Are you a source of local boating information for your boating community?

On a recent three-day boot camp, I asked my photographer to drive around the area getting photos of various local boating destinations, including the waterfront down town, the signature bridges, local marinas and a few other specific requests. After her adventure, she told me the story of meeting a man at one of the marinas that told her he was the “Mayor.”

She Googled the mayor of that town only to find she’d made a mistake and figured the guy was telling a story. After she told me the story, I explained that virtually every marina in the U.S. has an un-official mayor of the marina. Someone who’s been there for a long time, likely a more socially outgoing person and always full of local boating information. Some are right on the money, others maybe a little off-base but well meaning.

This reminded me of one of the concepts in the SPLASH System which is to become a provider of boating information as well as local boating information. By voting yourself and your dealership “The Mayor” of your local boating community, you can position your dealership as the place for prospects to come for their next boat purchase.  

Let’s take a look at what being the mayor may look like for a medium-sized dealership that sells family pleasure boats that range from entry level to premium manufacturers. Here are five ways you can use an expert mindset to increase major unit sales and margins:

• Host a Podcast highlighting local boating activities, weekly weather update and seasonal boating tips. This can be just 15 minutes each week.

• Host a weekly video series on YouTube and posted to your website with a fun name that capture the local boating world. Again, this can be a short weekly series that’s 10 to 15 minutes (or less).

• Create a weekly or monthly boating e-zine focused on local boating happenings, tips and events that would be of interest to family pleasure boaters. As with all of these strategies, it is important to match the content to the content your clients and prospects will find valuable.

• Create a series of educational videos or articles that would be useful to your boating community throughout the entire boating season. Don’t forget about content for the off season to get them excited about the upcoming warmer weather (think off season content shot in the warmth of the summer).

• Create educational reports for boat buyers that would be useful for anyone in your local market looking to buy the types of boats you sell. Keep these reports educational, leaving out the hard core sales pitch for your dealership. Utilize these reports as free giveaways at events, offers on your website, social media, joint ventures with non-competitive sources in your market (marinas, retail stores, on-water restaurants).

You may look at this and say, we don’t have time to become the mayor of our boating community. But, with the right system and planning, this can be done with only an hour a week, maybe less over time. Or, you can hire the right experts that understand how to get the most out of a marketing budget in today’s environment in the boating industry to implement for you.

I must admit, this approach is not right for every dealership or personality type.  And yet, based on experience it can and will work in virtually every market.

Or, you can keep throwing tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars towards traditional brand building advertising that year after year has produced poorer and poorer results.

Now for this month’s challenge: Choose one of the five strategies above and commit to do it for just six months through the selling season. Email me at and I’ll give you some feedback on your effort.  

Matt Sellhorst is the creator of the SPLASH System and committed to helping honest and ethical boat dealers, manufacturers and brokers; sell more boats, make more money and have more fun. He is the author of two industry books, “Boat Dealer Profits: How the SPLASH System can help you sell more boats, make more money and have more fun” and “Marine Marketing Strategies.” Sellhorst is also host of the Boat Dealer Profits Podcast and Boat Dealer Profits TV channel. For more articles, videos, webinars packed with tips, tricks and tactics visit


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One Comment

  1. I’m a fan of Bain’s Value Pyramid for marketing. One of the higher values of the pyramid is Affiliation/belonging, being part of a community.People buy based more on perceived value than price alone. The more values you can appeal to, the greater the value perceived by the customer, the more likely they are to buy, regardless of the price.

    The boating business would benefit from understanding that people make decisions emotionally and rationalize their decisions after the fact. Understanding what values are triggered when making a decision is harder work than merely listing features and benefits but it produces customer loyalty and product evangelists.

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