Funding model a top priority for Tadd

Boating Industry magazine interviewed Steve Tadd as he stepped from his previous position as director of the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association’s Discover Boating program into his new role as director of the Grow Boating Initiative. For more information on Tadd’s new job, click here.

Boating Industry: The position you’ve been promoted to is a new one. Why was the creation of it necessary and what do you bring to the position?

Steve Tadd: The Grow Boating Initiative is truly a set of revolutionary changes for the industry. Each of them alone is amazing, but they all fit together and the potential synergies between each strategic initiative and each task force are awesome. One focused individual was needed to identify these synergies and to communicate amongst the different task forces. Each task force has developed strategic goals. As we move into execution phase, someone is needed to troubleshoot and help the task force leaders to make sure that they have what they need to succeed. Finally, though, there are still parts of the industry that do not fully understand what is happening here, and I will back up [NMMA President] Thom Dammrich and others as we communicate about Grow Boating and the progress of the initiative.

I have been involved with the Grow Boating Initiative, at least this iteration of a movement to grow boating, from the get go. My involvement, as well as my experience with Discover Boating prior to the GBI, give me a unique understanding of the needs of the industry. Beyond that, I bring with me a passion to grow boating, and a great respect for the magnitude and energy associated with this movement and the consensus that surrounds it.

Boating Industry: Who was acting as the liaison previously? Thom Dammrich?

Steve Tadd: Yes, and he will continue to be closely involved.

Boating Industry: What do you imagine your typical day will be like in your new position?

Steve Tadd: It will evolve. For now, I will be gathering information so that I know everything that there is to know about the initiative. I will also focus on communication. We cannot over-communicate about this initiative, the rationale for GBI and the progress being made. I will work with manufacturers as they implement their processes to collect the funds for Grow Boating. Also, I will make sure that the task force leaders have what they need to succeed. I will be interacting with a lot of people, either over the phone or at meetings. I will also be working closely with industry leaders as we develop more long term strategies and a viable governance model for GBI.

Boating Industry:What is your first major objective in this new position?

Steve Tadd: To make sure that the funding model is working.

Boating Industry: How would you describe the current state of the Grow Boating Initiative?

Steve Tadd: In a word: Awesome. The level of support for the GBI is strong, which in and of itself is historic. Within the task forces and working groups involved with GBI, the progress is impressive. And the passion to make this work throughout the industry is inspiring. I am honored to be associated with it.

Boating Industry: What is on the horizon, in regards to Grow Boating?

Steve Tadd: So much. The website is being built, the logo is going through consumer testing, the ads are being tweaked, the dealer certification is going through pilot testing and the first certified dealers will be announced over the next few months, the access task force is up and running and is identifying their role, dealers are building CSI into the mix at an amazing rate, boat builders are working to build better products and are becoming NMMA Certified at historic rates, the governance and funding models are being developed throughout the industry and invoices are going out now, manufacturers are spreading the word at dealer meetings, MTA’s and MIA’s are also helping to spread the word. In a nutshell, what is on the horizon? PROGRESS!!!

Boating Industry: Given your background, can you shed some light on the relationship between NMMA’s Discover Boating campaign and the Grow Boating Initiative?

Steve Tadd: The Discover Boating Campaign is a piece of the Grow Boating Initiative. The Discover Boating Campaign is the front face of Grow Boating to consumers. Up until now, Discover Boating has had an emphasis on events and PR (mainly because we could never before afford to effectively advertise the lifestyle of boating). These tactics will grow along with advertising, promotions, a better website, direct mail, etc. The Discover Boating campaign will now finally be able to utilize the full marketing mix and truly move the needle with regard to building the demand to own a boat on a national level. The other strategies and changes taking place in the industry, as a part of Grow Boating, will help stakeholders (dealers, manufacturers, and anyone with a financial stake in recreational boating) to capitalize on and retain the increased number of customers, participants and leads that are on the horizon. It all fits together. And really, it won’t work without each piece of the Grow Boating puzzle being successful. Discover Boating (marketing) is one piece of that puzzle.

Boating Industry:What has heading up Discover Boating taught you that you bring to the Grow Boating position?

Steve Tadd: It has taught me that this industry wants to grow. It has taught me that we can make a difference by reaching out to people. It has taught me that there are issues in our industry that need to be fixed. It has taught me that people are very receptive to hearing about and experiencing the boating lifestyle. It has taught me that every sector of our industry is passionate, smart, and interested in seeing these efforts succeed.

Boating Industry: Who will now head up Discover Boating? Are they looking for someone to replace you?

Steve Tadd: The role will change slightly, but yes many of my event specific roles will be filled by an Event Marketing Director at NMMA. Other areas that I handled will be redistributed amongst other people within NMMA’s marketing department. The entire department is gearing up/staffing up as the campaign gets ready to enter execution phase.

Boating Industry: How will this impact the Discover Boating tour, which is only halfway over for the year?

Steve Tadd: The staff on the road is a very professional group of people. The systems are in place for their continued success. Within the office, Maryanne Bradford, Discover Boating Project Manager is taking the helm for the remainder of the tour. She has been involved with the tour for three years, and will assume additional responsibilities. She is a very capable individual, and I do not expect this to have much of an impact on this year’s tour.

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