Boat Insurance Marketing and Challenges

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Marinas and Yacht Clubs: Chalenges.

Following extensive research, we were able to identify natural disasters, aging population and difficulties filling in open employment positions as three major challenges faced by marinas and yacht clubs in the US. We were also able to find details on each challenge involving who and what they affect and how businesses are overcoming these challenges.

Challenge 1: Difficulty Filling Open Employment Positions

  • While this challenge reflects across the industry, it particularly affects the dealers and manufacturers.
  • 66% of dealers and 70% of manufacturers within the boating industry struggle to fill in positions despite their being openings.
  • Experts attribute this to a lack of interest, negative perceptions on the industry by the youth and lack of skills from the workforce who build and service boat engines.
  • Maritime business such as SeaDek have taken steps to provide solutions to this crisis by introducing marine and maritime industry to youth at high school level.

Challenge 2: Aging Population

  • The aging population and obstacles to attracting millennials within marinas and yacht clubs is one of the largest challenges.
  • It is estimated that 7.39% of Americans below 29 years own a boat against 16.5% American boat owners aged between 30 and 64 years.
  • This poses as a challenge f marinas and sail clubs as amenities, services and facilities remain unused which could lead to general decline in boat ownership in the long-term.
  • To curb this, marinas have embarked on value addition to attract millenials and improve customer experience through services such as recreational rentals, concierge services and on site restaurants.
  • Moreover, Sail Clubs have launched initiatives to combat this challenge. Clubs such as the ONE 15 fifteen Brooklyn Sail Club have recently announced programs and opportunities for adolescents to learn sailing fundamentals at the New York harbor.

Challenge 3: Natural Disasters

Part
02
of three
Part
02

Boat Manufacturers and Boat Show Professionals: Challenges

Among the major challenges facing boat manufacturers and boat show professionals are labor shortage and the challenge of attracting the millennial market. Companies are adopting methods such as partnering with education institutions to nurture young talent, and offering customized training products to create a qualified workforce. To lure the millennial market, companies are increasing innovation in boat manufacture by incorporating conspicuous features such as bold colors, top-notch entertainment, making boats affordable, and making it possible for millennials to share and hire boats for short periods.

1. Labor Shortage

  • A special report on the boating industry states that "It's no exaggeration to say that this workforce crisis may be the biggest challenge facing the boating industry right now." It goes on to state that "... In the boating industry, there are plenty of jobs if only companies can find people to fill them."
  • The boating industry is doing better than the previous years, having three times more jobs in 2016 than in 2009, further worsening the workforce crisis. According to the report, there were at least 324,000 open jobs in February 2016.
  • Lack of adequate workforce negatively affects other areas of boat manufacture such as affordability, because some companies spend a lot of money on employee training. Also, without enough technical personnel, manufacturers cannot open up new markets.
  • In a 2016 survey, 66% of manufacturers were planning on adding to their workforce in 2017. Of those surveyed, 96% said that they had a hard time filling up vacant positions. According to another survey conducted by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) that included dealers from the US and Canada, 86% of respondents had unfilled positions mainly in the roles of service technicians. Further, the companies would need 31,000 employees by 2019.
  • According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) President Thom Dammrich, the interviewees who show up for jobs lack basic skills that manufacturers can nurture. Dammrich and Matt, the MRAA president, suggest that manufacturers should make or increase their training budgets and that the government should subsidize employment programs.
  • Manufacturers and dealers reported that some interviewees lacked basic interview etiquette, with some actively texting during interviews. Others, even after getting job offers, before or after the first day of work without notice.
  • Many CEOs in the manufacturing industry agree that students who are completing school lack adequate training to handle technical jobs, while others do not consider venturing into manufacturing. Matt states that "the millennials...don't want to get their hands dirty, they don't want to work hard, they want management-level pay structures, but don't want to work the hours."

Businesses Tackling the Crisis

Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) Youth Education

  • RIMTA offers a marketing internship during summer, as well as a boat-building program. The boat-building program trains students between the ages of 14-16 in local high schools, focusing on the technical aspects of completing a hands-on boat-building project. It also includes other non-technical elements such as developing leadership, mentorship, and exposing students to careers available in the industry.
  • The association offers stipends to the students and also ensures that they engage in fun activities to improve learning outcomes. The students also visit companies to get a feel of how things are on the ground.
  • RIMTA also partners with the Rhode Island Department of Education to help incorporate its pre-apprenticeship program into high schools so that students are exposed to the industry early. Other activities that the association is doing in high schools include posting jobs and making presentations.

