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Archive for October, 2015

3 Points to Progress – Creating New, More Energized Manufactured Housing Professional Events

October 28th, 2015 No comments

Corporate, business and association leaders, please take note. Ron Thomas Sr., MMHF Chairman and RV MH Hall of Fame inductee, has talked about the hunger that exists for education among manufactured housing professionals.

Indeed, MH state, regional or national trade associations – as well as private events – demonstrate that hunger that Ron Thomas Sr. has pointed out.  These often do a good job of attracting and educating professionals on a range of topics.

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RV MH Hall of Famer, Ron Thomas Sr. is the Chairman of the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF), parent body for the Louisville MH Show.

But can more be done?

“More,” “improved,” “larger,” “smarter,” and “better” are the ideals driving any industry or businesses within it. There is no criticism of other meetings or education when we look at what’s good square in the eye and ask, how can we make that good even better?

How can we attract more attendees and greater outcomes for all involved?

The answer is in taking what we already know works, and putting it on steroids.

When the two largest regional trade events each attract over 2,000 total MH pros, surely other MH events can grow larger too!  Ron Thomas Sr., Dennis Hill, Tim Williams from Ohio and many others have praised what we do to market and attract attendees to events.  So from the voice of successful experience with the industry’s largest event, let’s share the following.

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Standing Room Only at many of the event sessions that we’ve marketed.

Creating New and/or Expanded MH Events – Do and Don’t…

  • Success is always team work. One of the common weaknesses in promoting MH events that we often see is a lack of good coordination and cross promotion.  Getting and staying on the same page is a vital key to a successful event.
  • Promotion is more than a mailed brochure or emailed PDF. Those are fine, but more is needed.  There is a secret sauce that we’ve known for some time.  Our team – working within MH in collaboration with other pros – and others outside of MH – have done it successfully.  So that means your existing or planned new event could follow the proven pattern too.
  • Opportunities for New and/or Expanded Events Abound in MH. Let’s look at just one of many possible target audiences, land-lease MH Communities. Depending on who you listen to, there are 45,000 +/- MHCs in the U.S.  So why do only 100 to 150 +/- actual MHC pros come to most MHC focused events?  At Louisville, we proved we could attract a far larger crowd of MHC pros.  The result? We had roughly 3x the number of MHC pros come to the show than attend any other MHC event in the U.S..

There is so much more that can be done.

If you have a budget for an event you want to create or expand, call or email me today for a candid, confidential discussion. We know MH, we have the largest MH Professional audience to promote and event with.  Working together, the results can get better. ##

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Photos from NY Housing Association annual meeting. Tony and team will be at the 2016 Tunica MH Show, among other upcoming events.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. 863-213-4090.

MH Growth Depends on 2 Things

October 19th, 2015 No comments

Let’s over-simplify and state the obvious. MH growth depends on 2 things:

1) enhanced performance by any given professional; and

2) greater acceptance, interest and demand for MH by the home buying public.

Both of those 2 have what we could call education in common.  Each of those can be done on the personal, location, state, regional or national levels.

No attorney, MD, accountant, teacher or almost any profession you can name gets educated once, and then receives no more training or education. Why should anyone in MH think our industry is different, when mechanics, tradesmen and others need routine added training?

RVs sell for more per square foot than MH. They have a much smaller target audience than MH. So why are they outselling MH now by some 5 to 1? 

Key reasons include: more training, public promotion (marketing, PR, trade media, etc.), resources, allocation and image building. 

By the way, we could clearly list other things needed by MH, such as: builders, lenders, service, suppliers, brokers, consultants, insurance, executives, etc.. The focus on these two in no way diminishes the need for numerous others.

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David Mackenzie Ogilvy CBE was an advertising executive who was widely hailed as “The Father of Advertising.” In 1962, Time called him “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” Wikipedia.

7 David Ogilvy’s Quotes (The Father of Advertising)

  • The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife. (from Google…)
  • Good copy can’t be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You’ve got to believe in the product.
  • It is flagrantly dishonest for an advertising agent to urge consumers to buy a product which he would not allow his own wife to buy.
  • Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.
  • There are very few men of genius in advertising agencies. But we need all we can find. Almost without exception they are disagreeable. Don’t destroy them. They lay golden eggs.
  • Much of the messy advertising you see on television today is the product of committees. Committees can criticize advertisements, but they should never be allowed to create them.
  • There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers. (from QuotationOf…).
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Photo credit – Wikipedia. Graphic text – Cutting Edge Blog, MHProNews.com-

Each of the 7 above are part of what we do daily on MHLivingNews.com and in our custom MH Marketing/Sales Training Programs.

