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MH Image Lessons

October 28th, 2012 No comments

The political campaign season is soon to wide down, but let's not miss some amazing image lessons we all should learn that could advance manufactured housing, our business or career. These lessons are literally worth tens or hundreds of billions to our industry, if we absorb and apply them.

While some of this may seem to be a political commentary at first blush, please look at the following dispassionately as it is useful recent analogy to see the priceless lessons to our industry. That the take away comes from this election campaign season is only a convenient analogy for us to use as a high profile example.

For months, the Obama Campaign tarred and feathered Mitt Romney through attack ads and stump speaches. They tried to paint Romney as a vulture capitalist who killed companies, was heartless, allowed a wife of a fired worker to die as a result, shipped jobs overseas with abandon, cared only for the rich, didn't care for the common person, etc, etc. Did it hurt Romney in the polls?

Yes, indeed it did.

In fact, it hurt so much that Republicans 40 days ago where beginning to panic. President Obama's lead in the polls was significant and growing in some key battleground states. Republicans were calling on Mitt to shake up his campaign staff. Mitt said the staff was doing just fine, a reply that caused some to panic even more. Maybe Mitt knew what he wanted to do, regardless, he stayed the course.

We know what happened, but let's recount it for the value of the lesson.

When the first debate between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney took place, Romney was trailing in the voter preference polls going in. By at the end of the 90 minute debate, Romney was widely seen as winning that encounter. The momentum started to shift almost immediately in Romney's favor.

At the debate, when Mitt corrected the president on this or that campaign line that Obama used on the stump, the president began to back away. Mitt held his head high, Obama hung his head. Drudge showed the following image to capture the sense of the debate.

Image.

That side-by-side photo captured the sense of that night's event.

Even with Democratic partisans saying that a more aggressive Joe Biden and Barack Obama won the next three debates, the momentum has continued in favor of the Romney-Ryan ticket. Why?

The Straw Man Principle

Let's hypothesize that someone opposes you, for whatever reason. We will call the opposition Mr. O and call you Mr. R.

Let's presume that you – Mr. R – are better looking, have a more successful track record and is a competitor.

Let's further suppose that Mr. O doesn't think he can beat you in a fair discussion or comparison. What might Mr. O do? (For the record, we are not advocating this, this is explaining a process, which we don't have to like or agree with to recognize it.)

Mr. O can set up a Straw Man, and try to get others to believe that Mr. R is that Straw Man.

  • Dictionary.com says a “straw man” is:
  • A sham argument set up to be defeated.

So Mr. O, being a shrewd dude, decides to find/use anything he can on Mr. R that just doesn't look or sound good.

Then, Mr. O starts telling others as often as possible that less than favorable narrative about Mr. R.

While this may be immoral, for the purposes of someone that justifies the end by any means, Mr. O doesn't care if his portrayal of Mr R is accurate or not. All that matters to Mr O is that Mr. R becomes diminished.

Now, let's return to the political stage of the presidential debate, before circling to the lesson for manufactured housing marketing and image.

Barack Obama suddenly had to confront not a straw man, but the real Mitt Romney. Romney didn't look like a guy who would rush us back to the bad old policies of George Bush. He looked like a successful business man, a man who turned around an Olympics, as Governor balanced budgets and created a surplus working with Democrats. In a word, Mitt looked presidential.

What that did was explode the straw man arguments being used against Mitt. Thus Romney could lay out his facts, comparing his record with Barack Obama's. The sheer shock and surprise value of that to millions would give Romney an edge over Barack, especially with swing voters.

Folks, here is where we leave the campaign and turn to Manufactured Housing for our lesson.

Looking at the Lesson Learned

Industry professionals know and realize that manufactured housing is an amazing product. We know that we can produce an entry level home for less, as well mid level or a 'residential style home' that rivals or exceeds what a typical site builder can do.

Pros know we offer a quality, we greener, great value home. But that is not the image that we have…why not?

In a phrase, negative media and negative perceptions. There is a 'straw man' about manufactured housing that exists.

It is up to us who market and sell to explode those myths. We have to oppose the straw men against us with the facts! This isn't theory, this is the proven experience of years of doing it myself as well as by a few others.

On my Pinterest board for manufactured housing, one of the images I use is this one below.

We as a professional, business owner/executive or collectively as an industry either define ourselves, or others will define us.

Yes, folks, this photo above is a HUD Code Manufactured Home! A photo like this above – properly used – explodes the myth of the slick sided, metal on metal 'mobile home' or 'trailer house.'

We will talk about 'proper use' that makes this work for us in another column.

In the Obama vs. Romney campaign, each seeks to define the other, each seeks to define themselves.

In our Industry, we have sadly and routinely allowed others to define us. One of the common ones is the myth about durability, or tornadoes and high winds. We do not, as a rule, do a robust job of defining ourselves.

Can we change that reality? Yes, we can. Which is why we have started a Pinterest board, or MHLivingNews.com, with its photo gallery and posted this real life video on how tough a manufactured home is in the face of high winds.

You can link to those pages and use them as part of YOUR marketing and sales tool chest.

