Starting the MH Image and Marketing Campaign

For well over a decade pros in our great Industry have discussed doing something akin to what the RV Industry has accomplished with their GoRVing campaign.  MHI invested significant coin in studying the idea not many years back.  The desire for the campaign among owners, executives, professionals and associations in our industry is nearly universal. 

Starting the manufactured housing Industry Image and Marketing Campaign MHMSM.com MHProNews.com

Even before we launched MHMarketingSalesManagement.com (MHMSM.com), we have been planning and planting seeds for the long overdue manufactured home image and marketing campaign.  Our name and tag line itself suggested what our Industry needs for turn-around and success: MH Marketing Sales Management Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals. 

So why don't we already have one?

One key answer?  How do we pay for it? 

That has been a big rub.  Many believed that HUD Code manufacturers should all gather hands and pay, passing the costs on through their invoices.  But the factories clearly did not get that to happen, for whatever reasons.
Let's shelve that whole uneventful history, because we have quietly been working with Industry leaders from coast to coast to building consensus for a plan that can change positively:

  • Improve our public image,
  • boost our sales,  PLUS
  • increase our political clout in DC, state and local capitols as well.

We have temporarily dubbed this plan the MH Alliance and Phoenix Project.  The idea is simple enough, and we will be holding GoToMeeting (webinar) online sessions to review the power point of this concept. 

The essence is this.  The MH Alliance will bring together:

  • Manufactured and mobile home owners (HUD Code and pre-HUD Code homeowners)
  • Manufactured housing professionals and
  • Manufactured housing associations together for a joint effort to inform, promote and protect the interests of manufactured housing.

All of the quotes below in favor of this concept are used with permission.  All have already seen the power point, had a chance to discuss this in detail, and have given their feedback and eventually, these words of support that you can read below:

“It is obvious that the interests of manufactured home owners, businesses and industry associations have many common points.  Here in New York, we have home owner groups as part of our association.  There is no doubt we need to improve our Industry's public image and create more happy homeowners. Having reviewed the MH Alliance concept, I see merit to this approach.  This is an idea worthy of the effort to make it a reality.”

– Nancy Geer, Executive Director, NYHousing.org


“The idea of mobilizing a national network of homeowners has great potential.  Are there pitfalls?  Probably.  In my opinion it should be explored cautiously, but it should be explored. This is a group of people who are wholly invested in manufactured housing – they have an equity position that may increase or decrease depending on media portrayals, public perception, government action and availability of financing.  In many respects the interests of homeowners are aligned with the interests of the industry.”

– Mark Bowersox, Executive Director, Indiana Manufactured Housing Association

 

“When Tony first brought up the concept of an image campaign, I was less than enthusiastic for a variety of reasons, primarily believing  it would be a waste of money and resources. After seeing the MH Alliance/Phoenix power point presentation, I was astounded. He has a program that can work, and will work with the right industry support. The leaders of this industry need to act like leaders, put aside their personal interests, and enthusiastically support this program. If they do, it will make a significant positive difference in the way our industry operates, the way the public views us, and ultimately in industry prosperity. What he has is nothing less than a game changer.”

– Ken Rishel, Rishel Consulting Group/Precision Capital Funding

 

“Tony, I had the opportunity to review your MH Alliance/Phoenix Plan PowerPoint presentation.  As always, a good job!  If we as an industry could come together and support this MH Alliance concept as we have traditionally supported 'industry trade shows,' think about the good that this plan could accomplish to advance our Industry.” 

– Dennis Hill, Show Ways Unlimited.

 

“As a manufactured home owner myself, I want to be the very first person to join the MH Alliance.  The MH Alliance/Phoenix Plan is a visionary approach that has the potential to reverse our Industry’s sales trend while benefiting millions of Americans.  I think home owners, Industry professionals and associations should all get behind the MH Alliance program.”

– John Bostick, Sunshine Homes

 

Besides those mentioned above, others have promised their own statements of support for this MH Alliance and Phoenix Project.  We have professionals from finance, insurance, communities, retail along with association leaders and others who have stated their interest and support for this unique approach.  As one person privately said:

“What is their NOT to like about this?”

I recently launched a discussion on LinkedIn about doing an MH Image, PR and Marketing Campaign.  Everyone who has posted has been in favor of doing something!  All have been owners or executives.

Odds are you are thinking pretty much the same.  This is long overdue.

