Your higher calling

Two years ago, it was a little difficult to bank on the promise that pride would be the No. 1 byproduct of the Grow Boating campaign.
Marine executives, not surprisingly, were focused on measurable results. They were talking about lead generation, ad campaigns and target demographics. They asked questions like “What will it cost me?” and “Will it really grow anything?” Needless to say, they wanted something more than a “feel-good” effect like pride to ensure bottom line impact.
But pride is the exact motivator behind much of the Grow Boating momentum. And yes, it’s also making bottom line contributions.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s just as we were promised. In an article we published two years ago, Tom Faludy, the man who founded the coalition that launched the highly successful GO RVing campaign, told me that “combined with the solidarity that we now find … there’s no issue that fills us with universal pride like this one does.”
Pride beamed from the RV dealer we highlighted in that same issue as he showcased his impressive new facility. Now we’re seeing examples of that same pride emanating from marine dealers — albeit for different reasons. RV dealers took pride in the fact that they contributed on the front end, financially, to a marketing campaign that helped it become the fastest growing industry of its kind.
Marine dealers, on the other hand, were not asked to contribute upfront. They were asked to invest $2,500 in immediate business improvements — a very minimal request, in my opinion — as opposed to investing in a marketing campaign first, with potential sales to follow. Having chosen in favor of this immediate-impact investment, these early adopters have been given the framework and tools to improve their facilities and their business practices, and they are reaping the rewards of the program that Five Star Solutions has offered.
Rather than complain about the investment cost, dealers are exhibiting a great deal of pride in their accomplishments: becoming certified on the first visit; being honored with “best practices” and so forth. There are nearly 300 dealers either certified or in the queue for doing so in the near future. Organizers expect that number to climb to 500 by the end of 2007.
If you’re a dealer and you haven’t committed to this, it’s time to stop balking over the monetary commitment and realize that the exponential value of this program is right at your fingertips. If that’s not enough to convince you, then realize that it’s also right at your competition’s fingertips.
If you’re a supplier, you need to find ways to entice your dealers to get involved. Throw in some coop; pay for a percentage of the fee; reward them somehow.
Because as Faludy and the RV industry learned: “When you see yourself in a different light, you expect more from yourself. It’s like a higher calling for a greater sense of responsibility in order to provide that world-class experience.”

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