The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported that it has put RVs in the media spotlight with a spate of high-profile stories and interviews in major news outlets. According to the RVIA Today Express newsletter, recent highlights include:
- On June 23, long-time RVIA spokespersons Brad and Amy Herzog appeared on FOX Business’s “The Willis Report” to offer RV travel tips against the backdrop of a Winnebago Tribute motorhome. While in New York, the Herzogs also taped a segment for the “Better Show,” a nationally-syndicated TV program. That interview will air in the next few weeks.
- On June 27, Thor CEO Bob Martin was interviewed on CNBC about the industry’s resurgence and the continued growth of the RV market. Martin told viewers that RVing is growing in popularity not just among baby boomers nearing retirement, but also among younger demographics.
- From June 27-30, editors for Jalopnik.com, a major automotive website, took a Fleetwood Storm motorhome provided by RVIA to the NASCAR race in Watkins Glen, NY. Preliminary coverage that includes the RV went up on the site during the weekend, and more is expected in the coming days.
- A June 9 story on AmericanProfile.com published a story focused on the history of RVing. The article included an overview of today’s RV market, as well amenities currently available in RVs.
For a complete list of RV media coverage, visit the News Room at RVIA.org.
Swift follow-up is the key to getting the highest return on Go RVing leads, according to a sales match analysis by global data and marketing solutions firm IHS Automotive, which incorporated Polk into its business last year.
According to a press release, the analysis shows 36% of total RV sales made by Go RVing prospects are made within 90 days of the lead entering the system. A total of 53% are made within 180 days.
“This study confirms that acting quickly is critical to getting the most from Go RVing leads,” said Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia. “Dealers can sort the leads by buying timeframe, so this allows sales people to contact prospects before they said they are most likely to purchase an RV.”
Go RVing provided 208,000 leads gathered from July 2011 through December 2012 and IHS matched those names through a registration database of new and used RV registrations through June of 2013. This provided an adequate buying time for the analysis.
The study also found that out of the total universe of U.S. households, the national new RV purchase rate for that period was .36%. The Go RVing lead rate of purchase for a new RV was .84% – more than double the U.S. household rate. Purchase rates for used RVs were even higher among Go RVing leads, at 1.5%. When combined, the total purchase rate for Go RVing leads was 2.34%, which is impressive when compared to the 1% to 2% rate the Direct Marketing Association considers good for lead conversions.
Go RVing Leads Plus is just one component of the optional Go RVing Dealer Tie-In program that, in addition to leads, provides access to professional Go RVing video downloads and a high-resolution image library that dealers can use and customize for promotional materials suitable for television, print, and web advertising. A high quality Go RVing banner is also included. The dealer tie-In Program for 2014 is available to dealers now for $225.
Dealers can set their Go RVing account to email leads to the dealership at a desired timeframe by simply by logging into the “Industry Only” side of the site and choosing how often they would like to receive them.
For the third consecutive year, the Go RVing Coalition is partnering with the Outdoor Channel to co-sponsor the network’s popular “Spring Fever” Sweepstakes.
The month-long sweepstakes kicked off on April 1 and for the first time ever will offer the grand prize winner the choice of an RV – either a Lance 825 truck camper or a Lance 1575 travel trailer. Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. was selected in lottery among RVIA members to provide the sweepstakes prize vehicle. There are also outdoor-themed daily prizes being awarded during the sweepstakes.
In addition to completing the on-line entry form for the “Spring Fever” Sweepstakes, entrants can gain an additional entry by participating in a photo contest component that is a new element to this year’s promotion. Entrants are prompted to upload a photo depicting “My Favorite Getaway” with a brief description. They can also share the photo and story on various social media platforms. Website visitors are then able to vote on their favorite photo and story.
The “Spring Fever” Sweepstakes is supported both on-air and online with four custom vignettes that feature Outdoor Channel personalities talking about the appeal of RVs for outdoor enthusiasts. The Outdoor Channel will also promote the benefits of RV travel through outdoorchannel.com, a custom “Spring Fever” sweepstakes microsite, targeted e-mails, and the network’s social media outlets, including a Go RVing co-branded trip itinerary widget.
“Working with the Outdoor Channel on the ‘Spring Fever’ Sweepstakes has been tremendously productive for Go RVing,” said James Ashurst, RVIA vice president of communications and marketing. “The partnership has helped Go RVing expand awareness of RV travel and camping and generate leads among the very important outdoor enthusiast market.”
In 2013, the “Spring Fever” sweepstakes generated a total of 162,632 entries, including 2,331 opt-in leads for the Go RVing database that requested additional information from Go RVing and its industry partners.