Yamaha and Volvo Penta Training Existing Techs

  • Developing employees is also crucial to ensuring that they stick in the industry for long. Yamaha, an engine manufacturer, is providing its own with tech training using its Yamaha Service Skills Training Program, which started in 2010.
  • The training program is for those with basic technical background, including those who have worked at Yamaha as boat washers, and graduates of technical programs. The class, which also takes place online, includes entry-level skills about service and maintenance at Yamaha.
  • Volvo Penta has trainings scheduled to cover its product range. The company determines the type of training needed depending on the geographic location. For example, some areas have gas engines, others D4 engines, while other areas need drive classes.
  • "Dealerships can address the workforce shortage problem by utilizing manufacturer programs and actively seeking local kids who may be interested in the career. This means getting involved with local high schools -technical or otherwise- and introducing the industry to young people."

2. An Aging Demographic and Disinterest in Boat Hobbies by Millennials

  • According to an interview of two marine brokerage professionals in January 2019, "one of the largest challenges facing the industry...is the aging demographic and obstacle of attracting millennials to the hobby." Manufacturers and dealers are striving to access the 18-34-year-old market.
  • According to a 2017 survey of boat manufacturers among other industry players, 66% of those surveyed expressed concerns about their inability to reach millennial buyers. 31% of the respondents expressed concerns about aging buyers, which is an 11% rise from the initial survey conducted in 2016.
  • Possible solutions that the respondents presented include increased education and training, boat sharing, and having fractional boat ownership models. The president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Thom Dammrich, stated that "boat rentals, boat clubs, boat sharing — are ways that we are working on getting millennials on the water...if we get them hooked on boating now, sooner or later they'll want to buy a boat."
  • From the survey, millennials are concerned about the cost of the boat including storage and maintenance, while others grapple with student loan debt. Most millennials live in cities where there are few opportunities to boat.
  • "There's one problem the industry acknowledges it can't fix: Many millennials are saddled with college debt and still living at home. They are marrying and buying homes later, and some are in no rush to buy a car, much less a discretionary item like a boat. While some models can go for as little as $15,000, prices can easily jump to $95,000 with all the bells and whistles."

Businesses Tackling the Crisis

Boat Clubs and Boat Rentals

  • "John Giglio, CEO of Freedom Boat Club, a boat sharing club with 117 locations across the country, including Chicago, has seen his millennial membership grow from 5 percent five years ago to 20 to 30 percent last year."
  • "Millennials, in general, have a rap as a group that doesn't want to own anything. While baby boomers focus on ownership as a status symbol, millennials are content with having access to boats or cars because the endgame is usage. If they have access to it, they don't necessarily need to own it."
  • Boatsetter, a boat rental, offers rentals in several cities, including Seattle and Chicago, from as low as about $200 per day.

Companies Manufacturing More Appealing and Innovative Products for Millennials

  • Mastercraft creates bold-colored boats with some of its sporty models. Its affordable wakesurfing boats are also attracting millennials.
  • The CEO of Correct Craft, a US company that builds powerboats, had this to say about wake surfing boats: "We have a wide range of customers. They may be parents or grandparents, but the purchase influencers in the family are often younger."
  • Skipperbud makes boats more affordable for millennials, with entry prices as low as $16,000. The company also allowed monthly payments of between $150 and $170 for less expensive boats.
  • Marine entertainment manufacturing companies such as Fusion Marine Entertainment are coming up with innovative ways to make boat entertainment technology match up to that found in cars. "Marine audio and entertainment manufacturers strive to create an experience unlike any other out on the boat. Whether on the OEM or aftermarket side, they are working to imagine a better-integrated boat, to keep boaters happy and above all, keep people out on the water."
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Boat Insurance Providers

BoatU.S., Geico, State Farm, and Progressive have created content marketing campaigns to promote their boat insurance products. Many of these campaigns are specific to television and the internet using videos, images, and catchy slogans.

BoatU.S.

  • BoatU.S. provides marine insurance coverage for recreational boaters in the United States. They keep customers engaged via their social media presence on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • BoatU.S. implemented a content marketing ad campaign promoting their app with the slogan, "We're with you on the water." They created video content as well as desktop image ads with the same slogan.

Geico

  • Geico offers boat insurance to owners of personal watercraft operating on United States waterways.
  • Geico uses TV advertisements to market to potential customers via television and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Their content is comedic, entertaining, and attention-grabbing.
  • For their most recent video ads, the marketing slogan is, "It only gets better when you switch and save with Geico."

