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USA. Attendance up seven percent at 2006 National Marine Manufacturers Association boat shows

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

 Attendance at the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) 2006 consumer boat shows was up a total of seven percent over the previous year’s figures. The combination of several factors contributed to the rise in attendance across the 23 boat shows, including the creation of unique boat show advertisements, increased interactive marketing efforts and strong support from public relations activities.

“Exhibitors from our 2006 winter season frequently commented on the high quality buying crowds and the fact they were not only seeing new faces but selling to these new people as well,” says Ben Wold, NMMA executive vice president. “A great example of the kind of feedback we received from numerous exhibitors comes from a Virginia-based dealer at the 2006 Virginia In-Water Boat Expo, who reported selling 15 boats at the show—11 of which to people he’d never met before.”

“We can’t overlook the fact that there are obviously economic conditions impacting the increase to some extent; however, we believe the combination of a number of solid marketing initiatives helped spur attendance by this high-quality buying crowd,” says NMMA president Thom Dammrich.

Marketing initiatives that helped boost attendance range from Internet marketing and grassroots activities, to new advertising and strong public relations efforts.

New, award-winning boat show advertising was a hit and contributed to the attendance increase, notes Wold. Every market in which NMMA’s “Captain” ad ran, boat show attendance increased by double digits. NMMA received both a 2006 Silver Hugo Award and a 2006 Silver Telly Award—the highest honor of its kind—for the commercial. In addition, public relations generated overwhelming media coverage, reaching an all-time high of more than 600 million impressions nationwide. Stories designed to generate excitement and interest ran in the weeks preceding each NMMA boat show. Nearly every television station, newspaper, magazine and website within each boat show market covered that market’s show.

Moving forward in 2007, Wold says these boat show marketing initiatives will not only increase, but be improved upon. “One plan is to send every hot prospect generated through two free tickets to the upcoming boat show in their area. That’s somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 people who will receive tickets,” he says.

NMMA is also developing all new boat show creative advertising for the 2007 show season.

“We’ve taken a very strategic approach to our boat show marketing efforts, and we are fortunate to have very talented staffers in public relations, advertising and interactive/internet departments,” says Carl Blackwell, NMMA vice president of marketing and communications. “We certainly are getting the most out of the resources afforded us to promote our shows.”

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 November 2006 )