As Baby Boomers edge towards retirement or plunge right into it, they have become an interesting demographic to watch for boosting participation in boating and fishing. In fact, according to the most recent USFWS 5-year National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, the participation of Baby Boomers (people ages 55-64) in fishing has grown 28 percent, more than double the nationwide increase of 11 percent. As Boomers cast off for retirement, their participation is expected to increase even more, as indicated by the current whopping 44 percent increase in fishing among 65+ Americans.
Another indicator of Boomers' increased angling and boating participation is NOAA's State of the Coast Report: National Coastal Population Trends 1970-2020. According to the report, there was an 89 percent increase in the 65+ population living in coastal shoreline counties between 1970 and 2010. Retirees clearly are moving close to the water, ideally relocating themselves to spend more time on the water.
"The Baby Boomers generation is beginning to retire," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "Trends seem to indicate that as they retire, they look for ways to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with family. Boating and fishing are two great ways they can do this."
Mentoring, an important message conveyed in RBFF's digital assets, is more appropriate for Boomers now than ever. RBFF's Take Me Fishing™ campaign lets Boomers know that angling and boating are wonderful ways to connect with children and grandchildren. Plus, boating and fishing are proven, top stress-relievers for people of all ages.
Stay tuned for more insight into Baby Boomer participation when RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation release the annual Special Report on Fishing & Boating this summer.
Glenn Hughes, V. P./Group Publisher at Bonnier Corp, and a recent addition to the RBFF Board of Directors, has spent more than 25 years in the marine publishing industry. As marketers shift to more digital strategies, Hughes shares some of insights on how his business has capitalized on digital and how others in the boating and fishing industry can benefit as well.
What do you hope to add to the conversation in our industry as it pertains to increasing participation in both boating and fishing?
Based on my lifelong love of boating and fishing, and my 25 years of experience in working in the respective industries, I believe I add a perspective of participant as well as stakeholder. My passion to increase exposure of these activities is matched by my desire to get new folks (whether families, kids or coworkers) out on my own boat on any given lunch break or weekend. Our brands reach millions of current and potential boaters through many media channels, including print, digital, social, event and television. I believe we will be able to support the efforts of the RBFF to share the messaging and extend the reach to get more people involved.
Can you speak briefly about how technology has changed your brand's focus, and changed the methods you use to engage consumers?
We simplify our business down to two main themes: content and audience. Technology has allowed us to share content in different formats for different audiences the way these readers/viewers/participants want to receive information. Our brands have actually grown through digital channels, including email, tablet, social, mobile and websites as consumers have different expectations and desires for the content they consume.
What are some of the advantages of pursuing a technology heavy strategy?
We feel print is still the key to inspiring an audience with information they didn't know they wanted. The web is more research-based, giving information-hungry viewers quick results. Email allows us to stay connected with an audience that wants to receive consistent, updated information. The tablet format is for those that are looking for enhanced interaction with a brand. Of course mobile becomes location-based as consumers are looking for immediate satisfaction of their needs. RBFF has done a fine job of addressing most of these areas. I'm excited to see what the future can bring.
Finally, what advice would you give to boating and fishing industry stakeholders as they seek to engage audiences using these new platforms?
There are large learning curves and no one answer to handle all platforms. Everyone has a website, an email list and a Facebook page. But we need to decide what the purposes are for these channels. Is it to build a database? Start a conversation? Provide information? Sell more products? Take the time to talk through the goals and objectives with your key personnel, and then set realistic expectations that your team and budget can achieve.
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