Massachusetts MRU expands to include Rhode Island

NORFOLK and MINNEAPOLIS — Dominion Marine Media and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas have partnered for a third consecutive year to bring their popular Marine Retail University to Massachusetts, Thursday, Jan. 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Brockton, Mass.

For the past two years, the event has been hosted by the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, and it has been one of the largest and best attended MRUs in the series’ three-year history. This year, it’s expanding; for the first time, the event will be co-hosted by MMTA and the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association. It’s expected to be the largest MRU of the 2014-2015 season, and perhaps the largest MRU to date, drawing more than 100 marine businesses from across Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“The Marine Retail University provides a unique opportunity for marine businesses to not only dig into the hot-button topics of the day and find solutions and best practices for their organization, but also to network with their peers and colleagues,” says Liz Walz, MRAA vice president. “Historically, the turnout at this particular MRU has been high, and we’re thrilled at the prospect of expanding it further.”

MRUs are structured as one-day educational events for those interested in drilling down deeper into many of the critical topics and issues impacting their marine businesses. Speakers and industry experts are brought in to discuss myriad subjects that marine retailers have indicated are of interest to them.

“We’re so excited to partner with MRAA and Dominion and their Marine Retail University,” says Wendy Mackie, CEO of RIMTA. “The timing is perfect, with the Providence Boat Show taking place January 23-25. Dealers and other exhibitors are able to fine tune their displays and messaging using MRAA and Dominion best practices, then put what they learned at the MRU right to work at the show.”

At each MRU, attendees participate in educational sessions that offer local and national data, trends and best practices, as well as several networking opportunities. Topics range from analysis of the latest boat sales registration numbers and consumer research to expert advice and proven strategies in areas like marketing and promotion, the service department, hiring and human resources, leadership and sales.

The Northeast MRU will incorporate seven sessions in all. Specific topics to be covered include: A state-of-the-industry update; converting data to dollars; 29 tips to improve the service department; online reputation management; regulatory wrangling; maximizing boat show ROI; and marine business best practices.

“Dominion is excited to work with MRAA to bring this valuable educational series to life for dealers around the country,” says Katy Judge, Boat Trader brand manager. “We work in concert with MRAA to deliver MRU content that’s relevant and valuable to bolster the financial success and growth potential of marine retailer attendees. We expect this MRU to really ‘wow’ dealers and give them some key strategies and best practices they can take home and immediately implement back at their respective places of business.”

Since the launch of the MRU event series in November 2011, it has attracted more than 700 attendees. Its success is largely attributable to the powerful collaboration MRAA and Dominion have built with the series’ title sponsor, Norman-Spencer Marine Insurance; the state and local Marine Trades Associations that host many of the MRU events; and Boating Industry magazine, which serves as the exclusive media sponsor.

There’s still time for interested dealers to register for next week’s Northeast MRU. Click here for more information about the event and its educational lineup, or to register online.

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