Evinrude Marine Group’s recently completed Edge events on lakes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota provided the engine manufacture with plenty of consumer data and dealer feedback about the company’s E-TEC G2 outboards.
The summer-long event series also provided another opportunity. Since Evinrude is now a part of the newly established BRP Marine Group, boaters were able to test Manitou pontoons and Alumacraft boats equipped with several different Evinrude engines.
The Edge events kicked off in July and ended in late September in Minnesota, said Nando Zucchi, vice president of marketing and international business development, Evinrude Marine Group.
“As a company, we decided to get out and be a little more grassroots with our two-stroke message,” Zucchi said. ““It was a mind-changing experience for a lot of people, and we even had industry and trade press members say they had no idea about what we’ve been doing.”
The purchased boat brands were clearly part of the conversation, but at its base, the planning for the six events happened prior to the two acquisitions, Zucchi said.
“The Manitou and Alumacraft boat brands helped tell our story, but their inclusion was really a secondary piece,” Zucchi told Boating Industry.
The magazine’s editorial staff participated in two of the six events. One was on White Bear Lake and the other was on Lake Minnetonka.
Evinrude collected a lot of consumer data, Zucchi added. All participants had to fill out a short survey at the end of each event.
“Our data shows that we were successful in providing a fun and educational experience for qualified prospects and existing boaters,” Zucchi said. “We generated prospects for our dealers, and we’re working to develop new relationships. We put more than 500 consumers through the five of the six events and had 74 dealers participate.” Lake Minnetonka event data was still being complied.
At five of the six events, Thursday was an existing dealer day with classroom training followed by on-the-water demonstrations.
The next day featured prospect dealers, those who currently aren’t selling Evinrude, Manitou, or Alumacraft. They received similar classroom and on-the-water training.
“We also included VIP prospects of existing dealers. Saturday and Sunday were for consumers,” Zucchi said.
Regarding pontoons, many customers make fairly significant purchase decisions in this product category without every getting in a boat on the water, Zucchi said
The Edge events provided an opportunity for the dealers to bring people in and do side-by-side comparisons.
“That’s not really common in the industry,” Zucchi said. “It’s amazing how many people will buy a $200,000 pontoon boat and the only thing they’ve done before making the purchase is sit in it at a boat show on a concrete floor.”
Here's list of the boats featured at the September Evinrude Edge event on Lake Minnetonka:
- Head to Head: Bennington QCR powered by Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 HP and Bennington RCL powered by Yamaha 150 HP
- Head to Head: AlumaCraft 185 SPT powered by Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 and Alumacraft 185 SPT powered Yamaha 150 HP
- Bennington Q27 powered by twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 300 HP w/iDock
- 1980 Vexus powered by Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 hp
- Bennington RSR powered by Evinrude E-TEC G2 300
- Alumacraft 195 Tournament Pro Evinrude E-TEC G2 200