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A Look Back at How RBFF Engaged Anglers and Boaters in 2015
As we close out on 2015, we’d like to take time to reflect on all of the milestones, events and accomplishments that we celebrated throughout the year. While the RBFF team is hard at work every day, helping to engage anglers and boaters across the country, here are a few of the high-points of 2015:
- Families across the nation once again selected their favorite places to get out on the water in our America’s Top Family Fishing and Boating Spots Sweepstakes. This program continues evolve and improve, successfully engaging anglers and boaters in each of the 50 states and generating significant positive press for fishing and boating. Be on the lookout for the next iteration of the campaign to be launched in early 2016.
- We encouraged anglers to share their first catch of the day, the season or their lifetime on social media with the hashtag #FirstCatchSweeps in a new campaign this past summer. After six weeks of impressive social media engagement, one lucky participant was selected to receive an all-new Evinrude® E-TEC® G2™ 250 H.O. powered Ranger® Z521C Bass Boat.
- Youth participation is imperative to the future of fishing participation, and a new partnership between RBFF and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will help engage more youth in fishing by increasing the number of BSA Certified Angling Instructors, who teach Scouts of all ages the basics of fishing.
- In the first nine months of our current fiscal year, our digital properties saw nearly 6.8 million unique visitors and 8.6 million total visits (up 27% and 41% respectively).
- Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ branding made their way into over 1,000 Walmart® retail stores through a new partnership between RBFF and South Bend® . Co-branded refill kits from South Bend’s Ready2Fish product line were displayed in stores, complete with an information on how fishing is “easy and affordable.
- Our Retail Customer Experience Assessment: Fly Fishing report showed a 73% overall customer experience satisfaction rate (over 10% higher than general fishing stores), but also that retailers could greatly improve the rate at which they ask for customer contact information, a critical piece for consumer engagement.
- Our partners at Discover Boatinghave seen a 210% increase in referrals to their site from Take Me Fishing’s digital assets so far in FY16.
- In order to develop universal angler and boater recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) guidelines, RBFF and AREA entered into a new partnership. The two organizations will utilize RBFF’s Best Practices Workbook and the Wildlife Management Institute’s (WMI) previously-developed tools for hunting R3 programs as a basis for fishing and boating R3 programs.
- Through our State Innovative R3 Program Grants, designed to reward state agencies for their pioneering angler and boater recruitment, retention and reactivation strategies, we were able to help fund exciting initiatives in Georgia, Nebraska and Vermont.
- Another successful year of our Boat Registration Marketing Program saw strong response rate and lift, helping to bring 44,000 lapsed boat owners back to the water and generating $1.6 million in revenue for state agencies.
- Through a generous donation from Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris, we were able to establish the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund. Since announcing the fund, Disney and two of our creative agencies, Colle + McVoy and Lopez Negrete Communications, have made additional contributions.
- We recently hosted our 9th State Marketing Workshop, where 49 state agencies gathered to learn about improving customer engagement through successful angler and boater recruitment, retention and reactivation practices.
2015 has been a rewarding and thrilling year for RBFF and the fishing and boating industry. We look forward to continuing to engage anglers and boaters and are hard at work developing new programs and initiatives, including a newly-redesigned TakeMeFishing.org, for 2016.
RBFF President and CEO
States Congregate in Dallas to Improve Customer Experience
RBFF’s 2015 State Marketing Workshop brought 128 people representing 49 state agencies, RBFF and its partners and sponsors to Dallas, Texas December 8 – 10, 2015 to Collaborate, Relate and Innovate to Redefine the Customer Experience. Presenters from RBFF, state agencies and industry organizations discussed angler and boater recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) tips, tools and techniques to better maintain and grow fishing and boating participation throughout the country at the Workshop.
Keynote speaker, Jay Baer, founder and president of Convince & Convert, kicked off the Workshop with his presentation on Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype. Jay is a renowned business strategist, advising more than 700 companies since 1994, including Caterpillar, Nike, Allstate and The United Nations and 32 of the FORTUNE 500. The audience was highly engaged during Jay’s presentation, where he challenged attendees to fundamentally rethink their approach to marketing and customer service.
The Workshop was well-received by participants, with Chris Adams of Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department remarking: “The conference was a great experience and I took away a lot of really beneficial information from the various presentations. Thanks so much for the opportunity to attend and present.”
Attendees learned the results of RBFF’s State Innovative R3 Program Grants from the Georgia, Nebraska and Vermont grantees. Details on our Retention Pilot Program were shared by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission discussed our new partnership to improve the online customer experience with the goal of increasing license sales. Alix Pedraza of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and RBFF’s Hispanic marketing agency, Lopez Negrete Communications, shared insights to better engage the growing Hispanic audience.
“This year’s State Marketing Workshop provided an immense amount of valuable information to our state agency partners, who are vital in our efforts to grow fishing and boating participation,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “I’m pleased to see a great deal of progress in some states and hope that the success of these programs will inspire more states to follow suit, ultimately leading to more anglers and boaters, and increased funding for important conservation initiatives.”
Thank you to the sponsors of the 2015 State Marketing Workshop:
- Diamond Sponsors – Brandt Information Services and J.F. Griffin Publishing
- Platinum Sponsors – the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and Discover Boating
- Gold Sponsors – Active Network, Bass Pro Shops, GovDelivery and Southwick Associates
- Silver Sponsors – Brunswick Freshwater Group and Ogilvy Public Relations
- Bronze Sponsors – the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), the Association of Marina Industries (AMI), Colle + McVoy, Eureka Facts, LLC, Info-Link, Lopez Negrete Communications and SourceLink.
Resources, including all presentations, from the 2015 State Marketing Workshop can be downloaded under the State Agency Partnerships tab on TakeMeFishing.org/corporate.
RBFF Becomes Florida Fish & Wildlife Foundation Conservation Partner
Falling right in line with its mission, RBFF is now a Conservation Partner with the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The partnership will help bring national attention to the importance of fishing licenses and their connection to conservation, and connecting youth and families with fishing and boating opportunities to create future lifetime participants.
“Florida’s important work to sustain its fishing and boating resources wouldn’t be possible without participation in the sport,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “We are proud to be a Conservation Partner of the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida and fully support their efforts to engage anglers of all ages through their various campaigns and conservation camps. These programs are great ways to recruit, retain and reactivate anglers and boaters in one of our nation’s premiere fishing and boating locations.”
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), 1.7 million people age 16+ went fishing in Florida in 2011 (5% of the national total), and 1.37 million fishing licenses were purchased in 2013. To capitalize on this impressive fishing and boating audience, RBFF will work with the Foundation to support efforts that recruit, retain and reactivate anglers and boaters. Both organizations are committed to promoting each other’s message and resources. In addition, custom marketing materials including email blasts, TV spots and counter cards will be created to help RBFF meet its mission of increasing participation in the sport, contributing to critical conservation efforts that keep Florida’s aquatic natural resources thriving.
“We are so pleased to partner with RBFF as they help support fishing and boating across the nation, and right here in Florida,” said Foundation Chairman Rodney Barreto. “We thank RBFF for its leadership and its work within the outdoor community as a visionary leader and its contribution to the conservation community.”