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The RV industry’s ongoing Go RVing campaign continues to enjoy solid support among the rank and file of the recreational vehicle industry, with 80% of manufacturers, 82% of suppliers and 61% of dealers giving it either a “highly effective” or “fairly effective” rating in September’s RVBusiness.com industry poll.
Results from the poll, conducted nearly a week before members of the Go RVing Coalition were to continue hammering out financial details for the next three-year-phase of the campaign, include the following:
Dealer assessments of the campaign:
* Highly effective: 24.19%
* Fairly effective: 37.10%
* Marginally effective: 30.65%
* Ineffective: 8.06%
Manufacturer assessments of the campaign:
* Highly effective: 37.25%
* Fairly effective: 43.14%
* Marginally effective: 17.65%
* Ineffective: 1.96%
Supplier assessments of the campaign:
* Highly effective: 41.18%
* Fairly effective: 41.18%
* Marginally effective: 11.76%
* Ineffective: 5.88%
Most survey respondents offered upbeat assessments of the campaign.
“The Go RVing Campaign is a huge success,” one manufacturer wrote. “The industry should continue with this effort and expand all fronts so that the RV lifestyle will reach more consumers.”
Another manufacturer had this response: “I like the united front it shows consumers and other (industries) and its effectiveness in bringing in first-time buyers. What I don’t like is the small percentage of dealers that buy into it. Many customers see the ads, (but) they very seldom see the banners and ad slicks at the dealers’ lots. We need more (of) a commitment from RVDA to get dealers signed up. Ninety percent of the dealers need to be enrolled.”
“I believe the RV industry should continue to do everything possible to expose the general public to the RV lifestyle,” another respondent wrote. “We are now on a roll and to back down or lessen the Go RVing impact would waste the monies already spent during the previous years.”
“I feel the program has done more than anyone ever thought it would,” said another respondent. “I feel the industry needs to add more money to the kitty so there can be more exposure to the general public. We all know advertising pays.”
Said another: “The incredible uptick in RV awareness, acceptance and expansion began with the advent of the Go RVing campaign almost nine years ago. While there are many reasons that can be cited for the expansion of RV interest and sales, the Go RVing campaign is certainly one of the most obvious and the only aspect of industry growth within the control of the RV industry. It would be foolhardy not to continue to expand the campaign’s funding and reach. While the industry has expanded the market, there’s more market to reach.”
Many dealers said they had high expectations for the campaign.
“I believe that this campaign is vitally important to our industry growth and success,” said one retailer, adding, “I won’t be satisfied until Go RVing is as recognizable as ‘Got Milk?’”
Some retailers said RV manufacturers need to pull their weight and not let the cost of the campaign fall solely on retailers and consumers.
“The auto, marine and golf equipment manufacturers spend large amounts of money to promote their products to the public,” one retailer wrote, adding, “RV manufacturers spend as little as possible within the industry and very little if any advertising to the general public. The seal fees should be doubled or tripled to get the RV message to the general public. The RV industry will never be able to impact consumers with minimal amounts of advertising from manufacturers and local advertising from dealers.”
As a secondary question, poll participants were asked, hypothetically, their views concerning an increase to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) seal fees.
Just 29% of dealers would support an increase in the seal fees for the campaign and 56% believe the fees should stay the same. Nearly 10% of dealers said they thought the seal fees should be lowered, while nearly 5% thought that funding for the Go RVing campaign should be dropped altogether.
Supplier responses nearly mirrored those of the dealers, with 26.5% saying that the seal fees should be raised and 61.8% that they should stay the same. Just under 6% of suppliers said the seal fees should be lowered, while a similar number said funding for the Go RVing program should be dropped.
Only 17.65% of manufacturers, meanwhile, thought the seal fees should be raised, while 78.43% recommended keeping them at the same level. Less than 2% of manufacturers said the fees should be lowered and a comparable percentage said the campaign should be scrapped.
“I don’t see any advantage in increasing the fees or the advertisements at this time,” one dealer wrote. “While more advertising might gain us acceptance by people who haven’t considered an RV, the marginal bang for the extra buck probably wouldn’t be worth the expense.”
Another wrote: “The demographics of RV buyers for the next few years indicates we will have a healthy market. In anticipation of this, some would say we should scale back the RVIA seal fees and let the market take its course. The current fees have been accepted by both the dealers and their buyers and we should take advantage of the opportunity to continuously market the RV lifestyle to the retiring ‘baby boomers’ by maintaining the current campaign level.”
Still other survey respondents took the opportunity to note that improvements are needed in other aspects of the Go RVing campaign.
“I believe that the Go RVing campaign is working fine,” said one survey respondent. “What I don’t think is working is the follow-up of sales leads generated by the campaign by both the manufacturers and dealers. I have read about and spoken with different individuals who have requested information, but have not received as much as a postcard recognizing their request. This seems to be the weakest link in the chain of promotion to final sale.”
A small number of dealers also noted that the campaign hasn’t produced tangible results for them.
“I am really in favor of the campaign and what it is doing,” one dealer wrote. “My problem is that my market – Idaho – sees very little of the campaign. I could use the money I donate and be much more effective in my market area.”