Let me say one more thing that those who posted on LinkedIn would no doubt be interested in hearing. 

The Phoenix portion of the plan has a simple yet ambitious goal. To get to the root cause of what ails our great industry.  We can't just band aid over problems any more.  We must do the right things, time after time after time.
So we will NOT make this available to just 'anybody' or just 'any company.'  Don't misunderstand.

Those who want to be involved don't have to be rich and famous to participate.  What it means is we will have STANDARDS.  Marketing, Sales and Business Best Practices.  Those standards will help insure the practical success of this plan for the retailers, community operators, developers, suppliers, lenders, insurance, associations and other professionals who will WANT to be a part of promises to be a historic effort.

Because the last thing we need is a program that takes off like a rocket, and see it come crashing down.  We want professionals who are willing to do and say the right things, time after time, to be a part of this program.

If you are interested in learning more, please post your name and email address below, or send me an email at Tony@MHMSM.com, and we will share the schedule for an upcoming GoToMeeting webinar.

Learn more so you can earn more.

The MH Alliance/Phoenix Project.  This can be the rebirth for our Industry.

We believe we can take our new home shipment levels back from under 50,000 to over 100,000, 200,000 – and more – shipment levels in a strong, steady fashion.
I want to draw towards the close by making this observation. 

Some of the players who have stated their support are in the MHI camp, others are in the MHARR camp of the Industry.  Some are independent of any group or organization.  While each speaks for themselves and their company, don't you find it promising that we can find common ground on this type of important program?
I do!

My hats off to each of you who have taken a public position in favor of this project.

My deep and abiding thanks to all of those who have contributed their time, experience and wisdom to help devise and refine a plan and program that can become self-funding for Industry success.

 

 

There are always pros and cons to everything.  Let me share the dark side for a moment.

  • Sales have plummeted over 86% in new home sales since 1998.
  • We have lost about 90% of manufactured housing retailers.
  • Dozens (hundreds) of manufactured home factories have closed. 
  • Vacancies grow in manufactured home land lease communities.  Some MHCs look like ghost towns. Some are facing closure, some are in forbearance and bankruptcy.
  • If we don't start selling more new homes, given low sales and production levels, we will run out of 'cheap' used homes.  Many markets already have run out of 'cheap' repos and used homes.

We can't afford to just keep doing nothing to change our fortunes!  We need positive action, and we need it asap.

Take the first step.  Learn more.  Get the facts.  See why others find this idea to be 'a game changer' for the manufactured housing industry.  If you after you have seen this plan, and you think you have a better one, just say so!  If you have ideas on how to make our MH Alliance/Phoenix Project better, that too is welcome.

 

start_your_engines_-_pobre.ch_Flickr_creative_commons_posted_on_MHMSM.com_MHProNews

 

In the subject line of your email, please put  MH Alliance/Phoenix Project of your email to me, Tony@MHMSM.com.  Or if you prefer to post a comment below, you don't have to publicly show your email, I can access it via our Disqus system.

Let's do it. Thank you. # #

Blog post submitted

by L. A.  Tony Kovach
Connect with me on LinkedIn
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

9 thoughts on “Starting the MH Image and Marketing Campaign”

  1. Mike Moore

    The ‘new economy’ we are now experiencing requires, vision, leadership and courage. MH ALLIANCE/PHOENIX PROJECT exhibits all of these qualities and should be an example to other industries. It’s time to acknowledge that the home and the housing industry needs to keep up with the changing lifestyles of people today and Rhee ‘new economy’! It’s interesting and exciting that manufactured housing would be a leader in leading the way.

  2. Boe

    I most certainly agree the need exists and would be interested to see what has been done so far.u00a0 The questions I have are:nn1.u00a0 What kind of time frame are we talking about in terms of length of campaign?u00a0 My recollection of the GO RV stuff was it ran for several years.u00a0 Are we prepared ($$$) for that?nn2.u00a0 What will we say about how we have or plan to overcome our self inflicted problems?u00a0 While the message must be positive we need to be prepared and have response ready for the initial feedback we get.nnI honestly have reservations about this as I stated in a response to an earlier post about this very topic.u00a0 Have we fixed what ails us?u00a0 If the answer is yes then move forward.u00a0 If the answer is no I repeat that we hurt ourselves when someone positively responds to the campaign only to be told that when they visit a dealer we can’t sell them a home.u00a0 Are we ready to launch a campaign that we hope will drive sales?nn

