marine dealer body. They support it because they support you, and we are eternally grateful and personally humbled to serve as this conduit for excellence.

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