By Gordon Patterson, Group MD, SMVGroup and PADI Master Instructor
As much as we would like to think that the challenges facing the scuba diving industry are unique, they’re not! All recreational activities are faced with the same dilemma; How to grow by attracting new entrants to our sport. Pure and simple, there’s never been a more competitive time for scuba diving!
If we are to attract the next generation of scuba divers to fuel our growth and carry the sport out to the broader population then we all need to adopt a new way of marketing. And it’s not about spending more marketing Rands but rather being smarter, understanding the needs of our target market, working together and learning lessons from other categories that have found solution. Without going through a marketing 101 here’s a thought.
One solution that I feel could unite not only store owners but forge customer relationships and build a powerful dive community can be found in the motor biking community / lifestyle.
The concept of a “rally” needs no introduction. It’s a powerful thought; it’s credible, people driven and authentic. Divers long to be part of a visible community as can be seen by the amount of dive site t-shirts sold and seen at dive locations. Divers are proud of their clubs and often wear club clothing. These are badges of experience and reflect the diver status and pride. If you think about it there’s really not much of a difference between bikers and divers. Eg:
- Both sports / pastimes can be as expensive as you want to make them.
- You travel.
- Meet people from all walks of life.
- Gain real authentic experiences.
- Constantly look for new items to either enhance the experience or set themselves apart from other.
And, like all rallies not only do they attract the faithful but also large numbers of people who either have an interest or aspire to the lifestyle. A bonus is that the media tend to be drawn to the concept of a rally.
A further aspect of a “rally” is that there is a well establish formula for success (with a host of marketing activations) that can be replicated and scaled to whatever size we as a community feel comfortable in managing.
Note from Peter Driessel, PADI Regional Manager. Gordon presented the above at a South African PADI Breakfast Club meeting. The dive centres involved will be meeting at 16th November 2012 to expand on this idea, stay posted to the blog for feedback.