It’s no secret that America becomes more diverse every day. That means that the markets we’re trying to reach in the boating industry are also changing.
And that trend is only accelerating. In 2014, the U.S. population under 5 years old was only 50 percent white. Only 59 percent of Millennials are white, compared with 73 percent of Baby Boomers.
So reaching new markets is essential to success for boat dealers. That’s especially true in a market like Miami, where the population already is incredibly diverse – more than 60 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Top 100 dealer Miami Ski Nautique has invested heavily in reaching that audience, both in the United States and internationally.
Those efforts start with having the right staff in place.
“With the ever-emerging global marketplace bilingual staff members are a must,” said owner Kimberly Laursen. “On any given day, 10 to 12 different nationalities may enter our dealership. Therefore, our customer service depends upon both spoken and written communication in many languages. In the past year we increased the number of languages spoken, and the nationalities represented at Miami Nautique from 10 to 13, allowing for increased customer service for our international clientele. Ninety-four percent of our staff is bi/tri-lingual, and our nationality representation increased by 24 percent.”
The dealership has successfully leveraged those efforts across its five domestic locations in southern Florida, helping the company to experience dramatic growth over the last several years.
While Miami Ski Nautique reaches many international customers when they come to Miami as tourists, the company has made great inroads in other countries as well. A focus on central and South American markets has helped the company find a growing base of customers.
Miami Ski Nautique continued to create market share in Latin America through exhibiting at boat shows in Colombia, Guatemala and Panama. The dealership sponsored multiple events and athletes throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in the effort to create and/or gain market share through product recognition and relationship building. Additionally, the company works closely with Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Enterprise Florida Department of Commerce Exportation Group.
“What is important to a domestic buyer may be unimportant to an international buyer,” she said. “Because we are aware of this, we tailor offerings to the different markets to provide potential buyers with the comfort level they need to make a purchase. We not only ensure our staff has product knowledge, but is able to converse with each and every customer in their native tongue if necessary.”
Miami Ski Nautique focuses on product introduction and education to help create a market for its Nautique wake boats.
The dealership hosted events in a number of countries, including Ecuador, Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Miami, Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay.
“We met with customers, dignitaries and the heads of water sports federations throughout Latin America,” Laursen said. “We also set up representatives in each country who can answer questions, show boats and be a native liaison at any time. We have seen a tremendous amount of growth in these territories due to our efforts.”
Finally, in December 2014 Miami Ski Nautique joined several other marine industry companies and the National Marine Manufacturers Association on a visit to Cuba.
“This four-day trip gave us firsthand knowledge about Cuba and its boating industry,” Laursen said. “We visited key tourist sites in Havana, a recently built marina in Varadero, older marina complexes and existing boating sites throughout the central region. This trip helped us gain a good understanding of Cuba’s culture and market potential that will enable us to plan for future opportunities.”