Marketing is an essential function of any business, regardless of whether it operates on a for-profit or a not-for-profit basis. NAUI is no different. In order to continue to offer high quality training products and educational information, its products, programs, and services must be marketed effectively.
Marketing is more than increasing sales. It incorporates products and product lines (both new and existing), pricing of those products, advertising and promotion, distribution channels (how the products will be sold), corporate philosophy or identity, target markets (customers), and other related factors. Thus, there are many, many variables to consider when trying to improve on any firm's marketing mix.
One major source of ideas for new products, or improvements to existing products, that is available to all companies is their existing customer base. For NAUI, this customer base consists primarily of their Pro Facilities, Dream Resorts, Accredited Institutions, and Instructors. It is to these groups that we turn this month for ideas as to how to improve marketability.
This question was proposed by Patricia Scharr of Grand Cayman Island, a past Director of NAUI. As expected, a wide variety of ideas were advanced. Integral to many responses was the basic premise that NAUI, as a service organization, could improve service to the membership to improve sales and overall marketability. Getting more representatives out in the field was also suggested as a method for improving both service and visibility.
Product related ideas included offering more textbooks and training materials for specialty and leadership level courses, offering those products along with our existing textbooks in a variety of languages, and simplifying registration procedures by reducing the number of available methods to certify students.
More advertising was advised as yet another way to improve on sales and visibility of NAUI. Another proposition to accomplish those goals was to offer new programs teaching instructors how to teach and market a variety of courses other than the Openwater I course.
All of these are useful suggestions, and will be seriously considered by NAUI headquarters staff and its Board of Directors. However, the story has not ended here. Running a corporation is a dynamic endeavor. As times change, so must the services and products provided. Make an effort to send in ideas and suggestions to headquarters in the future--that way we can all work together to build a stronger NAUI, continuing to keep our "Quality Difference."
QUESTION: "What could be done to improve the marketability of NAUI's products, programs, and services?"
A. NAUI needs more personal contact with their instructors and facilities. They especially could use a representative in a traveling position to visit all diving resorts.
--Jerry Schnabel, NAUI 2464; Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles (Photo pro for Divi Resorts in Bonaire. Has taught primarily Underwater Photography specialties, but also has entry level through ITC teaching experience at many resorts in the Caribbean.)
A. NAUI has finally come out with some good textbooks. Unfortunately, the majority of the books are only offered in English with a few in Spanish.
In Southern California I have experienced a language gap with many students. NAUI should not only offer books in Spanish but in Japanese, French, German, Chinese and Italian as well as other languages. Due to the influx of immigrants many people speak English as a second language. As a service organization, NAUI should be in the forefront in offering multi-language resources. This would surely help NAUI in increasing our membership as well as encouraging continuing education with former students.
--Marna G. Lucillo, NAUI 7303; Culver City, CA (Teaches as a private professional instructor. Has worked in resort settings in Grand Cayman and with Club Med, teaching all levels from Openwater I to Divemaster, and Rescue Diving Techniques.)
A. A dive store wants just four things: certification cards on time, textbooks, dive tables, and service. If NAUI provides these items, along with the information on how to market the existing products and services, then we will be successful.
We also might consider increasing our member dues by $5.00 just to support branch newsletters. A branch newsletter can serve as an important informational and marketing tool, but is often prohibitively expensive for branch managers to produce under the current structure. A surcharge on dues remitted directly back to the branch for this purpose would solve this problem.
--Henry Veix, NAUI 8227, (Branch Manager of the North Atlantic Branch. Teaches at ?. Has taught all levels to ITCs.)
