Since its introduction and adoption in Canada in January 2006, 26 Canadian dealers have earned the prestigious Marine Five Star Dealer Certification (MFSDC).

Launched in 2006 as one of the core strategic programs of Grow Boating, Inc., MFSDC is built on a stringent set of standards to enhance the retail sales and service experience for customers, with the goal to ultimately promote and spur industry growth. MFSDC has announced two recent developments including a North American marketing blitz, now underway that targets the boat-buying consumer.

Funded in part by a contribution from GE Capital, the new marketing effort includes an online advertising campaign, public relations and communications, social media, and a strategic tie-in with Discover Boating through the successful website. The marketing efforts promote and raise consumer awareness of the benefits of buying from Marine Five Star Certified Dealers.

“This integrated marketing effort allows MFSDC to reach a wider audience of boat buyers to communicate the advantages of buying from a certified dealer,” said Terry Leitz, MFSDC director.

The online advertising campaign will feature banner ads placed on such sites as, and a mix of top Bonnier media websites. Online impressions are expected to reach 14 million for the six-month campaign, which runs through August.

Discover Boating will support MFSDC as part of a tie-in with featuring MFSDC on its home page, as well as in its popular boat detail pages and boat selector tool. In addition, MFSDC will be featured within the Discover Boating e-newsletter that reaches boating consumers nationwide.

MFSDC also announced new research results that demonstrated how certified dealers outperformed non-certified dealers in every category of the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) surveys.

Boat buyers were asked to rank their dealer’s performance in a variety of sales and service areas, including overall satisfaction, sales performance, sales personnel, sales reputation and the dealer’s ability to properly demonstrate the boat, equipment and features. In every category, customers were more satisfied with their experiences with certified dealers compared to their non-certified counterparts.

Said certified Canadian dealer Rick Buchanan of Dockside Marine, located in Kelowna, British Columbia, “The certification process forces us to re-examine our business processes, and helps us to generate new ideas and identify areas for improvement. Feedback from the Five Star administrator during the review process has also been excellent because that person provides the dealer with their broad industry perspective and strong business background. We get their perspective on everything from our website, to our facilities and our organizational structure. The confidential employee survey is another worthwhile component as it provides a good analysis of our employee relations performance. This alone delivers a value that exceeds our cost of participation.”

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