‘MHs are Not RVs…’

Duh! Of course not. We aren’t automotive, but there are many takeaways from the auto-industry possible too.

The analogies and insights between MH and RVs are useful, in part because of the common history. RVs made their move in the 90s to promote themselves and their industry, to avoid their routine downturns due to fluctuations in fuel prices and other economic factors. Its worked for RVs. MH has talked about it off and on for roughly 40 years. And talked, and talked…

…until MHLivingNews.com was born about 2½ years ago. Its been mostly the past year or so that the focus on Inside MH Road Show videos, interviews and pro-MH articles, etc. has taken root.

  • Who better to tell the MH story than those who live in manufactured homes, and love them?
  • Who better to tell the MH story than experts and officials from in-or-out of the industry that respects and understands the construction, safety and value?
  • It’s smart to have a growing collection of appealing video and factory tours that tout the MH advantages, while dispeling myths and outdated facts in the process!  As the videos and articles collection grows, you end up with stories told that connect many times with each of the 4 prime personality types. Stories often stick with people better than an ad tends to do.
  • Visitors keep coming and the numbers are good! Retailers and communities are reporting closed sales as a result.

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MH Builders, Communities and long time MH Retailers – think about this…

No one has to explain what an apartment, condo, duplex or a house is – most looking for them, know what they are. They know they ‘want’ what they are looking for with those housing options. The same is true for products in automotive, RVs, computers, hand-held devices, etc..

MH is unique, in part because it is so widely misunderstood. MH pros as a rule don’t attract the same qualified buyers you see shopping for RVs. We need a different approach than others do.

You may want to attract people to your retail center, community or to have them consider your homes. One has to get past that image issue, just to be considered! You may be investing big bucks in an MHC or other location/operation, and are wondering…why aren’t I attracting a better clientele?

That’s the image issue, but image and training are opportunities in disguise.  They are a vital compliment to all of your other investments in your business.

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I know of no other MH marketing and training operation that has proposed – much less already has! – a comprehensive approach to attract, market and sell manufactured and modular homes to more cash and credit worthy ‘site built’ style customers. We are it. There are fine firms out there doing this or that, but who else in MH has put together a total package program?

Do you even know of a factory that has created an effective, total program to attract, market and sell to the more upscale residential housing customers; to have them truly shop, consider and then buy MH? Sure, lots of marketing is going on.  But a truly comprehensive program that brings in the more qualified buyers?

To achieve solid growth, that has to change. We’re changing that day-by-day with our clients, one location at a time. That’s the wise path ahead.

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There are two things needed to grow sales and bottom line results.

1) Improved professionalism (sustained training) and

2) enhanced marketing (education/image building that attracts more upscale customers.)

We’ll be exploring that here on the Cutting Edge blog more in the days ahead.

For those who need a

  • new or updated website,
  • marketing,
  • videos,
  • sales recruiting,
  • sales training,
  • consultant,
  • event speaker in MH,

talk to us and compare.

When you use our services, you’re supporting this platform and MHLivingNews.com.  Both benefit your MH Industry.

The rising tide lifts all boats, but especially those that travel the savvy short cuts like the Panama or Suez Canal. Call and/or email.  ##

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Photos from NY Housing Association annual meeting. Tony and team will be at the 2016 Tunica MH Show, among other upcoming events. Tony has recieved over 1000 LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations.

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com MHProNews.com |

Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B B2C

Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090 | latonyk@gmail.com |

Integrating, Marketing Sales and PEP

October 10th, 2015 No comments

The MH Industry’s ongoing need for an integrated approach to marketing, sales and PEP was on full display during the NY Housing Association’s annual meeting. As is common in association functions, legal and legislative updates, business meetings and event sponsors were on the agenda. New homes were available for members and the pubic to tour. Breakfast, lunch, reception, dinner and awards provided lots of opportunities for networking among members and guests. Nancy Geer and company did a fine job, as they so routinely do.

Yours truly was featured for the marketing and sales speaker.

pep-protect-educate-promote-posted-om-mhpronews-comIdeally, marketing and sales are not about exaggeration or manipulation. The truth well told is the best marketing and sales approach you can have.

