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Understanding Influencer Marketing in the Boating Industry

Influencer marketing is booming across many industries, but it’s still relatively new in the boating world, writes Merrill Charette of Marine Biz. There’s huge potential here if you know how to navigate it.

When considering overall marketing channels, it’s clear that they’re well-covered, and consequently, the costs are generally very high. For instance, magazine advertising is expensive, often beyond the reach of many companies. Only a few have the budget to market across multiple channels effectively. That being said, influencers in the boating industry typically haven’t made significant money from their efforts yet.

They offer a loyal following and substantial audience reach, presenting a valuable opportunity for brands looking to make an impact without the hefty price tag of traditional advertising.

The Landscape of Boating Influencers

The boating industry hosts a variety of influencers, each with unique audiences. But like all things in marketing, the primary concern is, “Is my audience there?”:

Sailing Influencers: This category includes sailing couples and adventure sailors. They have some of the most loyal followers due to the adventurous nature of their content, which is highly entertaining. However, not all sailing influencers are the same. Sailing couples often attract a broad audience that may not necessarily be boaters themselves, while adventure and educational sailors typically have a more targeted audience of boating enthusiasts. The latter group is generally the best bet for marketing boating products.

Boat Repair Influencers: If you’re watching any boat repair channel, there’s a high likelihood that you own a boat; otherwise, why would you watch it? This makes boat repair influencers an excellent choice for reaching current boat owners.

Fishing Influencers: Similarly, viewers of fishing channels are often boat owners, as fishing enthusiasts frequently use boats for their activities. This audience is highly relevant for boating products.

Powerboat Influencers: Although not as well-known, niche influencers like trawler cruisers cater to the long-range cruising and powerboat lifestyle. These influencers can effectively reach dedicated powerboating audiences.

Boat Walkthrough Channels: These channels focus more on entertainment and attract viewers interested in buying boats rather than building long-term loyalty. They are ideal for reaching potential boat buyers but may not foster the same level of engagement as other types of influencers.

Importance of Platform Selection

Not only do you need to consider who their audience is and what they appeal to, but you also need to understand the prevailing demographics on the platform:

  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn

Understanding Your Audience

Before diving into influencer marketing, it’s crucial to understand your audience. Know who they are, what they care about, and where they spend their time online. This forms the foundation of your strategy.

Effective Targeting

Understanding an influencer’s audience is essential. You want their followers to match your target market. In this industry, the best influencers usually don’t reach out for advertising; they’re too busy creating their own content. They won’t have a media deck, so you’ll have to estimate their audience demographics yourself.

Don’t wait for them to come to you.

Cost-Effectiveness and Affordability

Influencer marketing can be cost-effective if done right:

  • Affordable Partnerships: Micro-influencers often have high engagement rates with targeted audiences. They can be more effective than high-profile influencers.
  • Reasonable Pricing: Good influencers are often reasonable with their pricing because they haven’t made much money yet and have focused on consistent content creation.

Challenges with Influencers

Trust me, every influencer has a market that can be sold to; however, not all audiences are the same. Some influencers primarily cater to lifestyle products, while others are better suited for selling tangible products.

Asking for Metrics

It’s okay to ask, “Show me the numbers.”


Influencer marketing in the boating industry is a largely untapped opportunity. So, think about it.

Merrill can be reached via mcharette@boatsquarterly.com


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