Lesson Learned. We must define ourselves, we must explode the myths of the “straw man.” More on this in future columns. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for October and see the

other new stories and 'Purely Political' cartoons at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

LATonyKovach.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Cave Man

October 21st, 2012 2 comments

Most of us are familiar with "man caves." You know, those rooms dominated by a flat screen TV where the guy hangs out to watch football, other sporting events or a movie while eating and drinking in the comfort of his home. But how many today think about the "Cave Man," in the context of communications, marketing and the related bottom line connection?

Before written or visual communications there was verbal communication. Those motivated enough could find the pictorial drawings on cave walls that were perhaps the earliest form of non-verbal communication. Where there some back then who thought that drawing or painting on cave walls would not catch on?

Fast forward from cave drawings through time to writing on parchments, carving or painting on wood, creating statues of stone, canvas painting, hand written books, stained glass used as religious or decorative communication, the printing press, mail, typewriters, radio, TV and the Internet. It seems clear we have – and still use – many forms of visual and audio communications.

So why do some today hesitate to embrace the latest forms of communications and marketing? Why do some go too far the other way, using only Facebook, tweets and texts as if all else was un-cool and thus not worthy of use?

What you need depends in good measure in where you are and how robust your business is. Is your business or organization missing something? If so, what are you doing about it? Who are you going to call to fix it, someone who doesn't know manufactured or factory built housing? Or someone that "gets it" our industry AND can help you get what you need and want online too?

I've met individuals who are – or once were – successes in retail, communities, installation or other aspects of the manufactured housing industry. Some of them resist embracing what is new. They might scoff at the cave man of thousands of years ago, but not realize that they have no reason to fear the modern forms of communication that could return their business or professional life to good financial health.

It is rare today to find a HUD Code or modular home retailer who doesn't use the Internet. But there are way too many who have a website that is 3-5 years old – or older! – and their website looks it. They may not stop and think that their website is the first – and perhaps only – impression they will make to a prospect who has good credit or could pay cash for a home. Retailers have to consider that such a good prospect may only briefly look once – statistically as brief as 5 seconds – at their website and then check that retailer on or off their list. All in those first few seconds; all because of the initial look and feel of their website.

Think about this fact. A good website may pay for itself in the very first sale. Doesn't that make having a good website a no-brainer??

It is sadly fairly common that manufactured home community owners have no web-presence of their own. They may be listed on someone else's website or online yellow pages. But they have no web presence that proclaims in a modern fashion why someone should call them vs. the other nearby community operator who has a great website. Then those souls with an older or no web presence wonder why they have vacancy issues…

If this is someone you know, take heart, take heed and do what others are doing!

When the parent body and management of the Louisville Show decided to have a website made, they turned to us to give them a modern look and a good presentation. Take a look at the link to the LouisvilleManufacturedHousingShow.com – then kindly return to finish this article.

Who you are in business is projected by your web presence; or lack thereof.

There is nothing wrong with having a man cave, but if you are not in step with the latest online marketing, then good business strongly tells us to step into the present!

Think about how hard it is to find that drawing made by a cave man, unless you find it online! If you do find that cave drawing, are you impressed enough to go see it in person?

Your web presence may be more important than your curb appeal. Some 94% of all home shoppers are online today hunting for their next home before they go and see an actual house, builder, retailer or neighborhood. 94%! Are you catching how important that could be for your business or that of a colleague of yours who may be struggling?

If you are fortunate and up to date online, but you have a friend or colleague in the business who needs help, please send them the link to this article.

If you have a great web presence but lack a social media campaign, that's important too! On any such marketing need, give us a call or send us a message. We know what that 'cousin of a friend' doesn't about both the Internet and the Industry.

Man caves can be cool. But don't be seen as a cave man by prospective customers who can afford to buy from you! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for October and see the

other new stories and 'Purely Political' cartoons at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

LATonyKovach.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Quitting Time

October 10th, 2012 No comments

If you are involved in retail sales to the public in the factory built housing industry, what time do you 'call it quits' at the end of the day?

honorable-discharge-wikimedia-commons-credit-posted-cutting-edge-blog-mhpronewsThere are a surprising number of retailers and communities that I've visited and worked with that call it quits at 5 PM on weekdays. Some stay 'as late as' 6 PM. Just think, unless your focus is the seniors market and retirees, how many potential singles, couples, households and families do you miss using a 9 AM to 5 PM business hours approach?

During the years when I operated my own retail center, we had hours from 9 AM to 9 PM weekdays, year round. We had power and lights to our homes. Weekday evenings were a busy time for us, because no one else in our market did the same thing. We made the top 1% of the nation's retailers in sales, from a small town an hour's drive from the capital. Part of how we did this was by having 'normal business hours' that mirrored what other retailers in business did!

An outside audit of your business marketing and sales practices can often produce an amazing array of information that can boost business 25%-50%-75%-100% or more in short order. If you don't have a professional you can count on to do this for you, please give us a call or send me an email at the address below. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for October and see the

other new stories and 'Purely Political' cartoons at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

LATonyKovach.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford