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Industry Breakfast

Boating Week 2000

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The Layout

The conference opened with an Industry Breakfast Tuesday Morning. A podium and two large rear projection screens were used to convey the opening messages.

Thom Dammrich

Thom Dammrich, NMMA president, opened the conference.
Photo courtesy NMMA.

Mr. Dammrich emphasized that in addition to the NMMA and the MRAA the show now has 32 partners.

The NMMA now has a new vision statement,

"Together, making boating the #1 choice in recreation."

The vision statement promotes the concept, not everyone will own a boat, but everyone will aspire to own one.

They also announced a new mission statement,

NMMA is dedicated to creating, promoting and protecting an environment where members can achieve financial success through excellence in manufacturing, selling and servicing their customers.
He spoke of access problems: manatee issues, limits on motorized boat use) and the American Recreation Coalition promoting a water recreation video titled, Reservoirs of Opportunity from the National Recreation Lakes Coalition.

He showed portions of the promotional video. The video portrayed water recreation as a method to stay fit: physically, mentally and spiritually.

RBBI Comment: The final report of the National Lakes Study Commission (Published June 1999), titled "Reservoirs of Opportunity" is available online. We recently used it for a research project. It does a great job of covering water recreation at the Federal Lakes. You can even request a free printed copy by mail.

The Coalition is currently selecting 20 lakes as a pilot project. Partnerships with state and local governments along with public and private organizations will be used to make them "Reservoirs of Opportunity" for water recreation activities.

Cobalt's president said our greatest threat is Washington D.C. and our state capitals. The luxury tax and a possible ban on weekend boating are examples. He urged everyone to attend the annual legislative conference in Washington D.C. May 6-9, 2001 and stressed the importance of personal contact with our legislators.

James Gilmore

James Gilmore, co-author of The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Business is a Stage from Strategic Horizons delivered the keynote address.

Photo courtesy NMMA.
His message focused on the Experience Economy. He identified new ways of creating value.

He started with the premise, "Manufacturers put on a theater with goods and services as props to stage an experience for customers." and further developed the concept.

One key in staging experiences is to get people to spend more time with you.

We have observed a progression in the marketplace. We have moved from selling commodities to goods to services and now to experiences.

In the old days a birthday cake was made from scratch. The commodity contents were about 10 to 20 cents.

Society changed and we began purchasing the goods (cake mix) for 1 to 2 dollars.

Society changed again and we began special ordering birthday cakes for 10 to 20 dollars.

Now we are out sourcing the entire birthday party to a place, often for more than 100 dollars.

The price point moved up and order of magnitude at each step.

Each step demands a premium price because it is more highly valued by the consumer. If you back off and look at the birthday cake example, each step still has the same "scratch" ingredients in the cake, the premium is being charged for the experience.

Strip malls began as a collection of small stores, now they are almost totally taken over by services (video rentals, insurance, fast food, gyms. printers, etc. Many of these services sell experiences (video rental, gyms, fast food, etc).

Mini-vans enable the experience economy. Mothers of small children spend an average of 64 minutes a day shuttling children to experiences.

Most people hate going to the dentist. A dentist in Scottsdale AZ turned his waiting area into a "Flintstone like" motif with several interesting/fun things to view and lounge in. His appointment cancellations drastically decreased.

If you purchase a physical good after an experience it is a piece of memorabilia.

Coming in from the airport we saw the Orlando Watersports area providing cable towed skiing, no boats involved. They sell the experience.

Fodors has a new travel guide titled Adventures to Imagine. You do not actually go there, you just imagine them.

Beanie babies limited availability increased the value of the experience.

He provided 5 imperatives for the experience economy.

  1. End words in "ing" (Boat to Boating)
  2. Timesharing
  3. Directing workers to act
    They stage the experience, work is theater.

    A computer repair firm called the Geek Squad calls interviewees and tells them to meet them at a very remote hard to find place at 8am tomorrow. If they are there on time, they hire them. They figure if they have the skills and can find a difficult place on time, they can stage the experience.

  4. Paying labor
    Get people to pay you to help. Some people pay to work on shrimp boats, work in teddy bear stores, etc.

  5. E-experiences
    Create electronic boating experiences. One GPS ski rental package allows you to print out your route at the end of the day, complete with speeds and elevations.
    Webcams can create streaming video of boating activities.
The final challenge: What would be different if you charged admission?

RBBI Comments:

Like most authors on tour, he promoted his strongly book, but I thought the concept of "selling the experience" was very fitting for this audience. He presentation was very interesting and portions were specifically for this audience. His comments about the mini-van enabling the experience economy and water skiers purchasing boats not to go boating, but to go water skiing were perceptive. I also enjoyed the birthday cake example. It was easy for everyone to relate to. I hope to see increased efforts in the creation of great boating consumer oriented experiences.

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