It’s only August and the season is already starting to wind down. Companies are planning their annual sales meeting and product managers are busy getting their samples in for the new season. Training and Travel people are taking their last minute vacations before the DEMA Show.
On the industry front, it’s all about DEMA Show from here on out. It’s like the industry has forgotten about the needs of the people in the trenches – the Retail Dive Centers, the Dive Operators and the Diving Instructors. My take on this is that if you aren’t servicing your current customers now, in the peak of their busy season, why are you making plans to create new products and services to show them at DEMA?
We need to create a new rhythm for the industry. The first step is to convince the retail business community that they are the ones who have the power to control the industry. They are the people who write the checks to buy the goods and services from their vendors that keeps the industry flowing. Without retail buyers, we would be a “Hobby Industry” and not a real for-business industry. That doesn’t mean that the hobby part of recreational diving is bad. In fact, it’s a good thing that needs to be developed in proper perspective. But the core of this market has to be the full-time, professional, retail enterprise that invests time, money and manpower on a full-time basis, and serves as the link between the producers of diving goods and service and the consumers of diving goods and services. It’s called channels of distribution. From conception to consumption.
The second step in creating an industry rhythm that works for all of us is to establish an industry schedule in terms of pre-season, in-season and post season activity. The more segments of the industry that we get on the same wave length, the smoother our industry will operate between the buyers and sellers.
The third and most important step is to integrate all the sectors of the industry, each doing their part in bringing goods and services to the general public.
The Dive Industry Association has been working with a few groups in the industry who are looking at the recreational diving market from a regional perspective. We call it DIVE LOCAL. Of course, there are many places throughout the world that have a high concentration of divers, diving businesses, and diving activity. It’s our job to identify the various DIVE LOCAL groups, establish contact with the regional players, promote activities in each region, and communicate their activities to the scuba diving buying public. There is strength in numbers and more business opportunities available than if these businesses tried to market on their own. It’s our way of growing and defragmenting the market.
A good example of focusing on pockets of high-diver concentration is the work we are doing to promote Saint Lucia in the south eastern Caribbean. We recently started to work with the the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. They have a very active Tourist Board that promotes their tropical island destination. Just in Scuba Diving alone, we noticed that the Saint Lucia Tourist Board along with 13 Dive Operators, 18 Hotels, 1 Dive Association and 1 Dive Travel Wholesaler (Roatan Charter) were working together on their Dive Festival Saint Lucia event to showcase their beautiful island to scuba divers, worldwide. Now, that’s what I called cooperative marketing.
Good cooperative marketing grows local activity. Good local activity grows the industry. Good industries succeed and grow. It’s time to build up local diving communities.
Would you like to see how DIVE LOCAL can help build your business and your local diving community? See us at Dema Show – Booth 4225.