Polks’ RV Education 101 Program Gains Traction
North Carolina residents Mark and Dawn Polk have developed a viable niche within the RV industry’s consumer realm over the past 17 years by focusing on training RVers about the intricacies of their RVs — in consumer videos, books and product videos for RV suppliers.
Although their company is called ”RV Education 101,” they’ve taken education of the RV consumer well beyond a freshman college class. Whether it’s a simple walk-through or a more complicated explanation of a particular RV system or feature, the Polks have pretty much got it nailed.
”I was working for a dealership as a sales manager and what brought this whole thing about was that when we would sell a unit we would give them a one-on-one walk-through demonstration on how everything works,” Mark Polk said. ”It took an hour or it took three hours if they had a lot of questions.
”The thing was, we put out so much information during that hour or two or three that they were overwhelmed and couldn’t retain it all. So, they get home, park it, and the next day they call me and say, ‘I can’t remember what you said about the sewer.’
Polk says it struck him at that time that giving the customer something they could keep and refer to would be a better idea.
The Polks — both working at the same Fayetteville, N.C., dealership — produced a video of a walk-through and called it ”RV Education 101” and began offering it for sale through dealers.
”Nobody thought this would work,” Dawn Polk said. ”They thought we were crazy.”
But it worked, and the company grew.
Today, RV Education 101 offers 20 DVDs on subjects such as driving a motorhome, setting up at a campground or towing a trailer. The videos are sold as singles or in sets.
In addition, Mark Polk has written ”The RV Book,” which puts the video subject matter into written form for those who prefer it that way. It’s sold 46,000 hard copies and also available as an e-book through their website (rveducation101.com) and is available on Amazon and at Camping World stores. He also writes his own blog (rvingwithmarkpolk.com)and others for KOA and Go RVing.
The Polks, who put about 6,000 miles a years on their 36-foot 2006 Fleetwood Bounder Class A motorhome, also have expanded into a broader RV orientation video for dealers to give to consumers. ”We suggest that they have their buyers watch the video first and then ask questions during the walk-through,” Dawn Polk said.
Mark Polk authors a monthly e-newsletter that has cultivated 23,000 subscribers and the Polks have produced about 100 product videos for numerous RV suppliers..
”They benefit from being able to show people how their products work,” Dawn Polk said.
On the horizon: moving RV Education 101’s titles to the app universe so they are available via smartphones or tablets.
”I never thought this would continue to grow for 15 or 16 years, but we certainly hit a niche,” Mark Polk said.