MMA panel will focus on first-time boat buyer trends

An in-depth look at the decline in first-time boat buyers and strategies for reversing the trend will be the focus of a panel discussion, “Saving Generation Agnostic,” when Marine Marketers of America hosts its bi-annual general membership meeting Nov. 2 at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

In 2000, first-time boat buyers represented 42 percent of all boat buyers, compared to 33 percent in 2015, according to results from a recent Info-Link marketing study.

“This is an excellent opportunity to learn how to attract and close first-time boat buyers with insight from leading industry experts,” said Wanda Kenton Smith. “The discussion will include an overview of today’s boat buyers, with insight into the reasons for the sales decline, what it means for the industry and what marketers can to do to keep their prospects in the pipeline and engaged after the sale.”

Courtney Chalmers, vice president of marketing for Boats Group, will moderate the discussion with insight from panelists including:

  • Carl Blackwell, President – Grow Boating, Inc.
  • Joe Lewis, General Manager – Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina
  • Peter Houseworth, Director of Client Services, Info-Link
  • John Giglio, President and CEO – Freedom Boat Club
  • Oliver Pierini, Director of Global Marketing and Strategic Planning –BRP/Evinrude

Sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Freedom Boat Club and Sea Tow, the meeting and presentation will take place at the Bahia Mar Yacht Center in State Room A/B, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Admission is $35 for MMA members and $40 for non-members. Advance registration is required.

In addition to the panel discussion, the Nov. 2 meeting will include an MMA membership update, buffet luncheon and meet-and-greet with other marketing professionals attending the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

“If you’re not an MMA member, this a great chance to get to know us and meet other marketers in the industry,” said Sally Helme, MMA vice president. “We offer professional development, networking events and host our annual National Neptune Awards recognizing marine marketing excellence.”

MMA membership is open to any person engaged in marketing activities on behalf of marine industry products, services or causes. Dues start at $50 per year for individuals and $135 for corporations.

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