Called “RV Open Road,” the magazine features editorial content designed to help consumers better enjoy their RVing experience as well as advertisements showcasing a number of LCI’s myriad RV products. In addition, there’s a digital version of the magazine people can view online at the RV Open Road blog, also part of LCI’s consumer outreach.
“We were tasked as a department to come up with a consumer catalog, and we had made a couple of dealer catalogs for the aftermarket. While they were successful and great for dealers and they used that catalog a lot for buying, it wasn’t really an engaging resource for campers,” said Jarod Lippert, LCI’s director of marketing and media.
“If I was going to make a retail consumer catalog, I really wanted to give RVers something that they could get engaged with,” he continued. “A parts catalog with a bunch of prices and pictures – I didn’t think that cut it. The idea of the magazine is to show our products and give RVers and consumers and campers something they can engage with and read and enjoy. I thought that was a much better way of reaching people who might not know who we are.”
At 100,000 copies, the premier issue was distributed about a month ago and was designed to hit the market in time for the spring buying season. There was no charge to the more than 200 participating dealers who received a box of 125 issues, or more upon request. LCI also included a free display stand.
“The hope is that consumers who are waiting for their rig to get worked on and sitting in the service department, or they’re shopping for a new rig and sitting in the finance department, will pick the magazine up, read about the Waste Master hose and look in the dealership and say, ‘Hey, the Waste Master hose is sitting right there,’” Lippert said.
“We are relatively new to the aftermarket,” he continued. “We have a lot of dealers just getting set up on selling programs, whether it be the Waste Master, or the Alignment Safety Center. We’re trying to add value to the dealerships. As we get stronger dealer partners – which we are, we’re gaining ground there fast – we are trying to add value to their dealerships and to their service departments and parts and accessories stores. The end goal is the consumer picks up the magazine and sees that product in the store and it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Among the editorial articles in the first issue are: Discover the Top 10 Joys of RVing; Ten Steps to Get Your RV Road Ready; and Spread an Epidemic of Kindness by RV, which is about the ARK Project Now effort that LCI was instrumental in arranging for a motorhome donation so the group of college-aged men could continue their nationwide philanthropy. Additionally, there are articles on camping apps, cooking in an RV and a Q&A with Gary Bunzer, LCI’s “RV Doctor” spokesman.
“The point of this was to create strong content through reaching out to bloggers and people who actually live the life. It tells the story of the RV lifestyle – and we shamelessly scatter our products throughout the issue,” Lippert explained.
“If you look at the line of products we have – and this is the other problem that I have with consumer advertising – we make so many things. I mean who else makes everything from sewer hoses to leveling systems? With our breadth of products, it’s hard to tell that story. But it’s easy to tell it in the overall camping lifestyle because we touch every bit of camping. It’s a huge amount of product to get across, and this was a really interesting and engaging way to do it,” he said.