The Go RVing Dealer Tie-In Program for 2014 is still available to dealers for $225 through the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) website, according to a press release.
RVDA reported that participating dealers will be receiving a bright green and white indoor/outdoor banner as part of the 2014 tie-in program. These eye-catching, high quality banners provide participating dealers with another promotional tool to increase consumer interest and drive traffic to the dealership.
“Dealers who participate in the Go RVing Dealer Tie-In Program are able to leverage the power of the national Go RVing campaign to promote their dealership using high-quality leads, professional images, and now banners,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “These new banners are an effective way to reach consumers and build on the visibility the Go RVing campaign provides.”
Dealers can sign up now to get the most from the benefits of Dealer Tie-Ins, including Leads Plus and professional photographs and video footage that can be customized for use in their marketing efforts. A recent study showed that Go RVing leads produced purchase rates for new RVs at twice the national rate.
Dealers can go to the RVDA website to sign up and put these professional marketing and publicity tools to work for their businesses. For more information about Go RVing Dealer Tie-In Programs, contact Chuck Boyd at RVDA by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (703) 591-7130 x113. To sign up right away, go to the online form.
Christopher Skram of Aurora, Colo., has been selected as the winner of the national RV Tailgate Sweepstakes, sponsored by Go RVing and Sports Illustrated.
Chosen from more than 155,000 entries, Skram took delivery of the 2014 Keystone Passport 2250 Ultra-Light travel trailer at Windish RV in Lakewood, Colo., on Feb. 12 with his wife Alice. According to a press release, the couple just retired from the healthcare field and were already avid RVers, camping, hunting and traveling with their truck camper.
The couple will celebrate their 30th anniversary in July and plan to start traveling more. “Our grandsons will be on spring break soon, and of course they want to be the first to use it,” said Skram. “But after that, Alice and I think our first trip will be to the Rocky Mountain National Park and a huge family reunion in July where everyone camps. I have 11 siblings, Alice has 10, and we have our own two children and grandchildren. There’s a lot of family to see from coast to coast.”
The RV Tailgate Sweepstakes was promoted throughout the Sports Illustrated On Campus Tailgate Tour presented by Go RVing this past fall that featured stops at college football matchups, including Penn State vs. Syracuse, TCU vs. Oklahoma, Florida vs. LSU, and Auburn vs. Texas A&M, as well as on SI.com and through the Go RVing Facebook page.
The tour featured a Winnebago Adventurer Class A motorhome and a Keystone RV travel trailer as the centerpieces to showcase how RVs are the ideal tailgate vehicles and provide fans the opportunity to tour the vehicles and have a hands-on RV tailgate experience. There were also other fan engagement activities, including tailgate cooking competitions, games and giveaways, and autograph and photo opportunities with Sports Illustrated personalities and college football alumni.
Editor’s Note: The following article appeared in the Winter 2014 edition of RVIA Today detailing initiatives and plans for the Go RVing “Away” campaign in the coming year.
On the heels of two successful years, Go RVing’s “AWAY” national advertising effort is back for a third campaign.
Expanding the proven mix of integrated advertising in the nation’s top television, print, digital and social media outlets, the campaign utilizes emotion-evoking messages and images designed to resonate with the target markets and continue to propel the demand for RVs forward.
The $13 million 2014 media budget is highlighted by the campaign’s first-ever tie-in with a live music festival – Live Nation’s Jamboree in the Hills, known as the “Super Bowl of Country Music.” The 38th annual festival in Morristown, Ohio, will attract 100,000 attendees and feature country music notables including Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Montgomery Gentry, Darius Rucker and Diamond Rio. With most attendees camping on the festival grounds for the four days, two custom vignettes featuring headliners and Go RVing-provided RVs will be part of the sponsorship package. Those vignettes will air on CMT.
Product integrations continue to be an important element in Go RVing efforts and will include a spring RV sweepstakes with the Outdoor Channel and consumer events with Garden & Gun and Country Living where consumers will be able tour RVs for a hands-on experience.
Last summer, Go RVing produced 30- and 60-second “Victory” TV spots depicting family tailgating traditions that were the centerpieces of widely successful college football/tailgating initiatives that extended the campaign’s reach well into the fall. That effort will be expanded and repeated in the fall of 2014 with ESPN, Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports.
With race fans being another target market whose interests easily align with RVing, Go RVing will air TV spots on the JumboTron at the main entrance of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2014 Indianapolis 500 where over 1 million people will see the ads over the three day event.
Go RVing’s television portion of the media buy includes a partnership with Destination America, a Discovery network, to air custom profiles of real RVers. With its focus on exploring the place, people and stories of the United States, it offers a great fit for the emotionally-driven messages of Go RVing’s television commercials. Throughout the year, Go RVing spots and custom-produced programming will also be seen on FS1, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, the Outdoor Channel and CMT.