Note from the Editor: The following is written to clarify a situation concerning Henry Veix's response. His response was composed by me for inclusion in this column from a conversation that Mr. Veix and I had during a meeting at Seaspace when we discussed various aspects of NAUI. His remark concerning the "four things that Pro Affiliates want from NAUI," should have been limited to items that Pro Affiliates from the North Atlantic Branch had indicated to him as desirable. The section suggesting a $5 increase in dues to be returned to Branch Managers to cover the cost of Branch Newsletters, was taken out of a context whereby NAUI would provide Branch Managers with a common errata sheet of short fuse items which required more immediate publication than Sources deadlines allow. This would have increased the size and therefore the cost of Branch Newsletters. Mr. Veix had given me permission to use his suggestions, but was not aware that they would be published in the form of a letter in this column. Because of personal commitments, I was unable to contact him prior to publication to allow him to proofread the contents. I apologize for any misconceptions that have resulted from this situation.
A. More new products, continue the updating of old products, and continue to strive for faster, more efficient processing of orders. NAUI is on the right track.
--Joe Kilgore, NAUI 8740L; Pearl City, HI (Director of Training and Instructor for Down Under Divers, a NAUI Pro Facility. Has taught Openwater I through Divemaster as well as some specialty courses. Was Diving Officer for an Army Combat Unit.)
A. There is always room for improvement with any organization and everyone associated with it. NAUI should examine where complaints are directed and analyze those areas for ways to improve. I think that NAUI as a whole is doing a fine job and I continue to be proud of my association with them.
‑‑Bob Widmann, NAUI 2055; Aptos, CA (Past Mid Pacific Branch Manager. Has taught all levels of diving, including having served as ITC Director. Recipient of NAUI Outstanding Service Award.)
A. Regarding NAUI products; the new Advanced Diving Technology and Techniques book is an excellent example of what NAUI can do to improve the product line. We need more training manuals of this quality for specialty and leadership courses.
NAUI can increase market share and create a much more positive image and awareness throughout the general diving community by publishing quality books on diving education. NAUI Instructors need the support of books to help teach specialty classes.
As for NAUI programs; we need to teach NAUI Instructors how to market and sell quality educational programs for a premium price. My experience has been that most instructors are poor sales persons. They have trouble competing against low cost, short courses offered by other agency instructors in the community.
NAUI has the finest instructors in the industry and the general public is willing to invest in a quality education. We simply need to develop the sales and marketing abilities of NAUI Instructors.
Other programs that would benefit NAUI Instructors include: How to teach Specialty, Master Diver, Assistant Instructor and Divemaster courses. Instructors are taught how to teach Openwater I courses in the ITC and now they need to learn how to teach continuing education courses.
The Branch Managers could offer these special instructor development workshops and seminars throughout their regions. The branch could make money and NAUI Instructors will become more proficient thus more successful. It is a win-win situation.
--Tom Hemphill, NAUI 2491; Federal Way, WA (President of Emerald Seas Ltd, a professional diver training and consulting company; and General Manager of Emerald Seas Diving Center, a full service diving resort and training center on Orcas Island. Former NAUI National Sales Manager and Business Consultant. Has trained more than 3,000 divers at all levels up to and including Instructor.)
A. First, from headquarters data files a quantitative analysis of all the sales items should reveal those which have and have not been popular with the members. Second, from each category, instructors and facilities which used or did not use the item should be contacted to determine what led to that decision. Third, having headquarter's data plus the feedback from the users should yield a close a meaning of the problems. Lastly, the solution to the problems should be designed by handpicked professionals, throw their designs to the members for final review, polish it, and sell NAUI as a new product locally and all the world over.
--Carlos N. Santos-Viola, NAUI 5687L; San Francisco, CA (Former Training Director and General Manager of Aquaventure Phils, Inc. Has taught all levels to ITCs. Former Safety Chairman for the Amphibians Scuba Club.)
A. NAUI needs to do several things. Most important, they need to improve service. Service is the basis of NAUI's business, and I do not believe that headquarters is responsive to the needs of the instructors.
They also need to strengthen relations with dive stores, since that is where most diver contact with NAUI occurs.
Finally, the volunteers who spend time helping NAUI's programs and on their projects must be recognized for their efforts (especially the "little people"). This will build more goodwill for all of NAUI.
--Cheryl Slabey, Q39053; Torrance, CA (Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber Crew, full time certified medical staff coordinator at USC Kenneth Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital. Edited 1987 IQ Proceedings, has assisted as a volunteer in many other NAUI activities.)
