Once we hear "Congratulations, you are a certified instructor", wouldn't it be prudent to also say, "You are now unleashed upon a new world of surviving in new competitive market”
Being certified is a start, being success is continuing effort and will never be finished. Becoming an instructor means you must have dreamed of owning your own SCUBA business, either as an independent instructor or as a dive shop owner, yet one might not have heard countless tales of incredible expenses, little support, nonexistent profits and regular failures?
Most dive businesses follow a business model created over 50 years ago, a sad reality of a traditional business model that is in need to of branding and marketing innovation to evolve in order to survive.
Branding in dive industry extends onto Identifying and reaching your client you might not know, and it is only half the battle. Dive business should be mastery in both skill and new knowledge with regards to new potential divers touch points and connecting with returning certified divers based on a defined experience are the secrets to standing out from your fellow professional, ensuring long-term customer loyalty and becoming a true leader brand whilst support the dive community sound too tough to be doable abut that distinguish yourself from an amateur start-up to a professional entrepreneur when it comes to battling in marketing turf.
In today’s hypercompetitive and every-changing market, undifferentiated diver’s experience is not good enough to outdo and outlast the competition. A branded client experience, creates an intended, differentiated, memorable engagement that turns customers into loyal brand advocates. Loyalty is a hard earn but also a loose end. I can think of some examples where old-school selling tactics have been deployed. A dive instructor offered training, provided students with information, gave advice, showed enthusiasm and caring, taught classes (then of course lured them into more advance classes), and finally offered the soon-to-be-certified divers dive tours and equipment for sale (masks, fins, snorkels, wetsuits and so on), earning commissions from the dive shop. That was not so bad but it has started to become obsolete if those stories are not told, repeated and shared again and again to create more dimensional angle for others. Other outdoor-sport industries are attempting to reduce risks arising from mistrust from one untold unrepeated incident, a crucial do-or-die strategy in the modern marketing era, scuba as an extreme sport has never attempted to erode mistrust among its industry professionals should that be the case.
To win diver loyalty, we need to begin with understanding the latest dive trends to understand and to create their needs and wants catered the way they like. We also need to learn about past dive industry and practice trends so that we can predict the next drift and capitalize on it before other fellow professional do. Dive merchandize and retails already work hard to achieve new design and e-commerce and social-commerce model to achieve that. As an individual professional loyalty means a whole new thing in this 4.0 era. It’s not just creating fun on the day we teach or dive but make a clear message and provide exposure for interactive and constantly engaging activities and can be shared so that sleeping demand across different demographic group of sport lovers are well established.
The rapid growth in social media and online tools, means that the traditional ways of communicating dive professional brands will no longer work, everybody knows that. Much of the conventional online marketing advice can be thrown out the window. Nevertheless, posting nice pictures on Facebook, Instagram or creating eye-catching underworld clips on YouTube are not always the solutions to winning new clients. Dive professional need 360 degree changes to transform brand communications campaign and employ the most cutting-edge new media not just for marketing, but to help deliver a new branded dive experience through connectivity beyond and across communities.
Dive professional instructor may independently teach but marketing 4.0 era means more than a one man trait or a personal brand echoes. We need to understand our client and follow pathway to their needs, not the other way round. We should be able to create a detailed diver’s experience journey mapping covering more than this experience touch points, but also tells the story of the customer’s experience from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship we are heading. Whether focusing on a particular component of the dive story or a broad overview of the entire learning experience, journey mapping identify every key interaction that the diver has with you or your dive shop. We must also take into consideration what affect their feelings, motivations and questions for continuing with each of these touch points for engagement and ultimately, loyalty.
Modern social commerce revolution make it convenient for everyone to learn, review and make smart and impulsive decision to buy equipment and dive service at a click. That cuts a so-called commissions for professional as well. Sales and Marketing are also two critical functions in dive industry to win in the market place. Both now need to have a strategic direction to grow in business and market share. Rather than being a retailer we need to craft ourselves to act as a business driver to increase growth, while marketing need to adopt tactical frameworks and actionable insights to penetrate key markets with your corresponding brand personality concurrently developed. Dive into yourself, this 4.0 era discovery starts from inside out.
Even divers all breathe the same air at surface, but now we need to make other followers back on the marketing field.