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Discover Boating launches 2015 marketing campaign

By By Brianna Liestman

Discover Boating recently held a webinar to announce its 2015 marketing campaign, which will offer new strategies and build upon its 2014 successes.

At the center of the campaign is the Stories of Discovery, which were a huge success last year with close to nine million views across the Internet.

“We know that everyone has a boating story, so we asked real-life boaters to share with us their story of what they have discovered through their boating experiences,” said Armida Markarova, vice president of interactive marketing at Discover Boating. “Their stories inspire people by showcasing how boaters share a common bond and that is really appealing to perspective boaters.”

The Stories of Discovery video completion rates, or people who chose to view the videos from start to finish, are 127 percent better than the average YouTube video, according to Discover Boating.

In addition to the existing four videos, Discover Boating introduced two new stories this year: Ashley Rae, who quit her 9-5 job to purpose professional fishing, and the Norwitch family, which details their family time on the water.

The videos also act as an attempt to court younger buyers to boating. Three of the six Stories of Discovery feature young adults and their passion for boating, which was a purposeful decision made by Discover Boating.

“We’re hoping that these stories, among many other initiatives that Discover Boating is undertaking with the help of the industry and on behalf of the industry, will help us achieve [lowering the age of the boat buyer],” said Markarova.

The Stories of Discovery will be distributed to a larger audience in 2015 through a well-known boating ambassador. Country music star Jake Owen was featured in one of the 2014 stories, and he will be partnering with Discover Boating as Owen tours with Kenny Chensey on THE BIG REVIVAL tour.

“Jake is a lifelong boater, who lives and breathes the boating lifestyle, and we’re proud to be working with him again to share his stories and passion for being on the water,” said Carl Blackwell, president of Discover Boating. “His music conveys the same feel-good vibe you get being on a boat and we look forward to continuing to share that feeling with his fans and concertgoers throughout the summer tour.”

As part of THE BIG REVIVAL Tour, Owen will be performing at tour stops across the U.S. and Canada throughout the summer. Prior to Owen taking the stage, concertgoers will get a sneak peek at his Story of Discovery.

Taking the partnership online, Owen and Discover Boating will share with fans exclusive boating content from Owen via social media – as Owen’s following has increased 50 percent over the past year and comprises a fan base that is heavily engaged in his content – and DiscoverBoating.com, as well as a chance to score concert tickets.

He will also be part of Discover Boating’s online advertising and public relations programming, targeting national media and helping to introduce more people to the boating lifestyle. Discover Boating and Owen will collaborate to create exclusive content, such as playlists or blog posts on insights and tips/tricks about boating.

Discover Boating also continues to increase its digital marketing efforts and will be jumping into Instagram for 2015. Discover Boating announced it will be joining a select group of brands on Instagram that are promoting paid advertisement to reach young adults. Executives and Instagram have given the seal of approval to the Stories of Discovery to be used as ads.

“They believe that our brand and videos will resonate really well with their followers, so we’re especially excited about this opportunity and we’re looking forward to launching our advertising campaign with them this summer,” said Armida.

In addition to paid advertising, Discover Boating will create a video content series for social media, starting on Instagram, that will feature everything from boating tips to boating memories.

“These [videos] are going to really help us to drive engagement and awareness for boating on this growing platform,” said Ellen Hopkins, vice president of marketing and communications at Discover Boating.

Discover Boating will also continue many of the similar efforts undertaken in 2014, such as media boating excursions and working with influential bloggers to create stories and original content.

Discover Boating is launching a “Summer Boot Camp,” which will take place outside of New York and will be an opportunity to take media out on the water, teaching them about and immersing them in the lifestyle in a bigger way.

This will help with Discover Boating’s efforts to work with media on creating individual and customized on-water experience stories. Discover Boating is already seeing success with this route, as Men’s Health will be featuring Discover Boating in a story to publish in June that resulted from an on-water experience.

“It’s really a great way for us to generate some positive awareness,” said Hopkins. “What’s really great about blogs is they rank really high for trust and popularity, so these are small sites that consumers turn to for information, advice, purchase information, so this is a great place for our industry to be and for Discover Boating to be as we’re working to educate the masses on why boating is a good fit for them.”

To listen to a recording of the full webinar, go to growboating.org/toolkit/webinars.

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