The Case for Traditional Media in Marine Marketing

Dock Master Award
The Quick Step Dock Master Award – photo provided by Atlantic Yacht Basin, Inc.

marketing planWhy boating businesses should still be using traditional marketing techniques along with social media and online marketing

Traditional marketing can be used by marine marketers in the boating industry.

Nowadays, boating businesses continue to hear about how important a strong presence on social media is for a business in the boating industry to utilize. A majority of this push is because of the usage of mobile devices, which cater to social media. 91% of the adult population of the U.S. owns a cellphone.

New media such as social marketing is incredibly important, but all too often, businesses are letting alternative and traditional marketing platforms fall to the wayside. Social marketing must be utilized alongside traditional marketing.

special offer: Black Friday in July Sale - save on dinghy boats, motors, electronics, life jackets & MORE!
west marine black friday july sale

Targeting Audiences

This piece by Rachel Johnson “Safe or Sorry: How Does Social Media Influence Recreational Boating?” (Issue 50, p. 86-91) discusses the importance of appealing and targeting to all age groups and generations of boaters. If those marketing in the boating industry focus a majority of their energy on younger generations, who prefer social marketing, older generations may start to fall to the wayside.

A majority of boating businesses want to see the following: an increase in the number of people who enjoy and discover boating, a positive message spread to communities about water based activities (such as safety in the water), more business, and to motivate people to involve themselves in the boating industry.

Traditional vs. New Media

Social media is a fantastic way for marine marketers to connect with the boating community. Pinterest accounts with photos, Twitter and Facebook engagements, and the like go a long way and have great return. However, traditional media and outbound marketing techniques, such as print and magazine ads or radio and television ads are still useful. The argument for traditional media is the same as it is for new media (e.g. social media, etc.). Both social marketing and traditional media are used constantly in daily routines, and each reach vast audiences.

The Argument for Traditional Media

For one, social media marketing has accepted the use of paid-ads on networks, which grew from print ads. Magazines and newspapers are seen and viewed everywhere. Most people expect them in line at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, and even in restrooms. Radios are still incredibly popular. People likely have their radio on at some point in the day or week. Each new car produced still includes AM and FM radio channels. People listen to radios driving to and from work, while doing yard work, and when their iPods have broken.

Finally, and most importantly, there is the television. Which is likely viewed most often. The general public sees television ads regularly, and not just on regular cable and specialty channels. Paid internet TV services have television ads. For example, take services such as Hulu (free) and Hulu Plus. Each has ads, and Plus (the paid subscription) merely has fewer ads instead of no ads. Even winning a free year of Hulu Plus won’t exempt you from advertisements. Considering that Netflix has been testing the use of ads on study groups, one might expect a form of television ads coming from Netflix too.

Additionally, the importance of creativity, which spawned from traditional media, is equally as important. All too often, audiences see the same thing time and time again. Online marketing campaigns tend to repeat the same thing over and over. Currently, listicles (articles or pieces that are in list format) are all the rage in marketing. Each piece of content produced by marine marketers should either improve a previous piece of content or take a creative and new approach to a topic.

Take examples such as the following. This page on “Custom Paint Jobs” is one of a kind and compiles a variety of paint jobs, opposed to just one or two based on specific themes. Or this piece on boat music, which includes links to each of the songs listed differs because many music listicles on the internet fail to include links or Spotify lists. Target audiences using personal videos that give them further information, positive reviews of your company, or entertainment, similar to the video below.


Effective Marketing Campaigns for Marine Marketers

Yes. Social media and inbound marketing is important if one expects to see business improve. Nonetheless, marine marketers must recognize that in order to have an effective and efficient marketing campaign, traditional media must be used alongside new media. Otherwise, there may be a large chunk of audiences that marketing campaigns may not be targeting.

Dani Barnack

View posts by Dani Barnack
Dani is an avid traveler and boatswoman. Originally from Virginia, she works Communications for Atlantic Yacht Basin in the Chesapeake Bay area. If you can't find her along the ICW, she is likely hiking Shenandoah, adding Asian flair to her cooking, traveling to far away lands, or spending quality time with her dog, Oreo. Smooth sailing y'all!


  1. Thaddeus B. KubisJune 16, 2015

    Marketers need to look to Marketing not as new process each and every time a new tool, media or channel in developed. We all should look to marketing as a chain of communication based tools, some links we replace, some we use less, some we use more and yes some new links are added as valid, viable tools are introduced. Most importantly is that ALL media, channels used are targeted to the prospect or client and are viewed by the prospect or client as being of value to them. Legacy, new or emerging marketing tools MUST be of value and importance to the prospect or client and the content and context must be fully integrated, be interactive, be relevant and based on metrics and measurement.

  2. Dani BarnackJune 16, 2015

    Well said Thaddeus. All marketing tools have unique values and a tendency to be more successful when used in sync.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top