A. My preference runs to extended training programs that turn out fewer, but more highly trained divers. Specifically, this is achieved through university based courses, generally offered for credit, that run a full semester. Appreciating reality, this format will not ensure NAUI's market share. Yet any marketing strategy should insure the competency of NAUI trained divers.
--Neal Pollock, NAUI 7068; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Diving Officer for the University of British Columbia, and current President of the Canadian Academy of Underwater Sciences. Past candidate for the NAUI Canada Board of Directors.)
A. I had always admired the fact that NAUI had less paperwork involved in their certification process than other agencies. The student registration form was filled in and the appropriate fees sent in. Now we have registration forms and two different kinds of coupons. What was wrong with the simple way? It saved paper as well. I would like to see us switch back to the pre-coupon system. I would also hope that the product line can be increased, remaining within the constraints of our non-profit status. I would hate to see NAUI go the route of another organization and start to bleed the membership. That is another major attraction of NAUI, their true concern for the membership.
--Frank J. Toal, Jr., NAUI 10185; Orlando, FL (Diving Systems Officer for the Living Seas at EPCOT Center, Disneyworld. Has taught Openwater I to Assistant Instructor courses, plus a wide variety of specialty classes. Former Diving Control Officer for Tampa Marine Institute.)
A. NAUI should concentrate more effort and resources in advertising. They currently advertise only in dive magazines. These ads should be strengthened, but broader efforts are needed. Other sporting magazines should have "NAUI Discover Diving" ads in them with tear out mail-in cards for people to get more information.
Direct mailings with posters, cards, etc. should be made to schools, fitness centers, sports centers, clubs, and other locations. "Splash" nights with ESE programs should be promoted and run regularly and repeatedly. This would draw new people into diving.
Finally, ITCs, crossover workshops, course request information, and NAUI products should be marketed more aggressively by NAUI headquarters not only to people outside NAUI, but to NAUI members as well. This would increase sales, and would also help draw the membership into stronger support for NAUI as a result of increased presence. NAUI members should feel part of an educational and marketing team.
--Struther MacFarlane, NAUI 6676; Toronto, Ontario, Canada (As a private professional educator, has taught all levels from introductory to serving as ITC Director. Recipient of the NAUI Canada Silver Pin and Special Recognition Awards.)
A. I don't use many NAUI products, but of the products I do use I have found them useful. However, I would like to see new products, particularly products that may be controversial, reviewed by all NAUI members before the product is purchased. This review is not for every new product, only the ones which are either a large initial cost to NAUI or ones which might alter how a course is taught. As an instructor and a NAUI member I want to make sure that NAUI investments show a good chance of profitable returns.
Programs such as courses on oxygen administration and emergency management or lectures on manufacturer or NAUI products are essential to all leadership level NAUI members. These programs should not be exploited. Over pricing these programs effectively reduces their exposure to the majority of members. Though I am not against people making a living off of their expertise, I feel that NAUI needs to play a bigger role by offering more reasonably priced programs to their members. It will only improve NAUI and the diving community in the long haul.
Services such as the trade journal SOURCES is a great asset to every NAUI member. However, many of the articles need to be reviewed more rigorously. Some of these articles lack continuity and are written at a level way above the average reader. Sending the articles out for peer review would improve the quality of the article and the over all quality of SOURCES.
--James Weston, NAUI ????; ?, CA (Private Professional Instructor, had taught for Fort Ord, dive stores and universities.)
A. Last year NAUI promised us the DART program in conjunction with American Red Cross. I have yet to see the program take effect. I realize that there is an interim time necessary to initiate such an important program, and that it must be done with no compromises. Until it is set up, though, leadership students must obtain other certification in CPR and First Aid. I live and teach in an area where these courses are not available, but this unavailability does not exempt my students or myself from meeting these requirements.
I cannot market leadership training because these courses are not available. I have students interested in these courses, and I cannot teach them. This is a very frustrating position for me to be in. Other organizations offering different and maybe not as comprehensive training are very attractive to my would-be students in that prerequisites are available. These students need the service of the DART program. I need the service of the DART program if I am to continue to teach leadership level courses in my area.