The broadcast plan also includes direct response advertising on many other popular networks from January through December. All of these outlets have a solid record of running Go RVing spots at optimum times of day and delivering strong lead response.
Digital media advertising is constantly evolving and remains a centerpiece of Go RVing’s effort. In addition to banner ads appearing on top websites and search engines, this year Go RVing will launch ads that are tailored to individuals through native advertising.
Native ads allow advertisers to bring a custom message to online viewers through a variety of mediums including video, providing a uniquely individualized experience. Consumers are able to link directly to Go RVing.com through ads that are running on lead-generating sites such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook as well as over a dozen popular consumer sites.
The print portion of the 2014 plan includes magazines that offer a strong demographic for the ads and a good editorial environment. Issues featuring Go RVing ads began to appear in January and will continue through September.
Go RVing continues to seek multifaceted partnerships with its advertisers and seven of the print publications are providing added components like custom vignettes, pull & save sponsored booklets, tablet apps and branded websites. As part of the partnership with Woman’s Day, the popular Casserole Queens produced two videos demonstrating casserole recipes to make ahead and bring on an RV vacation.
The “AWAY” campaign will continue to drive consumers to GoRVing.com, where prospects are provided comprehensive information to help guide them through the purchase process and RV travel experience.
Go RVing’s “AWAY” emotion-driven campaign has proven to be very effective since launching in 2012. An Advertising Effectiveness Study conducted last year found that 39% of the core target market (families age 30–49 and empty nesters age 50–64) recalled seeing RV advertising in 2013 and 20% remembered seeing Go RVing ads specifically, up slightly from 18% in 2010.
In examining the likeability of the ads, 75% of core families (up from 64% in 2010), 68% of empty nesters (up from 50%) and 73% of Latinos (up from 57%) viewed the ads favorably. The ads also moved the needle on consumer motivation with 37% of core families and 27% of empty nesters saying they were more likely to consider buying an RV.
Go RVing’s exhibit at the popular Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), held Feb. 14–16 in Charleston, S.C., helped introduce 3,000 event attendees to RV travel and camping.
According to a press release, Go RVing was participating at SEWE for the second year through its media buy with event sponsor Garden & Gun magazine. Now in its 31st year, SEWE featured more than 500 artists and exhibitors presenting their products to more than 40,000 attendees.
Go RVing’s display featured a Lance Camper travel trailer and a Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite travel trailer that were open for tours. Attendees could also make s’mores and enjoy barbecue sandwiches in a campground like setting.
“Last year showed that this was a great event for Go RVing to showcase RV products to families as a tremendously fun, flexible and affordable way to travel,” said James Ashurst, vice president of communications and marketing for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “We had another successful year reaching a lot of people squarely in our target demographics.”
Go RVing began expanding its marketing efforts last year to include consumer events with RVs on-site to provide a hands-on experience. Through partnerships with Garden & Gun, Country Living and Sports Illustrated, more than 15,000 potential consumers toured RVs at major consumer events.
In addition to the just-concluded SEWE event, Go RVing also plans on-site consumer integrations in 2014 with Country Living at fairs this summer, at Live Nation’s Jamboree in the Hills country music festival in May, and through another Go RVing tailgate tour with Sports Illustrated at college football games in the fall.
“These events create strong consumer interest in RVing,” said Ashurst. “The on-site displays bring the RV to life and allow us to connect with consumers in a memorable way.”
Editor’s Note: The following is a column by Jeff Hirsch, chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and owner of New Hampshire-based Campers Inn, focusing on how dealers can effectively engage employees following severe cutbacks during the recession. The column appears in the latest issue of RV Executive Today.
Few things are more enjoyable than providing a workplace where employees feel that they are important, empowered, and fulfilled. As an employer, being able to provide this environment is a reward in and of itself and, for me, is one of the great things about being in business.
However, I’m sure you remember how difficult it was to provide such an environment just a few years ago. The recession forced all of us to cut spending, including spending on employee training and incentives. We also took other extraordinary measures to ensure the continued existence of our dealerships. As we cut back on these expenses, we changed the spending habits – and sometimes even the culture – of our employees. Our employees learned how to be lean, make the dollars stretch, and be more productive.
Economic conditions created a new normal, and it seemed in a split second we were transformed into permanent survival mode.
Here’s the problem: Many of us owners have ramped up since the recession. We’ve begun to spend more, growing our businesses and casting off the scarcity mentality. But many of our employees are still operating with a mindset of scarcity.