  3. Boe,nGreat questions.u00a0 If you read the above carefully, what you will see is that more than just an image campaign.u00a0 We have built ‘fixes’ into those problems that plagued us for decades.u00a0 So we are not talking about a band aid, but solutions plus image/PR/marketing.nnSet some time aside, and check into an upcoming orientation session, you will see for yourself – the above leaders have, plus others have, and they like what they saw.nnThanks for your candid comments and questions!nntk

  4. Grayson Schwepfinger asked me to review/edit and post the following:nnTony:nnnnnMy response to nyour suggestion that we need a national campaign to promote the industryn is that I couldn’t agree more! u00a0Your remark regarding the RV industry nwas rather coincidental since I made the same observation in an article last nmonth.u00a0nnnnnnnWhen I was npresident of the Pennsylvania Association back u00a0in the 60s we tried a nsimilar program in central the Pennsylvania market area. u00a0At the time nOwens Corning Fiberglas had just completed their second in-depth survey nas to why people that visited a manufactured home sales location did notn buy. u00a0I’m sure these surveys are still available for your nconsideration. My experience is that little has changed over the years. In have always felt that our biggest traffic problem is that the qualifiedn customer when considering housing change doesn’t even consider us as none of the options.u00a0nnnnnnnOwens Corning nidentified seven main reasons such as lack of quality, lack of u00a0resale nvalue, lack of sites, and lack of u00a0financing, etc u00a0for not u00a0buying. nSince only lack of sites and u00a0lack of financing had any validity at thatn time, we decided to attack the other five reasons with a TV u00a0campaign nto increase both traffic and sales. I’m not sure exactly what it did forn sales but at the end of the u00a0three-month program we held a survey and n80 some percent of the people asked said they had a u00a0much more favorablen attitude toward the industry.nnnnnnnMy main concern nin putting this program together was how we would get people to visit nonly good-looking locations with qualified salespeople and not visit a nsubstandard location and again be turned off by the industry. My nsolution to this dilemma was to develop a logo and copyright it. All of nour ads stated,”For u00a0more information visit a dealer displaying this nlogo!” u00a0We supported the program with a monthly fee paid by the dealers nwho were u00a0approved and participated. The Association declined to give naccess and the right to use the logo to anyone they felt was nundesirable. We had nearly 100% participation by the dealers in that narea. The few that held out when they saw that they must join to be ablen to use logo quickly became a member.nnnnnnnI feel very nstrongly that if you create a national program it has u00a0to have some way nto direct traffic toward u00a0the reputable dealers and away from the nundesirables u00a0or the whole program will become counterproductive.nnnnnnnIf you desire any further information on this program or any other assistance I may be able to offer please e-mail me.nnnnnnnGOOD LUCK!nnnnnnnGrayson Schwepfinger

  5. Boe

    Tony – what is the schedule like for the webinar?nnBoe

  6. Derrick Hachey

    I’m beyond excited to learn more about this project. As a member of the formeru00a0MHI image campaign task force I was saddened to see those efforts go by the wayside. I believe the industry as a whole can and will benefit from improved image.

  7. Derrick,nThank you, the positive comments and interest are coming in by phone and email too.nnThis is one of them, that the author has just given me permission to post:nn===nnTony,nWhen sent you email had not read about exciting initiative ndescribed. I salute your alliance plan. Count me in as well as let me nknow how I can truly get behind it. It’s VITAL to our industry.nu00a0nCheers, CraignnnnCraig Bollmannn======nnMHC aficionados know Craig, as do iCafe fans. nnThanks Craig!nnTony

  8. Richard May

    nnnHello Tony,nnWe here at the national trade association for the rent-to-own trade association are looking into the same type of image campaign. We have had PR initiatives for nearly two decades and have been successful but need to take it to the next level. Any unified industry PR/Marketing/Image campaign is a great achievement in of itself and I believe we can learn much from each other.nnnnu00a0nn

  9. Derrick

    This project is tremendously great and much needed. To bring the MH industry together to better our image, reputation, products, and business is long overdue. Will it be easy? Of course not, but then nothing that is truly worthwhile ever is. I applaud Tony and everyone at MHMSM for spearheading and managing this effort. We will be more than happy to participate in any way needed.nu00a0n-Derrick Hachey, Manufactured Home Sourcen

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