Integrating All The Pieces Into One –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional
My Grandmother used to say, “Too soon old, too late smart.” I think I resemble that remark, but I have to add “It’s better late, then never.” I’ve been working in the diving industry for over fifty years now and I have met so many talented people in our community throughout the years. We all had great ideas, or thought we did, but the means we needed to express our thoughts and share them with others, didn’t exist at the time. Not like they do now.
In the old days, before the digitization of images, computerized graphics and streaming electronic messages, all we had was a handful of old books about Scuba Diving, Skin Diver Magazine and The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau on TV. And even though Dive Shops at the time didn’t have much marketing capability, Cousteau sparked an interest in our recreation and the general public fell in love with scuba diving and the marine environment. Scuba diving as a recreation boomed and an interest in the world’s oceans was born.
The Dive Industry Association has been “Building a Better Industry, One Member at a Time.” for nineteen years now. Four Hundred and Four Member Businesses have joined our industry network and worked together to increase their sales. They knew that if businesses wanted to be successful, they had to continually focus on being more professional, productive and profitable. These early pioneers believed they could learn more from networking with their peers than by going it alone. We now know that working closely with your peers is also what makes an industry grow.
Over the years we learned about and hopefully mastered new marketing techniques and vehicles that enable us to formulate and send messages to prospect clients who have the need, desire and means to obtain the major products of the diving industry – dive equipment, training and travel products. We believe that a message the general public will accept and act upon is: 1) Learn to Dive 2) Buy Your Gear 3) Go Diving 4) Stay Active. We believe that if we learn how to network and cooperate with our peers in the diving industry, our businesses will become more successful and the industry will grow.
So we have our work cut out for us. We must master the tools that capture the sounds, images and actions of our recreation. We have to consistently refine our abilities of editing and producing our messages to our potential customers. We need to apply our knowledge and understanding of the modern marketing vehicles that deliver our messages and we have to develop and maintain business relationships with our customers and clients in order to recommend and provide programs, products and services that are in their best interest to have. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and Integrating all these pieces into one strategy is the the way to do it.
For the past two years we have been researching and writing white papers that tackle the issue of bringing Buyers & Sellers together to increase sales, increase customer satisfaction and grow the industry. Our first white paper, Uniting the Diving Industry, gave us the road-map for putting Industry Professionals on the same page, communicative wise. The white paper we fished yesterday, The Dive Industry Association Membership Manuel & Guide, gave us the step-by-step guide to what we do and why. Now it’s time to put our ideas to the test and show you what happens when we work together to bring Buyers & Sellers together.
Two weeks from now we will take part in a FAM Trip to introduce a New Dive Resort to a group of 35 Retail Dive Centers and Dive Travel Specialists. We put together a SWAG Gift Bag together for the Retailers and the Resort Operators that includes environmentally safe suntan lotions and shampoos, natural inspect repellents, sunglasses, custom mouthpieces, and a number of new environmentally correct products and programs. This trip will be more than merely introducing 35 potential buyers to a new seller of travel. It will be about working with matching new buyers to new sellers with new products and unique vacation / recreation concepts. With our pre-trip, on-trip and post-trip media campaign, this 5 day FAM Trip will be about introducing the power of networking and cooperation, the industry has never seen before.