There’s a significant difference between advertising and educating.
It is a difference that some will instinctively grasp, but others may have a problem defining.
The difference is a fundamental one.
It can literally be worth billions of dollars to the manufactured housing industry.
Who says? A careful review of the facts indicate it.
As those who are following the true State of the Manufactured Housing Industry in November 2017 series know from Monday’s report – linked below – because all sales are local, that distinction between ads, education, and best practices could mean millions of dollars in more sales at the local retail or community level.
As Frank Rolfe and MHProNews have each said in their own unique ways, it’s thus significant to the front-line industry professional, managers, owners, executives, and investors.
Because you can advertise something that is basically understood; say
- tooth paste,
- cell phones,
- or various forms of conventional housing.
Because of the difference between education and advertising, in America today, you can even successfully advertise tiny houses.
Given that someone accepts the premise that manufactured housing is misunderstood. Then it should be obvious that need isn’t for more ads, or even slicker ads under the guise of ‘story telling.’
If misunderstanding is the problem, then logically, isn’t the obvious need for more and better education? Isn’t it education that will create the most impact with those seeking understanding?
The short video further below is educational, it wasn’t a paid ad for the speaker. Thus it is arguably more powerful for the target audience. Here’s Rolfe at an educational event, in his own words.
Since words have meaning, one must first begin with the definitions, and then the Daily Business News will provide an examples between ads and education.
Definitions, Per Google…
Google’s dictionary function defines “advertising” as follows.
- the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services.
“movie audiences are receptive to advertising”
o advertisements collectively.
“despite being instructed to take the signs down, he says he has no intention of removing the advertising”
Google defines “advertise” as follows.
gerund or present participle: advertising
- describe or draw attention to (a product, service, or event) in a public medium in order to promote sales or attendance.
“a billboard advertising beer”
o seek to fill (a vacancy) by putting a notice in a newspaper or other medium.
“for every job we advertise we get a hundred applicants”
synonyms: publicize, make public, make known, announce, broadcast, proclaim, trumpet, call attention to, bill, promulgate; More
o make (a quality or fact) known.
“Meryl coughed briefly to advertise her presence”
notify (someone) of something.
“some prisoners advertised the French of this terrible danger”
Google defines an “advertising campaign” as follows.
- an organized course of action to promote a product or service.
Given the definitions, one might make the case that what the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, and 3 other MHI firms are doing is ‘advertising.’
This difference is significant and literally could – if properly acted upon – be worth billions to the industry.
That means, it’s worth millions to a business at the local level.
The Facts Matter
The manufactured housing industry dropped from shipping over 372,000 homes nearly 20 years ago. Yes, financing fiascos were part of that meltdown. In viewing those shipment totals think: selling to a retailer, developer or community; who then sells to the end user. Thus a shipment is similar to a housing start in conventional building.
But with financing available for qualified buyers today, what’s the excuse for such low total sales and shipment levels?
Per MHI’s latest estimate, over 92,000 homes is about what the industry will finish with in 2017, 19 years after the last peak of 1998.
The difference between advertising and education is crucial for business owners, executives, sales, or leasing professionals to understand. Because as our Monday Morning Sales Meeting video seminar described, all marketing and all sales are taking place at a local level.
That’s the aha moment for many professionals, who may not realize how that fine line makes a difference.
By contrast, education is defined differently than advertising. Again, the following is per Google’s dictionary function.
noun: education; noun: an education
the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.
“a new system of public education”
synonyms: teaching, schooling, tuition, tutoring, instruction, coaching, training, tutelage, guidance; More
the theory and practice of teaching.
“colleges of education”
a body of knowledge acquired while being educated.
plural noun: educations
“his education is encyclopedic and eclectic”
synonyms: learning, knowledge, literacy, scholarship, enlightenment
“a woman of some education”
information about or training in a particular field or subject.
an enlightening experience.
“a day with those kids was an education in patience and forbearance”
Example and Disclaimer
The Inside MH Road Show on MHLivingNews uses an interview/discussion style that has a goal of educating, by allowing the person or persons to tell their story, their way.
As such, MHLivingNews has done very few ‘advertising videos.’ The goals and methods of the two forms of communication are in several ways, different.
When our parent operation, Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC does an advertising video, it’s still often not the same as others – and perhaps that difference is why they are more effective with prospects – than what other more typical or even ‘story-style ads’ would be.
Because if Rolfe is correct in saying that most Americans and the media don’t understand our industry – and our years of experience suggests that he is right on that point – then education is what’s needed before one can break through to reach the wider target audience.
Just for Fun…
Just for fun, while at Royer Mobile Homes in Opelousas, LA, we shot a few seconds of footage with our iPhone of our 10-year-old son, Tamas.
It wasn’t meant to be developed into a commercial, we would have used different video gear for that purpose. The intent was fun.
That said, having seen the MHI ‘video campaign,’ we decided to visually demonstrate for the owners, investors, executives, managers, and the rank and file of MHLand the difference between an ad and education.
So, we took a couple of hours yesterday and created what you see below.
Because – as Frank Rolfe has dramatically said on the video shown above – the vast majority of the public doesn’t understand what a manufactured home actually is.
That being so, it is logically obvious that it becomes difficult to advertise something that is misunderstood. Doing so may ingrain stereotypes, rather than remove them. Due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what’s wrong – and thus what the solutions are – is it possible that the MHI campaign could backfire?
A Demo, Not Originally Planned
With that backdrop, here above is what an ad might look like.
What you see below is what an interview or discussion looks like. FYI, the couple’s story can be found at this link here.
To understand what the MHI campaign is, if you missed it, the Daily Business News’ initial analysis is linked here.
The differences for the industry are in the billions. At the local retail or community level, that difference could be worth millions.
MHI’s own data that reflects a dramatic drop since 1998 reveals that it’s a difference that must be understood, and applied.
Again, as a disclaimer, using the marketing lens, what the industry needs is education at the local level. It may not be as sexy sounding as story telling or adverting. But as the leaders near the end of this video below reveal, education and best practices are key parts of the solution to the wide array of problems of the industry.
Education and best practices looks, feels. and works quite differently than what MHI’s campaign is doing. By MHI and their 4 members are calling what they are doing story telling, it may honor those fine home owners featured.
But by definition – isn’t what they are doing, advertising?
How an authentic campaign works will be the subject of a report next week, perhaps as early as Monday morning. Stay tuned. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, fact check, analysis, and commentary.)
Note 1: Thanks to for those who directly and/or through social media are sharing their appreciation for our pro-Industry, pro-growth, pro-bottom line solution oriented industry coverage.
(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.
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