Annual fall event turns to economists for look ahead
The Motorcycle Industry Council hosted its 14th Annual Communications Symposium in October, with nearly 300 member company executives representing OEMs, the aftermarket community, industry service organizations and the media in Carson, Calif.
Afterwards, the group was buzzing with cautious optimism after a trifecta of entertaining and thought-provoking presentations that focused on the economy, business growth and social media.
“I think it was our best symposium yet,” MIC chairman Larry Little said. “It was well attended and for those who took the time to participate, I think it was well worth their investment.”
Statistics presented at the event offered that there are more than 80 million millennials (ages 12-32) in the U.S., and most of them are now earning money. “They like our stuff,” MIC president Tim Buche said.
A senior economist at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Jerry Nickelsburg covered a variety of topics like economic patterns from the past, the transformation of the U.S. economy, conditions in Europe and China, fiscal policies and the election.
Among the outtakes from his presentation:
1. The world occurs very differently to millennials who are children of the post-WWII baby boomers. Millennials are the most technologically savvy generation. However, unlike the boomers who never personally knew The Great Depression and only experienced relatively “mild” economic events until recently, the millennials were very affected by the recent deterioration of the economy.
2. Millennials are referred to as “The Cheapest Generation.” They are stashing away savings and their rate of consumption is much different from their predecessors.
3. We are not in a place (economically) where we haven’t been before. Fundamental economic transformations are not uncommon. A glance back into the history books shows that similar transformations took place with the abolition of slavery, the invention of the steam engine (which drove the Industrial Revolution), the onset of practical electricity and the inception of the internal combustion engine.
4. The layoff rate is lower than before. The problem isn’t the rate of unemployment claims. Millions of pre-retirement Americans are now permanently displaced because millions of jobs are just not coming back.
5. When two recessions take place within a short period of time, the recovery period may take up to 10 years.
“I thought Jerry did a great job framing economic trends and highlighting key factors that in the future, may affect the economy,” Little said. “The economy is cyclical in nature and it’s important to be aware of what is possible. He provided us with a realistic picture of what might come. It was a solid reality check. He put things in context and that’s always helpful.”
Following Nickelsburg, attendees were treated to David Nour, a growth strategist, best-selling author and CEO of the Nour Group.
Nour is also a man on a mission. He discovered his passion for two wheels only 24 months ago when his wife and kids gave him a 49cc scooter for Father’s Day. He has already transitioned to a high-performance superbike and he is learning how to work on his own bike, too.
“David’s presentation about how the industry is ripe for the fusion of innovation was valuable,” Little said.
Nour regularly had the crowd in stitches. His presentation touched on things like: challenges to growth, expanding the motorcycle market, dealership shortfalls, outdated business models, engaging customers, relationships and creating communities.
“I thought that David did an outstanding job communicating the issues we all face in the powersports industry. With social media, for instance, we need to learn to communicate in a new and more effective way. His insights as a new enthusiast added tremendous value, too,” said Bob Starr, general manager of Motorsports Communications for Yamaha Motor Corp., USA.
Those interested in learning more about Nour and his offerings should consider picking up a copy of his new book, Relationship Economics.
Patricia Dao of Dominion Powersports Social Ventures delivered the third session, covering social networks and customer relationship management systems. Dao brought the group out of the dark ages with facts about today’s social media landscape, how the world’s 2.3 billion Internet users surf the web and inbound vs. outbound marketing tactics.
She shared definitions and insight on subjects like peer-to-peer sharing, gamification, COI or cost of ignoring, memes concepts, Facebook EdgeRank algorithms, organic vs. paid reach, the future of Facebook and the value of Pinterest.