Today’s story may be a bore fest to some, and a real eye opener to others. For us here at Woody Boater we wanted to know more about what was going on in the classic boat culture, so we did some digging around and have come to some off the cuff thoughts. This time we have charts and graphs. mmm So it must be real!
According to these charts that we see here, we can deduce that the classic boat passion is on a downward trend. This is not anything new of course, but when you see it all together, it tells a bigger story. We looked at Google Search trends, Coast Guard registrations and also compared classic boats to all boats, even classic cars.. The results are eye opening, comforting and opportunistic, all in one story.
Turns out Boating in general is down.. way down, in about the same rate as Classic boats.. And Classic cars I might add. So it may not be the boats, expense, or age.. Maybe its Mr Maslow. OK, OK, you say, who hell is this guy Maslow and where can I find him? Cause I am gonna give him my piece of mind!
Well.. You have seen the charts, but this one may tell us why all of the cool stuff is down.. Turns out.. according to Maslow, that we buy stuff, classic cars, boats jewelry, European jeans when we feel confident. And after taking a pounding like we all did the past 7 years, its still a little raw in the wallet area.. Look at our parents who would eat one grain of sugar at a time.. Thats us now.. Boats are fun, but eating and paying the mortgage is better. This is at least our me search here and a conclusion we have come to.. Now, 99% of solving a problem is understanding the problem. So in our mind, we are not alone and its a mind set issue, not a youth, age issue. Or at least as much as we thought.. It’s about confidence, and money.
So what do we do about it? Can we buck the trend? YOU BET! Alright I will admit I am a romantic and glass half full person. But think.. If the concern is confidence and fear.. Then we can market the classic boat culture to address those issues.. For example.
It costs less to classic boat than new boat! Really, think about it. You can buy a nice classic boat for in the $10-$30K range and go boating in style. Try that in a new boat. Sure you can get something, but for the cool factor, a classic boat is far far better, and in a couple years, has a resale..
Maintenance fears.. With a properly done boat, your cost of maintenance is not that bad, no worse than if you took care of a new boat in the same way. New technology in restorations makes classic boats very easy to take care of. And don’t even bring up classic plastic stuff. You can go cool boating under 10 K all day long! Go to the Cobalt dealer and offer 10K for a boat! Your gonna get a turd, but focus your search in the classic boat area, and you can be styling..
Are you being cheap? Yes and no. Classic cars, hot rods, all of that stuff was all driven by the cool, to value ratio. Think back, you bought a used something and tricked it out. Same with classic boats. You can fix them up yourself, and go boating.. So its doable!
Talk were they are listening and reading! This may be the one area that can be changed easily. For example, while the trend for classic boating is down, Woody Boater is up.. That’s right, UP.. Why? We are daily, free, online and about the fun of the culture. We are online and target boaters and future boaters in the age of 25-60 .
Reaching new boaters! Its gonna happen online and through an experience. Like Bill Baldwins great article in the latest issue of the Brass Bell. Taking folks out on a ride and drive is a sure bet. But for folks still thinking about a classic boat, they are googleing stuff. They are looking around online. You can find anything online now. 10 years ago, not so much, 20, forget it. But here is the thing, many of the shows and way we market the culture are 20 years old. We aint reaching anyone anymore the old way.. Trust me, as a 55 year old advertising professional, I feel this every day. My income and carrier depend on this stuff. If you are going to see growth in anything, online and digital is the way to go.. And the fastest growth part of all that is mobile.. Is your website mobile friendly? If not, sorry, change it! Are you talking about entry to the culture stuff on your website? The perfect first boat! This boat is ready to go, all fresh and guaranteed to go!
Is it to late to grow the culture? No.. The thing about timeless design is that it will always be rediscovered by future generations. But the issue at hand is a transference from memory to art. Thats the issue we face today. Boat shows are for memory, boat trips, are for the joy! And owning a classic boat is more like owning art, curating art, than it is preserving a memory. no one under the age of 50 recalls owning a boat like ours.. maybe a Donzi, or newer classic boat.. but we can not depend on that. We MUST bring it all to life!
Change your show to a tour! That’s right. Got a dying show on your hands? How about making it a fun two day tour! Sell the weekend as a tour of the history of the area..The show is a by product of everyone docking at the same place. Awards can be for things related to the using of the boats. Sell your destination on its reason to visit. The show, will sell to locals cause its there, but to bring new life to your event. Change it! This historic tour! This may be to radical to do for a local chapter.. But these times, we need to try new things. Get folks out on the water, be a living show.. And for the folks that want to come but don’t bring a boat. Fine, they can buy rides on a boat.
Embrace Change! Its a funny thing, change needs to happen in a culture of preservation. Change goes against everything we are hard wired to to think.. The boats can stay, but how we talk about them, sell them, buy them, show them and use them needs change!
Thanks for listening, of course your opinion here counts big time. I have found for every good idea there is another good one. The difference is we all need to try new stuff. Maybe just maybe, something fun will happen! So do your math and speak up!