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MRAA Hosts Industry Leaders for Dealer Week Strategy Session

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas fine-tuned its vision and strategy for Dealer Week, The MRAA Conference & Expo, through a collaborative strategy meeting with nearly 60 leaders from around the marine industry.

Featuring a hand-selected group of dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and MRAA staff, the day-and-a-half Dealer Week strategy session was moderated by event experience design consultant David Lutz of Velvet Chainsaw at the Tampa Convention Center, home to Dealer Week 2019. The cohort included members of the MRAA board, Young Leaders Advisory Council and Conference Transition Committee, as well as some of the MRAA Annual Conference’s largest supporting manufacturers and suppliers.

“With Dealer Week we want, first and foremost, to broaden the impact that our world class educational programming can have on the marine industry,” said Matt Gruhn, President of the MRAA. “There was a great deal of passion from each of the dealers, our partners and our staff for taking ownership in driving greater dealer attendance and ensuring that we reach a larger audience with MRAA’s array of tools and resources available through Dealer Week.”

Companies that participated in the strategy conversation include: ARI Network Services, Austin Boats & Motors, Bennington Marine, Blue Springs Marine, Boats Group, BRP Marine, Brunswick Corp., Buckeye Marine, CDK Global Recreation, Clark Marine, Cleveland Boat Center, Correct Craft, Family Boating Centers, Galati Yacht Sales, Global Marine Insurance, Gordy’s Lakefront Marine, Hagadone Marine Group, Hoffmaster’s Marina, Infinity Woven Products, MarineMax, Inc., Mount Dora Boating Center, National Marine Distributors Association, National Marine Lenders Association, Nautique Boats, One Water Marine, Port Harbor Marine, Priority One Financial Services, Quality Boats, Reed’s Marine, Smoker Craft, Inc., Spader Business Management, Strong’s Marine, Taylor’s South Shore Marina, Volvo Penta and Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance.

Day One of the strategy session kicked off with a presentation on 21st Century conference experiences, before working groups began discussions and presentations on Dealer Week’s target attendee and their needs, challenges, jobs, pains and gains. That afternoon, the group discussed and brainstormed ideas for differentiating and making the Dealer Week expo experience more effective for dealers and exhibitors alike.

On Day 2, the MRAA team presented its vision for Dealer Week through the perspective of an attendee journey map. The group discussed the vision for each part of the journey and provided feedback and direction for how MRAA and its partners can work together to enhance it further to make it more rewarding and impactful. The meeting ended with an overview of Dealer Week’s marketing plan, the creation of a strategy task force and a vision for maximizing the impact that Dealer Week can have on the marine industry.

“For our team and all of the participants of this session, the focus was on creating greater opportunities for our dealers and our industry,” says Liz Walz, Vice President and Director of Education at the MRAA. “We’re proud of what our annual conference has accomplished over the last decade, but we know that through Dealer Week, we can accomplish more by collaborating with this group of leaders and by keeping our focus on building a great experience for our dealers.”

About Dealer Week For more than 40 years, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has delivered world-class educational programming to dealers, retailers and service operations that power the boating industry and serve today’s boaters. Dealer Week evolves as MRAA’s rebranded and reimagined annual conference and expo, a profoundly new event experience designed to engage, energize and empower the dealer community. The MRAA envisions a brighter future for marine retail, and Dealer Week is the preeminent means for bringing that vision to life. Learn more at

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas At the MRAA, our team believes that for the marine industry to find growth and success, the dealers on the front lines of our industry must first find success. With that in mind, we work to create a strong and healthy boating industry by providing dealers with tools, resources and educational programs — such as, the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program, and Dealer Week, The MRAA Conference & Expo — and by representing those businesses with a powerful voice. For more information, visit

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