iWaterways.com Sets Sail With Online Contest

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IWaterways.com is expected to begin its first marketing push today to promote its newly launched Web site.


To get the attention of enthusiasts within the $44 billion water sports industry, the site will launch "The Greatest Escape Contest."


To enter, individuals are asked to write a 250-word essay describing their idea of a perfect water sports escape. On Oct. 15, iWaterways.com will announce seven grand-prize winners who will have their ultimate fantasy vacation wish (up to $75,000 in value) granted.


Winners will be outfitted with state-of-the-art electronics to feed information back to the site so visitors to iWaterways.com can follow their adventures.


"We want to get people familiar with the site," said Mark Lavelle, president of iWaterways.com, Houston. "The idea behind the contest is the Internet makes a lot of new things possible that weren't possible before. We make things possible in boating that weren't possible before."


A multichannel marketing campaign will accompany the contest. A radio campaign will run in areas that have a large concentration of water sports enthusiasts, including south Florida, the Great Lakes region, Texas and California. Print ads will also run, with the bulk of the advertising coming during the summer boating season. The site will also establish a presence at boat shows around the country.


A number of online marketing deals were under discussion at press time, including portal agreements, banner buys and e-mail marketing efforts.


iWaterways.com launched Feb. 17 at the Miami International Boat Show. The site offers a catalog of 50,000 marine parts and accessories. It also serves as a lead referral service for boat dealers. Consumers can search its database of new and used boats. Interested buyers can have information sent to a network of dealers.


"We wanted to make the site like walking through a boat show," said Lavelle.
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