Rebuilding Local Diving Communities
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Local Diving Communities are the backbone of the Diving Industry. Markets for our programs, products and services are created locally, nurtured locally and maintained locally. Our recreation grows because of Local Diving Communities that teach people to dive, sell them dive equipment, take them diving and keep them active in the recreation.
The Diving Industry got its start, as we know it today, about sixty (60) years ago. It was a different time, a different demographic and a different world. The recent challenges we are facing due to a global pandemic is making us all realize we have not given our recreation the nurturing it needs to stay relevant in the 21st Century. Nor have we kept up with the modern tools and technologies that enable businesses to better serve their customers. The diving business community is not operating on all cylinders but the passion for diving continues in the generations that have followed the first diving pioneers.
Before the older generation of Dive Industry Professionals turns over the baton to the next generation of Industry Leaders, we owe it to them to rebuild the recreation and restore it to its former glory. As Madonna has done countless of times, we need to reinvent ourselves for the 21st Century.
The Dive Industry Association is rebuilding the Diving Industry, Worldwide. Why now and why us? Primarily because we have a plan to right the industry and we have the support and encouragement of our Members and the International Dive Business Community. Why us? Because we want a better industry for all Divers – Dive Industry Professionals and Recreational Divers alike. We are tired of the industry fragmentation, the petty political bickering and the rush to vertically integrate dive companies in order to gain market share and industry control. Let’s face it. As an Industry, what we have done in the past is not working any more. The time to recreate the diving industry has come. And we all have a part to play in the rebuilding.
Dive Industry Association started this campaign to rebuild the diving industry with its first comprehensive direct mail campaign in over 7 years. Read our blog, dated April 14, 2020. I guess we were not the only ones who stopped using direct mail and got in the bad habit of only using electronic marketing? That was a hugh mistake and I believe we all paid a high price for that error in judgement. With Direct Mail, thanks to Modern Postcard, we started rebuilding Local Diving Communities on a State and Regional level. The center of each State Diving Community are the Local Dive Stores. Our current count is 1581, but we know that will change in the days to come. Each Dive Store belongs to a State Diving Community which is a part of a larger Regional Diving Community. Each Dive Store is invited to participate in growing its own Local Diving Community.
On Thursday we will conduct our second direct mail campaign to reach the 157 Dive Equipment Manufacturing Reps in our database. At the same time we will be inviting 443 Dive Equipment Manufacturers to join our rebuilding process. Again, these numbers will change as we verify the Manufacturing Companies and their Sales Agents.
The campaign to rebuild our Local Diving communities is multi-phased and is part of our total industry plan. The entire plan focuses on bringing Buyers and Sellers together to increase the market and grow the recreation. The primary focus of growing the market is to increase the sales of diving equipment, training and travel. We encourage all Dive Industry Professionals and Recreational Divers alike to follow our progress in unifying the diving industry through Local Diving Communities. Every Diver has a part to play in order to grow our recreation. No one is excluded and every Diver can be a part of this industry (recreation) rebirth.
So the first phase of this campaign is underway with bringing in Dive Stores, Sales Reps and Equipment Manufacturers. We will launch our second mailing on Thursday, May 7, 2020 to include equipment manufacturers and their Sales Agents. Phase 2 will include adding the Training Stakeholders to the mix and inviting the Local Training Reps and their Agencies to join and support their respective Local Diving Community. Phase 3 will include inviting local Travel companies to participate in the campaign to increase the sales of travel for their travel companies worldwide. With the completion of the first three phases to the program, the industry should have the beginning of new Local Diving Communities that focus on the sales of diving equipment, training and travel in order to grow the recreation by 1) Teaching people how to dive 2) Selling them dive equipment 3) Taking them diving 4) Keeping them active.
But our program of rebuilding the diving industry doesn’t stop there. After focusing on the sale of diving equipment, training and travel, there are many more phases to the rebuilding process. The industry has many different stakeholder groups and industries that specialize in diving, water sports and adventure travel. The final analysis will not be in completing the project but in seizing opportunities as we create them along the way.
This is going to be FUN – Rebuilding our Industry – The right way this time.