In mid-February I attended “Boat Show Week” in Miami Beach. There are actually two separate boat shows, with the venues split between Yachts Miami Beach and the Progressive Miami International Boat Show. This was my 20th year attending, and during that time I’ve worked with a number of marine dealers, manufacturers and service providers. The Florida boat show circuit is a critical component of the marketing effort for these companies. It was great to see this year that a sense of excitement and momentum has returned to the marketplace, after a few years of struggle against the headwinds. Both venues are always enjoyable, but this time I picked up on a newfound optimism that the economic tide is turning for the marine market.
You can’t miss the great looking new yachts showcased along the piers from manufacturers such as Hatteras, Intrepid and Tiara. That said, so much of the depth of the show unfolds in the indoor exhibit halls where you find all the latest in marine electronics, engines, generators, safety products, and services.
It was such a great opportunity for all of them to both show and tell an interested crowd of potential buyers and enthusiasts about their products. Seeing all of this made me realize: These boat shows have so many characteristics of a quality Inbound marketing campaign.
- Attract potential buyers that are interested in the products for sale.
- Provide an opportunity to connect directly with individuals.
- Enable the sales team to spend more quality time communicating with people, rather than hunting down leads.
- Target people at varying stages of the buyer’s journey.
All websites are islands, and many of them are deserted.
The most common thing I heard when talking with companies at the show, especially with marine dealers, is that they don’t think their websites are living up to their potential. They simply aren’t getting buyer-ready leads. For many, shows like this are the cornerstones of their marketing and their websites are relegated to only a minor, supporting role.
Over my years of implementing marketing strategies, I’ve learned that all websites are islands, and many of them are deserted. If you have a remote island and you want to attract visitors, you have to focus on actually attracting them. You may have the most beautiful island, with the best snorkeling and sunbathing in a thousand miles, but if nobody knows about it, nobody visits.
The first question to ask yourself when you are trying to attract people to your island is:
“How do I get the word out?”
In 2017, inbound marketing is the best answer to this question. We have a white paper about this that goes into depth about how inbound marketing provides the year-round lead generation that so many of these companies are looking for.