Publishers Notebook: The New Reality

At the 2010 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, we launched into the Powering Profits Track of educational content with a topic we called “Lessons from the Recession.” The topic itself, of course, offered great insights into what we, as an industry, had learned from the downturn that took such a drastic toll on our industry.

But the downturn did more than just swipe 30 percent of our business out from under us. It changed the way we do business. And while that particular session was designed to kick off this track by officially putting the recession behind us, it also was an effort to discuss how the business of selling boats has changed.

It’s the new reality of our business, and the successes therein have come to light for us through the group of dealers we celebrated on the final evening of the MDCE:?the 2010 Top 100 Dealers.

Their successes, in fact, are all the more remarkable in light of the trying times we have faced over the last couple years. But today is a new day. These dealers are tougher, stronger, and smarter than they’ve ever been … positioned better than they’ve ever been to capitalize on this new reality that our industry knows today.

In this new reality, our businesses need partners like never before. We’ve needed them to survive. And we need them now in order to begin growing again. Fortunately, for the marine dealer body, there are a select group of suppliers that continue to encourage dealer growth through their support of the Top 100 Dealers Program and all that it represents. They are Boating Industry magazine’s Top 100 Dealers Leadership Alliance.

Many of the industry’s businesses turned inward to solidify their survival over the last few years. That is not the case with these companies, however. They have stood strong in their support of the Top 100, and of the dealer body, because they know that success at the dealership level ensures the industry’s success. And, frankly, without them, the entire yearlong Top 100 Dealers Program would not be possible.

These companies — BRP/Evinrude; GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance; BoatTrader; Volvo Penta; Manheim Specialty Auctions; Global Marine Insurance Agency; and Marine Retailers Association of America — embody this “New Reality.” Their loyalty to the dealer body, their strength in enduring the downturn, and their generosity demonstrated in their support for the Top 100 Dealer Program, allow us to continue to fuel the marine industry with best practices, at a time, when — let’s be honest — we all need them the most.

You can see their influence in such avenues as this magazine, the Best Practices Portal at, the Best Practices newsletter, myriad white papers, Boating Industry’s webinars, and most visibly through the content shared at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo.

What’s most notable in our eyes, however, is that through good times and bad times, the Leadership Alliance has stood by our side and by your side, supporting and investing in your future.

For their partnership, we are indebted to them and their vision continues to inspire us. And for the long-term value they have delivered to this industry, we all should be eternally grateful.

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