Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show

By Mark Jerkins
Vice President of Tinsley Creative

blog-laud-photo-webI recently traveled down to the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show to represent one of our clients in the marine industry. The show itself is labeled as the largest in-water boat show in the world, and it is indeed massive to say the least. The show spans multiple locations including the Broward County Convention Center and the Bahia Mar Resort to name two. Boats, yachts, engines, accessories, all packed into a beautiful setting and great weather.

If you’ve never been to this particular show, it’s a little like walking into your first toy store as a kid. There’s color everywhere, all kinds of cool looking signs/packaging everywhere you look, and rows upon rows of “toys”. You can’t help but be in complete awe. You want to see, touch and play with everything out there.

At the end of the day, this is an outdoor consumer show. If you’re an exhibitor, you’re amongst your competition in the closest space imaginable. Because Show Management wants the experience to be consumer friendly (as well it should be), they group competitors together since a typical buyer is shopping within that market segment for something specific. So, you look left, right and across your dock space, and there is your competition. With the shiniest of new models of course. And you’re busy trying to make yours shine brighter than theirs.

As a client representative, I get behind-the-scenes access while the final touches are being put on the boat show itself. It’s amazing to walk the docks the night before the show opens and to be amongst all the chaos (thinking to myself there’s no way they are going to open tomorrow), and then to return the next morning to see it pristine and ready for customers like it was that way all along. As I walked the docks, I’m bombarded with flying flags, corporate banners, videos playing on TVs, music setting the mood, posters, big logo signs, social media updates, etc., just any and all marketing material flying at you from every direction. You can’t take five steps into the show without feeling drenched in marketing. So many people vying for your attention in such tight quarters.

As a marketer, you know what you’re about to encounter, but it’s a great reminder that it’s so important to have the right team on your side that can create and implement not only great looking materials, but also proper strategy to set your marketing efforts far apart from your competition.

You may not think it’s always a situation where your competition is right across the dock from you, or right next door like at a consumer show…but they are closer than you think. In today’s interactive world a potential customer can jump from your website to your competitors in just a few key strokes in a Google search box…so in essence your competition is always right next to you (as far as ease of reach). But are they right next to you in quality of product, customer service, or brand reputation? If you’ve got the right team managing your brand, then you’ll find yourself separating from and above your competition.

Mark Jerkins

Mark Jerkins

vice president – account services/media relations at Tinsley Creative
Mark brings 15+ years of expertise in numerous branding and marketing initiatives to the team. Mark’s experience includes brand consulting, public relations, media planning & buying, social media and copywriting in numerous industries including marine, software technology, insurance, residential and commercial real estate, food and beverage, healthcare, fragrance and law to name a few. Bringing a sharp awareness and common sense approach to marketing objectives – as well as a successful track record of consultation, promotion and implementation of numerous campaigns throughout his career – Mark has become an integral partner for his clients.
Mark Jerkins

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