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Marketing Certification to Consumers

Posted By Bob McCann, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

One of the most frequently asked questions by dealers considering getting Certified is: “What is the industry doing to make consumers aware of the benefits of doing business with a Certified dealer?” The answer is: Quite a bit!

  1. First and foremost, we believe in empowering YOU to tell your story of how Certification makes you a better boat dealer. We help you by providing resources like press releases, advertisements, sales strategies, the Consumer Commitment and more.

  2. Second, the Dealer Certification Program was launched by Grow Boating, and MRAA continues to work with a Grow Boating Committee to build a relevant program for today’s industry. Grow Boating, through its consumer-facing Discover Boating website, promotes Certified Dealers and why it’s important to buy and service a boat from a Certified Dealer.

  3. Speaking of why it’s important to buy or service your boat at a Certified Dealer, here’s an article we collaborated on with Boating magazine. Each year we work with Bonnier Corp., which publishes Boating magazine, to tell their subscribers about the value of doing business with Certified Dealers. Ads in their magazine and their newsletters, as well as custom content in their newsletters and on their social media sites, promote Certified Dealers and are distributed to boating consumers on an annual basis.

  4. Each year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association promotes Certified Dealers at its boat shows, providing a page in its show directory that highlights all the Certified Dealers displaying at that event as well as signage for Certified Dealers’ booths.

Tell Your Story
When you reach the pinnacle of the industry as a Certified Dealer and adhere the badge to your front door and your website, it’s a good time to take a breath and pat your team on the back for a job well done.

Then, use the marketing tools provided to you to create awareness and put the question in the mind of the boat buyer or owner: What does Certified mean? This is your team’s opportunity to blow their own horn and enthusiastically explain what a Certified Dealer must go through to reach this level of recognition.

This is the purpose of displaying the Consumer Commitment, aka ‘The Customer’s Bill of Rights.” Truth be known, customers come to your dealership to look at boats or to get their boat serviced. Reading plaques on the wall doesn’t rank high on their priority list during their visit. Therefore, mentioning Certification needs to become part of your pitch to every boat buyer or service customer. The plaque on the wall is simply a visual aid to help tell the story.

One of MRAA’s top performing dealer groups has taken this to the next level by restyling and enlarging the Bill of Rights to free standing banners that are proudly displayed in each of their many showrooms.   This group and others also bring the Customer Commitment with them to their boat shows because it helps separates them from the sea of fiberglass or aluminum at the show. They realize that a boat show often levels the playing field. The boat buyers only see bright shiny boats, all perfectly displayed for the weekend, and can’t see exhibitors’ decked-out dealerships (or not). I’ll never forget when one of our dealers told me that they walk everyone over to the Bill of Rights before they leave their boat show display and say, “When you’re looking around the Boat Show, make sure you look for dealerships that display these Bill of Rights.” He went on to say, “This sets up the next dealer for failure, and we enjoy a larger amount of B-Backs.” So, if you’ve been looking for the elusive B-Back powder, this might be it!

Bottom-line: You must beat your own chest and tell everyone you’re Certified because your competition won’t. Use all that we provide to help you create awareness and get customers asking: What does Certification mean?

Tags:  certification  competition  marketing  sales  service 

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