State Farm

  • State Farm offers boat insurance covering property, liability, and medical risks related to boat ownership.
  • State Farm released a TV video advertisement in 2019 with the slogan "Here to Help Life Go Right."
  • The same slogan in image form has been widely used across their insurance offerings as desktop ads.

Progressive

  • Using their advertising mascot, Flo, Progressive created an ad campaign with the slogan "Boat protection people love. Now that's progressive! Call or click today." The ad aired on TV until 2015.
  • From 2016-2019, Progressive created an ad campaign for internet platforms using the slogan, "All Savings on Deck!"

Research Strategy

After referencing lists of boat insurance providers in the United States, we began by searching advertising aggregators and social media platforms for their advertising campaigns. The companies with recent content marketing campaigns related to their boat insurance offerings have been included above.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "By introducing high school students to the exciting and promising careers that exist in manufacturing—and specifically the marine industry—young people are getting an in-depth introduction into a field that they may not have previously considered."
Quotes
  • "Labor shortages, especially in service and manufacturing, are hampering industry growth"
  • "“Manufacturing in general still doesn’t have a good image,” Dammrich said. “Kids don’t think about going into manufacturing.”"
  • "The majority of those employees (59 percent) were from the service department, while 86.6 percent of those open service department positions were for service technicians. Overall, 86 percent of respondents had multiple positions unfilled."
  • "Clearly, there is a skilled labor shortage in the marine industry, especially in the service and manufacturing sectors. The reasons are varied, from lack of interest to insufficient training programs."
Quotes
  • "ONE°15 Brooklyn Sail Club has announced several unique opportunities for teenagers to learn the fundamentals of sailing on the New York Harbor. Afterschool Sailing Programs are officially open for enrollment for the fall term, with spring and summer bookings available soon."
Quotes
  • "This leads into the next amenity that adds value when we consider one of the largest challenges facing the industry, which is the aging demographic and obstacle of attracting millennials to the hobby."
Quotes
  • "Waterfront areas in the ritzy Coconut Grove neighborhood resembled an outdoor ship wreck museum. Residents posed for pictures and shot video of sailboats cast ashore at a local park and a 110-foot yacht that plowed into the dock of a marina."
Quotes
  • "The affects hurricanes have on the yachting industry are cyclical, just like the hurricanes themselves. These affects can be predicted, witnessed, and fixed, just like they are after every major storm. To discuss how hurricanes affect the yacht industry, we have focused on the three main categories of change."
Quotes
  • "This industry, which the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association says generates approximately $11 billion for Florida each year, is left to pick up the pieces and start on the road to recovery. "
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "It's no exaggeration to say that this workforce crisis may be the biggest challenge facing the boating industry right now."
  • "In the boating industry, there are plenty of jobs if only companies can find people to fill them."
  • "The Millennials...don't want to get their hands dirty, they don't want to work hard, they want management level pay structures, but don't want to work the hours."
Quotes
  • "one of the largest challenges facing the industry, which is the aging demographic and obstacle of attracting millennials to the hobby."
Quotes
  • "Dealerships can address the workforce shortage problem by utilizing manufacturer programs and actively seeking local kids who may be interested in the career. This means getting involved with local high schools -technical or otherwise- and introducing the industry to young people."
Quotes
  • "There's one problem the industry acknowledges it can't fix: Many millennials are saddled with college debt and still living at home. They are marrying and buying homes later, and some are in no rush to buy a car, much less a discretionary item like a boat. While some models can be had for as little as $15,000, prices can easily jump to $95,000 with all the bells and whistles. "
  • "Boat rentals, boat clubs, boat sharing — are ways that we are working to get millennials on the water...if we get them hooked on boating now, sooner or later they'll want to buy a boat."
  • "John Giglio, CEO of Freedom Boat Club, a boat sharing club with 117 locations across the country, including Chicago, has seen his millennial membership grow from 5 percent five years ago to 20 to 30 percent last year."
  • "Millennials, in general, have a rap as a group that doesn't want to own anything. While baby boomers focus on ownership as a status symbol, millennials are content with having access to boats or cars because the endgame is usage. If they have access to it, they don't necessarily need to own it."
Quotes
  • "Marine audio and entertainment manufacturers strive to create an experience unlike any other out on the boat. Whether on the OEM or aftermarket side, they are working to imagine a better integrated boat, to keep boaters happy and above all, keep people out on the water."
Quotes
  • "We have a wide range of customers. They may be parents or grandparents, but the purchase influencers in the family are often younger."