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What's On Your 'hot Topic' List?

Discussion in 'Business of Diving Institute' started by John A Lewis, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. John A Lewis

    John A Lewis Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: DFW
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    This is something that has come up in discussions I've had with other divers who were also 'of a certain age'. There was a span of several years between my own OW certification and taking AOW onward. I remember being surprised that AOW simply repeated everything learned years before; nothing new here at all. Also, the original OW class was six weeks long, compared to today's much shorter ones (and this was before the e-learning phase too).

    To bring this into the sphere of the business of diving, do you think there is still a market at the start for longer, more in depth courses at the beginning, or have we got to cater only to people in a time-compressed fashion?
     
  2. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
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    "Your point is well-taken, and I don't know how to address it."

    It's my understanding some dive shops do 'side business' (e.g.: swim lessons if they have a pool, etc...) to bring in extra money. Maybe there's a market here for...air brushing. Not something I'm familiar with, and you'd need a good airbrush artist willing to come out maybe one Saturday every week or two? I'm thinking custom dive shirts.

    Unless you've got another means to imprint a high quality design onto a dive shirt. Basically I'm suggesting making your own instead of buying mass market stuff. Like this recent thread, Blackbeard Dive Shirts - Your Thoughts?

    The reason I thought of an air brush artist 1st leads to my next question; can air brushed imagery on dive gear, such as BCDs and wetsuits, hold up over time in salt water diving?

    Richard.

    P.S.: BabyDuck, what would you recommend putting on the dive shirts that'd appeal to substantial numbers of female divers?
     
  3. RJP

    RJP Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
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    It's actually a significant marketing a problem for the industry. But it's far beyond a "merchandise" problem, but rather it's a fundamental "messaging" problem.

    The industry loves to promote the whole "diving is a lifestyle" thing. This is done under the naive misconception that touting this idea will convince people to dive more often and stay with the sport forever. Beyond the fact that it doesn't work in and of itself, it's even more problematic for two reasons:

    1.) It turns far more people off than it attracts. Why? Because it implies that diving requires a far higher level of personal commitment (and financial investment) than is actually required. A large research project I did a year ago revealed that there is a huge untapped market of people who would love to "take up diving" but do not want to "be a diver." That is to say, they can see diving being "something they do" but are put off by the notion that it must necessarily re-define "who they are."

    2.) Even if someone DID want to adopt diving as a lifestyle... the industry has no idea what that lifestyle is or how to describe it. Again, research I've done with hundreds of non-divers clearly indicates that swashbuckling pirates and skulls and sharks and other "adventure" signals actually turn 4-6 people off for every 1-2 they attract.

    Suggested Reading:

    Diving Into The Psyche of the Scuba Diver

    Adventures In Scuba Marketing

    Single-Minded Messaging: What's the Point?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
    drrich2 and BabyDuck like this.
  4. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

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    GUE does their REC 1 course, which is a much more in depth course than the typical OW course. They don't run very many of these, but they do successfully run them.
     
  5. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,859
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    "Again, research I've done with hundreds of non-divers clearly indicates that swashbuckling pirates and skulls and sharks and other "adventure" signals actually turn 4-6 people off for every 1-2 they attract."

    2 Of the biggest draws in diving are coral reefs, and wrecks. After that, at a guess (and at times associated with wrecks), are seeing 'big stuff' (e.g.: sharks, the goliath grouper aggregation) and 'macro.' (e.g.: nudibranch lovers, anemone shrimp photographers, etc...) and finally spear fishermen. I have have the order of #'s wrong on some (& I'm leaving out technical diving, cave diving, etc...).

    Not all of those sound like big, bold, 'where no man has gone before' type activities (unless your wreck guys want to do penetrations, or go technical and maybe pursue the Andrea Doria). They sound somewhat like...

    1.) People who tour botanical gardens and like flower beds/decorative landscaping (coral reef divers).

    2.) History buffs, the shorts who might like using metal detectors at old cemeteries in the woods (wreck divers). The military aspect of many wrecks is important to some.

    3.) Animal/nature lovers - not just hunters, but people who enjoy seeing deer, moose, bear, elk, etc...in the wild (think land tours of Alaska, or people who go to zoos or wild-life parks). (Big animal encounters).

    4.) Bug collectors and some land-macro photographers (the macro UW photographer).

    My main 'pre-diving' interest was field herping - I enjoyed seeking out reptiles, some some extent amphibians and other wild animals, in the wild and photographing (& hand-catching) them for photographs. I liked snakes, various turtle species, etc... So diving, I like moray eels, barracuda, sharks, sea turtles...basically turtles plus anything with teeth or otherwise powerful (e.g.: sting rays, jelly fish).

