Trade Only Product Preview 2016 : Page 90

SPECIAL BRANDEDCONTENT SECTION MDCE 2016: Your Source for Innovation By Liz Walz, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas The most successful marine retailers share one thing in common: innovation. But not the kind you’re thinking of. In the boating industry, we use the word “innovation” to talk about boat design, engine technology and the latest in marine electronics. But rarely do we consider the retail innovation required to excel in key areas like sales, marketing, leadership and marine service. If our industry is going to triumph over its competitors and thrive, that needs to change. Given the pace at which the needs and desires of our prospects, customers and employees are evolving, innovation in areas like hiring, customer service, reputa-tion management, efficiency, closing tech-niques, digital media, and company culture is essential. The good news? It’s already happening. Driven to make themselves and their busi-nesses better, retailers are constantly look-ing for ways to flip around old ideas to make them new, customize others’ strategies to solve their own challenges and refine their processes. Leader: Innovative Approaches to Hyper-Growth Leadership.” “As a leader, it’s your responsibility to prioritize reinvention,” said MDCE Opening Keynote Speaker Josh Linkner. “The market no longer leaves room for me-too players, a principle that applies to both companies and individuals. Remarkable category-of-one products, services, and processes are the driving force of our fist-fighting econo-my. The choices are clear: disrupt or be dis-rupted.” To the extent that this philosophy applies to marine retailing, so too does it apply to conference organizing. The 2015 MDCE was one of the largest and most successful shows yet, attracting 1,147 marine industry professionals and garnering the highest Net Promoter Score in the event’s history. MDCE 2016 in Orlando will feature over 100 exhibits. Continuing to improve and grow Companies that inspire world-class loyalty receive Net Promoter Scores of 75-80 per-cent, and in 2015, marine retail attendees’ ratings of the show resulted in a score of 85.87. Yet the MDCE team has been hard at work to improve the event from top to bot-tom. “No matter how successful you are, no matter how many awards you’ve won, no matter how great last quarter’s earnings may have been, you are risking it all if you expect your winning streak to automatically continue,” writes Linkner in his book, The Road to Reinvention. So how do you put a fresh spin on what by all accounts is already a wildly success-ful annual event? To answer that question requires a bit of − wait for it − innovation! The move to December It starts with brand new dates. Scheduled to kick-off a full two weeks later in the cal-endar than previous years, the date change was designed to avoid dealers’ and exhibi-tors’ conflicts with hunting season, winter-ization, and other industry shows. If early registration and exhibit numbers are any indication, the strategy has worked. After setting a record for retail registrations during the month of April, the strong pace has continued throughout the summer, putting MDCE 2016 more than 13 percent ahead of last year’s robust retail numbers. Prepare for MDCE 2016 The 2016 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo (MDCE) , Dec. 5-8 in Orlando, was built specifically to feed that drive, from its 30-plus educational sessions and plentiful networking events to the more than 100 ex-hibits that fill its Expo Hall. In fact, the topic of innovation takes center stage from the outset with an MDCE Open-ing Keynote titled, “The Gravity-Defying In addition, booth space at MDCE has been filling up fast, setting the show up for one of its biggest years yet. The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Boating Industry magazine jointly produce MDCE, and they attribute the show’s momentum this year to its ability to create meaningful change for all partici-pants. “Success can intoxicate even the most dis-ciplined leaders and trick them into thinking their advantage is sustainable,” explained Linkner. “Don’t drink that moonshine. Your responsibility as a leader is to deeply instill within your organization the understanding that even its most profound successes are only temporary delights. Market conditions change faster than runway models change 90 tradeonlytoday.com October 2016

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