You are here now

Andy Adams

July 6, 2021

Life doesn’t give us a “You are here now” marker on the floorplan map of life the way they do in huge shopping malls and I’m feeling as though by the time we fully grasp where we are now, it may be too late to really capitalize on the opportunity.

I received some positive feedback on last week’s Editor’s Message when I wrote about the marketing concept, Lifetime Value of a Customer and suggested some customer marketing activities that we could do now, even when we are faced with product shortages.

I concluded by saying that while selling a new boat is a profitable goal, creating a customer for life is almost certain to be more valuable. I pointed out that especially with so many new cottage owners and new boaters entering the market, this summer might offer a different, but more valuable customer development opportunity than we have seen in a very long time.

I think I really understated this.

In his book The Practice of Management, marketing guru Peter Drucker declared that there is only one purpose of a business: to create a customer.

It’s now generally, and almost globally accepted that the pandemic has driven large numbers of people to seek out activities and living options that work around the lockdown pandemic conditions. We all feel that boating has really benefitted, but it may be far bigger than just that.

Across Canada this spring we saw wild increases in home prices and for more than a year now country homes and especially waterfront properties have escalated wildly. There may have been a significant number of people, especially among those nearing retirement, who had been dreaming of retiring to the cottage, but who were not there yet.

Then, the looming threat of inflation, the rapidly rising real estate values and the unprecedented government stimulus including artificially and historically low interest rates, may have combined to accelerate people’s retirement plans.

Looking at Canada’s demographics and especially the baby-boomers who were thinking about retirement, the pandemic brought the unexpected option to work from home. Since the office was closed anyway, home could be anywhere you had good internet. The work from home lifestyle seems to have worked out fairly well for many companies and for those prople nearing retirement, may have provided an unexpected “soft landing”. Some can now continue from the cottage or ease out without the big crash of sudden retirement.

Especially as the value of their city homes were sent skyrocketing by younger families who needed their own work from home space, the timing was perfect to cash out and head to the lake.

This is probably not nearly over yet. On their website on June 30th, Bloomberg notes investor optimism in the global economic recovery is increasing. A big contributing factor to this is the bipartisan agreement reached for U.S. President Joe Biden’s roughly US$1-trillion infrastructure deal. The plan will see new investments in transit, bridges, roads and the electrical grid, among other things, that will bolster U.S. growth.

Stimulating the U.S. economy so dramatically, virtually assures us that America will be the engine driving a new wave of global prosperity as the COVID measures are lifted.

So, two points – first, building on the Lifetime Value of a Customer concept is that even without much inventory to sell right now, there is a huge future wave of customers and you need to develop a relationship with them to secure your fair share. Second, things may be way better right now than we realize…but there’s no clear map to show us.

Andy Adams – Editor

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