Brand new marketing strategies paying off

Posted on Dec. 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The RV industry has made its comeback. That much is sure.

And a large reason has been the industry’s shift in marketing strategies and techniques.

Recently, advertising campaigns led by Go RVing have skewed younger, attempting to capture such groups as young families and sports fans, as well as couples who no longer have children at home.

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association and Go RVing have commenced an “aggressive” marketing campaign to reach that larger audience, said B.J. Thompson, chairman of the RVIA public relations committee.

Carrying a message of affordability, flexibility and family friendliness, the industry has tried to increase the visibility of RVs through TV ads, national and local news reports, and partnerships with large media sources. An increased social media presence has also contributed to the industry’s advertising advances.

Industry leaders contend that RVs are “everywhere,” the theme of the industry’s annual national trade show.

Thompson listed several places RVs were featured in mass media over the past year, including ESPN’s College Game Day, Travel Channel’s “Trip Flip,” the Outdoor Channel’s “Spring Fever” event and an “Elevate your Tailgate” spot on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Peter King, Sports Illustrated’s football writer, took his month-long training camp tour in a donated Jayco vehicle this past summer.

King spoke Tuesday morning, Dec. 3, about that trip and the exposure the product got among National Football League players and coaches as he made his way across the country.

The marketing overhaul has been more efficient and effective than previous attempts, said Bob Wheeler, co-chair of the Go RVing Coalition.

In 2006, the RVIA spent $16 million on advertising. That got the group 2.3 billion impressions, which represents how many times an advertisement is seen.

This year, the association and Go RVing are projected to spend $12.3 on advertising, which should translate to roughly 3.8 billion impressions.

James Ashurst, vice president of public relations and advertising, said the industry’s advertising success can be attributed to its mix of highlighting traditional RV uses with non-traditional ones.

While still acknowledging the traditional camping and travel uses of RVs, the big gains have come from advertisements’ highlighting of tailgating and family travel to events like youth athletic games.

In fact, Go RVing’s “Away” campaign has been so successful that Ashurst says they’ll continue it.

He said marketing campaigns usually last about three years. But the “Away” campaign, in its third year, will be extended at least another year. Ashurst said another commercial will be filmed soon.

RVIA Chairman Doug Gaeddert suggested there is one area marketing officials should consider that has yet to be promoted.

At the conclusion of Tuesday morning’s opening breakfast, Gaeddert urged advertisers to work up a career opportunity spot for future outreach and keep up with demand for parts and vehicles.

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