--Leslie Farnel, NAUI 6092; Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii (Instructor for Dive Maui, Inc. Has taught all levels of diving from introductory courses to ITC staff experience.)
A. NAUI should implement a program to honor those individuals who have performed effective diver rescues. Recognition of the individual rescuer would accomplish the following: (1) Provide recognition among one's diving peers for a job well done. (2) Promote the need for diver rescue instruction. (3) Provide a forum for NAUI to show and fill the need for such training at the branch level.
NAUI as a leader in diver safety should lead the other certifying agencies in this program. Awards should be made regardless of the rescuer's certifying affiliation, and nominations should be accepted from anyone in the diving or public safety communities.
--James D. Brown, NAUI 11267; ?, CA
A. NAUI needs to improve the efficiency of handling orders. In processing my recent membership renewal for NDA, I received two invoices, one with hand-written notations followed by another five weeks later.
I have also had problems with the processing of invoices, account credits, and back orders. Persons with credit balances should be so informed, so they may utilize the credit, or get it refunded. NAUI's treatment of these matters is not good business sense in my book!
--Jennifer Aiken, NDA Member; Troy, Michigan (SSI DiveCon certification, has assisted in dive instruction at dive stores, and currently at the University of Michigan.)
A. NAUI should work to reduce the cost of liability insurance so that instructors who are not teaching full-time, or are not affiliated with a major institution can afford to teach NAUI courses.
--Don Canestro, NAUI 5877; Santa Barbara, CA (Research diver at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Has taught extensively in university settings.)
A. NAUI is undoubtedly the best of the diving certification agencies. But, there are still many things we can do to improve our agency. In order of priority, NAUI needs to create the following educational support materials: Text and instructor guide for Diving Rescue Techniques, text and instructor guide for Divemaster and Assistant Instructor candidates, and texts for popular specialty courses such as photography and videography. These support materials would strengthen NAUI's reputation as an educational agency, and make it easier on the student taking the course.
I would like to see NAUI offer an American Red Cross CPR and First Aid Instructor course. This would certainly make instructors more qualified and able to teach leadership level courses.
Our agency has many outstanding features. NAUI has excellent texts up to the Advanced level, a superior professional journal, excellent courses in visual SCUBA cylinder inspection and oxygen administration, and superb specialty instructor guides for underwater photography, videography, and modeling. Keep up the good work and apply some of the expertise that produced these projects to create the aforementioned projects.
‑‑Jeff Stone, NAUI 8156; Bryan, TX (Has taught all levels of diving through leadership levels, including specialties. Manages a NAUI Pro Facility.)
NOTE: The views expressed in this column are opinions held by the individual members referenced, and are not those of NAUI or the editors of NDA News.]Questions for the next issues:
Questions for the next issues:
For the March/April issue: "Given the multitude of dive tables on the market, which tables should be taught? Why?"
For the May/Jun issue: "Should instructors be required to have oxygen administration equipment and training to remain in teaching status?"
For the July/August issue: "Should an instructor/dive operator be permitted to confiscate a C-card on the spot for obviously incompetent/unable divers? Why/why not?"
All members are encouraged to respond. This column is for you, the membership, to develop. Answers should be kept fairly brief, preferably no more than two or three paragraphs. Responses to each question will be collated by the editor, condensed if necessary, and printed in this section. New questions may also be posed for discussion. Questions should be concise, and should stimulate a wide cross‑section of the membership. Include with your responses or questions the following information: your name, address, phone number, NAUI membership number, dive‑related employment, past diving accomplishments, and a review of your dive teaching experience. Send your materials to Jeffrey Bozanic, c/o NDA News, P.O. Box 14650, Montclair, CA 91763‑1150.
Compiled and Edited by Jeffrey Bozanic, NAUI 5334L
Sources, Jan/Feb 1990, (2:1), pp. 10-16.
NAUI Members' Forum #15
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