Marine Dealers Should Dare to be Different to Splash Competition for Boat Shoppers

BY Courtney Huckabay

Being customer oriented isn't the best marketing strategy. Focus on the competition and then do something different, Al Ries advises marketers in a piece for AdAge. What wins in marketing today? The conventional wisdom is "customer centricity."

"As one pundit put it, "Connect with customers based on their behavior or where they are in their purchase or life cycle."

"Who can argue with that? I can," Ries wrote.

"In 2009, we started working in China with Great Wall Motor. At the time, the company made trucks, sedans, minivans and SUVs and marketed them under nine brand names: Coolbear, Deer, Florid, Haval, Lingao, Peri, Sailing, Socool and Wingle."

"So what did we recommend? We recommended that the company focus on Haval, its SUV brand. Why SUVs? The company's research showed that Chinese customers preferred sedans because they were more prestigious. On the other hand, Chinese customers thought SUVs were practical vehicles with no social status."

"So we figured the other 28 Chinese automobile companies would focus on sedans because they were customer oriented and that's what Chinese customers wanted. And that's exactly what they did, leaving the SUV field open for Great Wall to dominate."

"As a result of being competitor oriented (and not customer oriented) Great Wall became the largest, most-​profitable Chinese automobile company."

Boat/​Watercraft dealers should heed this advice and take a similar strategy to increase traffic and sales. And know this: AudienceSCAN found 2.8% of Americans intend to purchase boats/​watercraft in the next 12 months.

Be different

"Think different" was the Apple slogan years ago, and the same idea can work today. After the success of Red Bull, hundreds of energy drinks were launched in the American market. (In the four years between 2005 to 2008, there were 956 brands of energy drinks launched.)"

"So which brand became a strong No. 2 to Red Bull? The better energy drink or the one that was different? The one that was different. Monster, virtually the only energy-​drink brand that was launched in a 16-​oz. can, became a strong No. 2 brand with 37% market share."

Tout what makes a marine dealership different in mobile smartphone app ads or text message ads because Boat/​Watercraft Shoppers are 100% more likely than average to react to them, AudienceSCAN says. Be different in internet banner ads too: 43% took action after seeing them in the past month.

"When your brand takes the line of least expectation, you can be pretty sure no other brand will be doing the same thing. And that's what builds powerful brands."

"Being different."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.