    How you'd go about marketing to those groups, of whether it would be worthwhile to do so, I don't know. For the reptile aficionado crowd, I wonder what a scuba booth at the large reptile convention like the annual Captive Reptile Breeder's Expo. in Daytona Beach, Fl, might stir up?

    Have any of those of you in the dive industry tried marketing directly to a 'non-traditional group' like the above? If so, how'd it go?

    Richard.

    P.S.: Diver and customer, not a business owner, but interested none-the-less.
     
    wetb4igetinthewater likes this.
  6. BabyDuck

    BabyDuck Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Winterville, NC
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    something snarky about the kiss sidekick. divers on a reef in good trim without danglies. divers in a cave without the grim reaper - i've got a grim reaper one, it makes my mama nervous. one of those nice close ups of a diver looking at a cool fish, like peeking over the wreck or coral head. actually, most of the good photos in dive magazines might be turned into nice shirt ideas. but even the t & s ones usually have crappy equipment worn by people with awful hose routings who are obviously sculling, and that's a turn off.
     
  7. redacted

    redacted Guest

    I don't care for businesses that refuse to sell parts for the gear they sell. When Scubatoys first started, they advertised that they would sell parts for any gear they sold. Then they reneged.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2016
  8. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,859
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    "I realize it's a big money maker for the agencies but I think more divers would consider further education if it were offered in fewer courses."

    "To bring this into the sphere of the business of diving, do you think there is still a market at the start for longer, more in depth courses at the beginning, or have we got to cater only to people in a time-compressed fashion?"

    "GUE does their REC 1 course, which is a much more in depth course than the typical OW course. They don't run very many of these, but they do successfully run them."

    It's not exactly 'at the beginning,' but I've wondered why the NAUI Master Scuba Diver course/cert. isn't much more sought after. As it has been explained on this forum in the past, the original intent was to instill Instructor level knowledge & skill, minus those aspects specific to teaching, to a student. But PADI took the term. & applied it to a very different kind of certification, & I believe some other agencies have done likewise. I wonder how many PADI MSD's there are to every NAUI MSD?

    How many divers consider or enroll in Dive Master courses in pursuit of the same sort of goal the NAUI Master Scuba Diver course was intended to provide? Is the issue that NAUI has fallen so far off the radar in many places? (Which would probably be an interesting study in business practices in its own right!).

    I wonder if perhaps such a program might 'sell better' if it were taught in a region where the instruction was obviously of practical value. There's an example - July 7, 2014, California Diver Magazine online posted an article , LA County Scuba's Advanced Diver Program Provides An Exceptional Value, Quality Education. But notice that in that program, they also did this:

    "LA County Scuba’s Advanced Diver Program (ADP) spans 10 weeks over each summer, includes over 100 hours of formal training (including at least 14 open water dives), and has been the most well-respected recreational dive training program since its inception in 1964. Upon completion, students definitely fulfill the skills and qualifications of almost anyone’s definition of an advanced diver, and receive an LA County Scuba C-card to that effect. Students can also be qualified as NAUI Master Divers, and have the opportunity to receive their NAUI Nitrox and Rescue Diver certifications during the program."

    So, people can pick up 3 different certifications along the way, and some people like that. Nitrox is useful, and Rescue needful if one ever does pursue teaching scuba.

    So, maybe there's a market for such training, in areas with difficult local diving, but from what I understand this course is an excellent value, and thus might not be a good cash cow unless it gave you an 'in' to sell students exposure protection, BP/W replacements for their BCDs, wrist computers, non-split fins or whatever '2nd generation gear purchases' divers getting more seasoned might make. Plus the 1st gear sets you might sell.

    Richard.
     
  9. scubatoys

    scubatoys ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    AWAP,

    I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you but we do not control what the manufacturers set in their policies. Perhaps when we stated that we would sell parts to the end users it was before the new policies were put into place but as for now the vast majority of our manufacturers have forbidden the resale of service kits to a non certified technician. We can not simply disregard the manufacturers policies and increase the liability for us and the manufacturer because of something that was said prior to. Times have changed and as times change so do the way things are done. We abide by their policies and work within the same restrictions as every other dive shop in this country. Furthermore I believe these days they require you to be current with each individual manufacturers updates in order to purchase parts. After which you would be eligible to purchase the parts yourself directly from them.

    You are certainly more than welcome to contact us directly and speak with the owner directly. He would be more than happy to discuss it further with you and see if we can't resolve this situation.
     
  10. Octopusprime

    Octopusprime Dive Resort

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Chicago Suburbs
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    Rjp, what types of information are you looking for? Who are the new divers? Are you looking at spending habits of divers when it comes to gear or travel? Are you looking for demographic income levels etc. demographics and buying habits changing quickly with millennials increased buying power.

    Scuba is a discretionary income hobby so there is a lot of information that translates from other sports.
     

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