2014 Best in Class: Best Community Outreach

2014 Best Community Outreach:

M&P Mercury Sales Ltd.

Burnaby, British Columbia


Just about every boat dealer is looking to expand its reach and find new buyers. M&P Mercury stopped looking and started doing great work to connect with the diverse community in and around Vancouver.

M&P’s biggest ongoing community target was the local Chinese population.


For several years, the dealership has been working to connect with the affluent demographic.

“With our extensive Chinese marketing strategy started a number of years ago, we are enjoying the continuous growth of that community coming to purchase boats from M&P,” said owner and president Bob Pappajohn.

New staffers, events for the community and targeted marketing pushed outreach efforts even further in 2013.

MPMerc-Chinese Yacht Club Group Photo“The recruitment of our Chinese Marketing and Sales Coordinator has proven to be extremely successful as she has spent a significant amount of time promoting the boating lifestyle to this ethnic community,” said Pappajohn, noting that new employees with Chinese language skills have made a considerable difference.

“M&P also expanded their Mandarin-speaking staff by bringing in additional personnel at the Yacht Centre and two people into the Burnaby operation -- both a technician and parts and service support person -- who can handle that client base in our Burnaby operation.  Our Chinese clientele continues to substantially expand in all segments from fishing boats up to large yachts,” said Pappajohn. “The addition of two Mandarin-speaking people has expanded our translation services and assistance at our Burnaby location to accommodate those that can’t communicate in English.”

Special Chinese-tailored events also helped keep the M&P Mercury brand visible in the community.

“The development and continuous expansion of our Chinese Yacht Club has also been a very successful strategy for sales in 2013.  The club was started in an effort to expose and educate the Chinese clientele to the boating lifestyle, as they are not accustomed to having access to this experience overseas,” said Pappajohn.

He said the club has been instrumental in keeping members passionate and educated, but also brought in many prospective buyers.

“New and existing Chinese boat buyers were entitled to become members as long as they were invited through the network and/or buying a new boat,” said Pappajohn. “The club has many events including dinners, VIP evening gatherings, educational seminars on boating in the Pacific Northwest and various getaways. A number of the buyers go to a specific destination where they often bring many people where some of those guests stay in land accommodations.“

But connecting with the local Chinese population was only one part of M&P’s outreach.

“A great deal of time was spent going to where the customers are and not waiting for customers to come into the dealership,” said Pappajohn. “Many networking events were attended to increase our exposure and generate new leads and boat buyers. Through our participation and attendance at various non-related boat shows we had a tremendous amount of success capturing a new audience of buyers.”

He said that local high-end events provided a great group of affluent clients from all ethnicities. Some of these events included the local “Best of the Best” show, a show of various vendors including high end car dealers, jewelers, new housing developments and furniture retailers in the community inviting their client base to come to a VIP soiree where successful lead generation and networking took place, said Papajohn. “M&P attended five to six of these prestigious events throughout the year with great success. All of these opportunities have given M&P additional exposure to a highly affluent client base.”


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