NMMA provides Grow Boating update

CHICAGO – The National Marine Manufacturers Association provided a progress report to the industry on the Grow Boating Initiative yesterday with the distribution of its “Grow Boating’s Discover Boating Update” newsletter.

NMMA’s update touched on several areas, including news of an effort to redesign DiscoverBoating.com, the launch of a certified advertising campaign, a public relation’s campaign to raise awareness and a report from the mobile tour.

Web site redesign
The Grow Boating Initiative’s Marketing Task Force has created a subcommittee of Internet experts from industry stakeholder companies to provide oversight for the redesign of DiscoverBoating.com.

The new site will include information geared toward both current owners and consumers that are interested in getting into boating. Efforts are also being made to improve the site’s ability to accumulate and disseminate consumer leads. Improved graphic design and additional features are also planned for this summer.

The Marketing Task Force is also working with the GBI national advertising agency, Carmichael Lynch, to fine tune strategy and creative for the launch of the Discover Boating advertising campaign. Agency and Grow Boating staffs are meeting to develop media schedules, guerilla marketing and public relations plans to support the launch.

Plans will be presented at this year’s IBEX convention. The campaign is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2006.

Mobile Tour Update
NMMA also reported that the Discover Boating and Take Me Fishing Mobile Tour is off to a strong start in 2005, as more than 300 “hot leads” have been generated during the first month of the seven-month tour.

Hot leads are individuals that are ready “right now” to purchase a boat; they go through a special qualification process with tour staff. In addition, more than 17,000 people have entered to win one of four boats, creating an already large database of consumers interested in boat ownership.

Discover Boating director Steve Tadd estimates the list will grow to 70,000-90,000 people. The next stop for the tour is at the Perimeter Mall in Atlanta, Ga., from June 17-19 for a Mini Boat Show.

PR efforts
NMMA president Thom Dammrich met with reporters from Time, Smart Money, Popular Mechanics, Best Life, Boating and other magazines to discuss the state of the boating industry, highlighting data revealed in the new 2004 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract.

He also participated in an interview with a Forbes magazine reporter prior to the media tour about the industry’s Grow Boating initiative.

Discover Boating director Steve Tadd participated in a satellite media tour May 11 from Surfside Three Marina at Chelsea Piers. The tour generated nearly half a million impressions with approximately $8.7 million in media value. Meanwhile, a Discover Boating radio media tour generated nearly two million more impressions. Tadd also made an appearance on Fox & Friends (audience approximately 400,000) on June 3, educating viewers on the various boats currently available.

Certified ad campaign launched
NMMA said its certified advertising campaign will start in earnest this month, with the goal of educating consumers and industry stakeholders on the benefits of buying boats that are NMMA Certified using ABYC Standards.

The initial NMMA Certified ad campaign runs through September and can be seen in a number of trade and consumer boating publications, including:
Boat & Motor Dealer, Boat U.S., Boating, Boating Industry, Boating World, Cruising World, Houseboat, Pontoon & Deckboat, Sailing World, Salt Water Sportsman, SAIL, Soundings Trade Only, Trailer Boats and Yachting.

Industry publications are throwing their support behind the Grow Boating Initiative, helping NMMA to save more than $300,000 on the print advertising campaign.

Boating World, Boating Life and Great Lakes Boating magazines are also helping to promote the NMMA Certified program by indicating which boats are NMMA Certified in their boat reviews.

NMMA’s PR team is working with other key consumer boating publications to ask them to highlight NMMA Certification in their boat reviews as well.

NMMA said the next issue of the Discover Boating Update newsletter would be released in early July.

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