MMA launches three major initiatives

ORLANDO – At its bi-annual meeting during the Miami International Boat Show last week, Marine Marketers of America announced three major marketing initiatives to benefit the boating industry – a pro bono cause marketing campaign, a marine industry speakers bureau and a marketing awards competition, an industry first, MMA said in a release yesterday.

MMA’s first pro bono industry marketing project will be a test program involving boating education programs targeted at women. Co-chairs John Wisse and Jim Rhodes are spearheading the effort, which will be tested at the local/regional level with the potential to grow into a national industry promotion if successful.

The committee anticipates this grassroots project will launch in 2008 and involve either a boat manufacturer or trade association with select dealers, an education curriculum and hands-on skills provider, plus MMA members who will contribute time and talent toward strategic plan and branding/promotions development. Potential partnerships are under discussion.

MMA will establish a National Speakers Bureau comprised of qualified marketing experts, and launch by early summer on the association Web site (

“Our goal is to offer a one-stop source of marketing experts available to address any number of relevant marketing topics,” said committee chair Wanda Kenton Smith.

The roster is in development, and experienced marketing speakers are invited to apply.

The third announcement is the launch of a marketing awards program, the first in industry history to recognize outstanding achievement in marine marketing, advertising and public relations categories.

Committee co-chair Sally Helme announced that the inaugural festivities will be held in Ft. Lauderdale this fall. A call for entries is available and posted on the association Web site, with a detailed Web site update by April 1.

Other committee work during the meeting included plans for a national industry-wide marketing retreat in 2009, offering both a mix of professional development and social networking programs.

“For a new association, we’ve got a lot of enthusiasm among our board and general membership, a great deal of momentum and a heck of a lot on the ball,” said Kenton Smith. “It is absolutely fun and rewarding for marine marketers to work on these terrific initiatives. Those in marine industry marketing should become involved in this group as we have much to offer, no matter if you’re new to the business or an industry veteran. We want and need you.”

For more information, visit or contact association secretary/treasurer Patti Velsor at (407) 856-6680.

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