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Beneteau’s sales pitch in your living room

As computing power has increased exponentially, so has the power of high-tech marketing.

Realtors create virtual house tours of premium properties to attract far-flung clients. Luxury car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz is taking customers on an entertaining ride through the high-tech inner workings of its vehicles. "Show me, don't tell me" is the motto here.

Although the marketing budget of Mercedes eclipses that of any boatbuilder, virtual walkthroughs are beginning to show up in the marine industry. Check out Beneteau's computer-generated animation of the Beneteau Sense (below), the first model of a new line.

Lagoon Catamarans, owned by Groupe Beneteau, offers a virtual 360-degree view of the deckhouse that shows details of the galley, saloon and inside steering station.

Some may dismiss "virtual reality" as fancy technology that does not replace a walkthrough at a boat show. But it can help whet customers' appetite so they will make the trek to the dock - a prerequisite to close a sale.

And that's smart marketing.

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