A Last Day of Disruptive Thinking and a Look Ahead
Friday at AIMExpo
New Product Central Presentations Exhibitor Portal Log-In Floor Plan and Exhibitor List MIC Member Benefits
Friday featured the last two Disruptive Thinking presentations, before lunch and the final few hours of the show. After that, it was time to begin moving out and start looking ahead to 2024.
Jared Burt, Cinnamon Kernes, Andy Leisner, and Andre Albert
Market ExpansionWhat Another Outdoor Industry is Doing
The motorcycle industry isn’t the only one looking to grow its market and reach new customers. Up on the main stage Friday morning was Andy Leisner, chief consumer officer for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. He spoke about what the diving industry is doing and noted that there are similarities between riders and divers. Both have interest in outdoor adventure and both generally have above-average income.
Joining Leisner – a former pro road racer, Cycle World publisher, and MIC board member – were Cinnamon Kernes, MIC vice president of market expansion and events, and Andre Albert, MIC director of sales and marketing. Moderating the panel was Jared Burt of Herohub.
“PADI is a unique organization,” Leisner said. “We’re sort of like the MSF, and we’re sort of like the MIC, and we’re sort of like an OEM. The dive center is like a motorcycle dealership. They sell…all the gear but they also do the training in-house. It’s like if we had an MSF instructor at every motorcycle dealer in the country.”
Among the challenges, he said, is that there aren’t oceans everywhere for enthusiasts to dive, so the diving industry has to make some special efforts to reach potential customers.
“My job has been to come in and develop our relationship with the consumer,” Leisner said. “We spent the better part of four months basically analyzing our audiences. Who are the people most likely to come over? We focused on…young, Gen Z, outdoors oriented…interested in conservation.”
Beside the youth market, the second type of customer getting attention from PADI are former divers, likely older and with families, who can be reactivated and brought back into the water. Albert, a lapsed diver himself, wondered how quickly a diver or rider needs to be re-engaged before losing them for long periods.
Inspiring both young people and former enthusiasts requires repeated attempts, Leisner said.
“In today’s world, people are exposed to more than 1,000 marketing messages per day,” he said. “People don’t start noticing a particular message until they’ve seen it five times. Frequency is key.”
Kernes said that the motorcycle industry has typically placed too much focus on the machines and not the people riding them. Ride With Us, the industry’s market expansion initiative developed at the MIC, is about the motorcycling lifestyle and community, she said, and dealers have an important role to play.
“Dive centers…are the gateway to getting people into the water,” she said. “That’s what our dealers are (for motorcycling). That’s one thing we want to continue: connecting with our dealers, getting them engaged, and getting them involved in helping grow our industry.”
Leisner said that PADI has a marketing toolkit for dive centers around the world, and the organization asks these shops to be welcoming, open, and enthusiastic, with an aim of converting visitors into divers.
Kernes and Albert discussed Ride With Us marketing materials being developed to show that a motorcyclist can be anyone. And the materials will inspire people to try. The hands-on, half-hour Ride With Us Moto Intro sessions being offered at selected locations nationwide give first-timers a chance to sample a small motorcycle, on a temporary riding range, with the guidance of Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoaches.
“We’re able to give them that taste and then send them to their dealer for that next step,” she said.
Competitive Analytics Takes a Look Ahead
With interest rates high, employment up, inflation cooling, and the stock market down, what’s ahead for a bumpy economy? David Savlowitz, founder and CEO of Competitive Analytics, and Michael Ponton, the firm’s director of analytics, provided some insights at the last Disruptive Thinking session of the week.
“We’re predicting a kind of soft to moderate landing sometime in 3Q, 4Q of this year,” Savlowitz said. “Is there any recession? Probably. The odds of a recession, some form of a recession, is like 85 percent. But is it going to be a really hard one? We think not, right now.”
A number of economic data points, called drivers, that have long been used by Competitive Analytics, are telling Savlowitz that the U.S. and global economies are turning into some headwinds.
Savlowitz said that before AIMExpo, his firm looked at 10 prominent, publicly traded recreational vehicle companies – which depend on outdoor-loving, adventurous customers just like the powersports industry does. The data trends, he said, suggest these firms are headed for softer sales.
“As you know better than we do, from experience, COVID brought in an aberration of very robust sales,” he said. “What you see here is a downshift.”
The same prediction is true for motorcycle sales.
“We have our forecast…and this is just a return to normality,” Ponton said. “A lot of us saw that drop in sales growth. In aggregate numbers, we’re still huge. Actual unit sales were still really strong. It’s just that growth had to come down.”
Live and in-person, several powersports companies, famed motorcycle brands, and e-bike makers on the move presented their latest offerings this week at AIMExpo’s New Product Central stage. For all three days at AIMExpo, New Product Central featured a series of brand representatives showing and talking about their company’s latest products with special host Kevin Dunworth, award-winning bike builder and innovation leader.
Veteran motojournalist Jean Turner took a look at what was showcased and on the show floor this week:
California Heat – An icy Las Vegas morning was the perfect time to hear about California Heat, the first company to present on Thursday at New Product Central. With a selection of 7V battery-powered heated clothing and 12V powersports garments that plug directly into your ride, California Heat has many options for beating the cold, the latest of which is the “Heated Half Pint.” This dickey-style mid-layer garment features heated front and rear panels, making it easy to add or remove without fully taking off a jacket. Also new is the Heated Classic Jacket, a versatile wind and waterproof softshell jacket that can go just about anywhere. A lifetime warranty, mix-n-match versatility, and the promise of no buttons ever, California Heat keeps its heated mid-layer clothing thinner, easier, and lighter for ideal comfort and performance.
Rabaconda – The crew at Rabaconda took to the New Product Central showcase with a bold challenge for its new street bike tire changer: a tire swap for the notoriously tough Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic front tire live on stage. A full dismount and remount of the tire demonstrated the capability of the innovative ratcheting system, which also effectively protects rims, and can adjust to different wheel sizes. The Rabaconda is an ideal solution for small dealerships and custom shops that don’t have room for the full-size industrial tire-mounting machine, but are still looking to perform fast, efficient tire changes. The Rabaconda is also portable, packing into a carrying case to take to events, put in a chase truck, or simply store it out of the way when not in use.
The MIC has a lot to offer members – far-ranging benefits, not only for companies, but for powersports as a whole. With legislative matters, with public land issues, businesses do much better standing together as one powerful industry force.
We support MIC members through regular communication about our tangible membership benefits: advocacy, industry research, market expansion through Ride With Us, as well as our monthly symposiums that provide professional development opportunities and keen insights on industry trends.
Plus, MIC members earn a $200 credit per 10′ x 10′ of AIMExpo floor space, with a maximum up to 50 percent of total annual MIC dues. More on how to join the MIC