Recently, one of my managers told me he was hesitant to spend, based on Campers Inn’s past policies. He let me know that he’s been told many times that business has ramped up and we need to increase personnel and once again invest some of our profits back into the business. It’s almost as if the recession caused a sort of permanent fear of spending among our employees, and it’s hard to break this mindset.
This is not an easy problem to fix. Our employees are trying to do what’s right for the business, but their outlooks may actually be holding us back. We need to get them reengaged and reenergized. According to an article in the November 2013 issue of Talent Management magazine, companies are reporting much higher turnover rates in 2013 than in 2012 as frustrated employees have started looking for new career opportunities. The article says that employee engagement at some companies is declining, along with productivity and profitability.
Various studies show that employees who are fully engaged can make a tremendous difference on a company’s financials, lifting profitability by 22%, productivity by 43%, and sales by 37%. So we need to continually foster engagement with good communication, support, and training. Now that we owners and general managers have changed our mindset, it’s our task to help respark our employees.
James Ashurst, vice president of public relations and advertising for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), presented a compilation of public relations and Go RVing highlights from the past year during the Louisville Show’s Outlook Breakfast.
After the breakfast, Ashurst shared with RVBusiness future marketing strategies for 2014 and beyond.
“Our goal remains simple: grow and expand the RV market. Do what we know works, while constantly seeking out new and innovative approaches such as better utilizing social media to drive the entire industry forward,” he said. “Clearly, the numbers show that extending our promotion later into the fall and focusing on activities like tailgating, whether at a college football game or your daughter’s soccer tournament, really resonated with consumers. Further, bringing the RV product directly to the consumer to walk through and experience first-hand proved very effective in terms of showcasing the versatility of today’s RV.”
Ashurst elaborated on new partnerships slated for 2014, including Go RVing serving as a premier sponsor at Live Nation’s Jamboree in the Hills, a huge, multiday country music festival that draws tens of thousands of consumers, as well as top-tier talent like Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert and Tim McGraw. “We will set up in the campground area where consumers can experience not only the latest and greatest in RVs, but watch acoustic sessions from today’s top artists,” Ashurst said.
In addition, RVIA will continue to work with top-tier cable networks like the Travel Channel to “not only showcase our advertising, but to work RVs into their shows and series over the course of the year.”
Ashurst also reported that Go RVing would continue with the popular “Away” ad campaign, determining that the message was still effective and carried weight with target audiences. “Historically, every three years Go RVing would roll out a new advertising push,” he said. “However, after talking with the Go RVing Coalition, we think the ‘Away’ campaign strikes the right chord with consumers, and as demonstrated this year, ‘Away’ can be executed in a variety of ways to appeal to the consumer.
“So in 2014, we will create yet another ‘Away’ advertising spot. It will allow us to evolve the messaging, while drastically reducing our creative costs, thus allowing for more dollars to be spent on our promotional efforts across PR, advertising and partnerships.”
Addressing consumers’ compulsion with social media and the Internet, Ashurst noted, “We will continue our push in the digital space. You have to be where the consumer is, and today and tomorrow’s consumer is online. Go RVing has the largest and most-engaged profile in the RV space on the web — whether through our Facebook page, our Twitter activity and increasingly through Pinterest.
“As consumers spend more and more time online in both researching and shaping their opinion of products, it is imperative that Go RVing continue to be a leader in information, compelling, engaging content, as well as the conduit that drives business directly to your dealerships.”
As increasing numbers of RV enthusiasts gravitate to social media, Go RVing finds itself in rarified company.
In June, Go RVing announced that its Facebook page had reached 100,000 followers — putting the page in an elite group of brand pages who achieved that large a following. Facebook reports only 1% of all its brand-affiliated pages reach that status.
Just three months later, Go RVing has doubled its following to over 207,000.
The biggest boost in the organic growth of the fan base is attributed to the sharing of the daily posts which average more than 300 shares per week — meaning current Go RVing followers are enjoying the posts and choosing to repost them on their walls for their friends to see.
Additionally, the current #RVTailgateSweeps has proven popular and has contributed an estimated 5,000 new followers since the partnership with Sports Illustrated and coordinating sweepstakes launched at the end of August. The sweepstakes entry form is available through an app on the Go RVing Facebook page.
“As more and more consumers opt to consume their media via digital platforms, Go RVing continues to up our game in terms of producing compelling content that consumers can both access as well as share. With this kind of growth, that recipe is clearly working,” said James Ashurst, RVIA’s vice president of advertising and public relations. “With many of Go RVing’s Facebook posts also linking to our Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter properties, the viral nature of digital marketing is putting Go RVing’s message in front of more consumers and potential buyers.”