Time for reflection

The boat show season is drawing to a close. Most shows reported an increase in attendance and as you might imagine, the reports all have quotes saying in effect ‘sales were good’.

As a consequence, the recreational boating industry as a whole is breathing a sigh of relief and looking to continue doing business as normal. Brand managers should take this opportunity to reflect and re-examine their brand’s current positioning and where it should be in the next few years.

Why? We are in a time when brands across the spectrum of consumer retailing are putting significant efforts into better understanding customer behaviour. This driver for this is the change in how today's younger buyers research products and their purchase decision process. 

The average age of boat buyers taking out loans continues to increase showing that we are not reaching younger consumers. Our industry is complacent in the sense that it thinks if it carries on in the same manner while reaching out to the younger community all will be good.

It won’t, as an infographic on connecting with Boomers vs Millennials by DMN3, an established marketing agency, points out. Boomers look to advertising and sales people to help with purchasing decisions (sound familiar?) while Millennials rely heavily on peer reviews. Boomers tend to make their decisions mostly on features while Millennials want to know the benefits and how it will make their life better.

The need exists for a separate and coherent sales and marketing effort for Millennials and an equally independent and distinct effort for Boomers. Given that the existing product distribution system works for Boomers then a new distribution network is certainly needed for Millennials.

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