Associations routinely attract the best, plus those who seek to improve their performance.  That makes for a good audience for someone like me.

As a related report dramatically demonstrated, part of my presentation to the members anticipated the practical challenges that can arise from public officials.

Challenges to the industry’s image – which impacts your sales results – can also come from the media, academia or other sources.

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The higher volume MH decades are a reminder
of what is possible today.  When other operations of your size successfully
do what we do, teach and preach, that means you can too.
Graphic credit, Ross Kinzler, WHA.

 The facts from my power point shared at the New York Housing Alliance’s meeting are all proof of the amazing potential for our product.  But that potential will not fall into your lap!  Like silver or gold, it must be mined.  But mining this can be easier and more profitable than a silver or gold mine, because everyone needs a quality place to live.

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Marketing does not take place in a vacuumWhat makes MH different than almost any product of service you can name, is how widely misunderstood it is.

Let’s rephrase that point to underscore it.  With a car, boat, RV, cell, clothing, house or apartment, you have broad acceptance.

By contrast, the MH marketer’s job is complicated by the lack of a positive, broad acceptance by the public.

We have a great value, but most people are stuck in 30-50 year old stereotypes or believe things that may have once been true, but are not true of MH today.

Challenges are Opportunity in Disguise

Thus there is a crying need for an MH trade media that provides a healthy, proper respect for MH Homeowners, experts and professionals who know the product best, and who can say why they love their homes or the MH product.

When public officials have a better sense of how and why so many MH owners love their homes, that’s good for those owners, local MH businesses as well as the broader industry.

When public officials begin to grasp that the affordable housing crisis can be solved via the proper understanding of unsubsidized MH, they are more likely to get out of the way, and let MH pros do their jobs properly.

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Graphic above from Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

The Public Official’s Vantage Point

 

Think about this fact. Officials are most often contacted by those who have a complaint. Human nature says that over time, that can tend to skew for an official the reality of how MH serves millions of people so very well.

But the reality is millions of MH owners love their homes.  The report we published, linked here, shows how few complaints there are today on HUD Code homes, in a perfect world, that should be the headline!

A similar negative bias can happen with the media.

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“If it bleeds, it leads.” Reporters tend to

report bad news. Graphic credit – LifeAsAHuman.

For example, when the only stories a reporter tends to cover are the old pre-HUD code mobile homes that burn down, you as media might be shocked that today’s manufactured homes (MH) are proven safer against fires than a site built house is.

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Education and promotion of the new realities must become a standard part of all that you as an MH pro should do.

When you are part of the promotion and education, you’ll sell more homes too.

Fix the Image though Education, Or Fight More Battles

The industry has only a Hobson’s choice; to fight those stigmas and outdated tales with the truth or face ever more regulatory and media hurdles.

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What better way to tell that story than via videos with those who know the homes, because they live in one?

Or what better way can you start to change the image with public officials than by showing an interview with an independent house inspector who has inspected thousands of houses, and hundreds of HUD Code MH, and then says that MH is consistently better built than a conventional house is?

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Or why not showcase an interview with the top public official who was in charge of the HUD Code home program, extolling the virtues and value of MH!

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Third Part Validation

Anyone in sales knows the value of good referrals and positive third party messages. That’s one reason why social media is so popular.

It is also why businesses loves to get positive media coverage.

What our operation has done is establish a new foundation for businesses – and thus the industry’s – rebirth.  Our work doesn’t take place in a vacuum either.  Good association efforts are ideally a book end and complement to what good trade media does.  Associations play a key role, which our work in turn supports through compelling truth telling.

In a perfect world, good trade associations support the trade media, and the trade media showcases the important work that associations are doing.

Automotive, RV, tech or other trade media begins with an often unstated but implied premise that the product or service they are covering has value!  It’s not a secret, it’s a given.  Journalists understand that and it is not an issue.

Precisely because trade media is independent of other firms or associations, media will look at them in that light.  Thus trade media can influence the conversation as media.

What has been widely lacking for MH prior to MHLivingNews/MHProNews, is a strong combination of pro-Industry trade media, as well as pro-consumer coverage that highlights all that is good about MH.  We cover bad news too, but we also cover the positive stories that public officals, the media and the general public need to see and hear.

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With the complete package of supportive trade media, plus professional marketing and sales training, you can end up with SuperCharged results for your bottom line.

Stop and Think

People tend to begin the buying process with a mix of interest and skepticism. They want the result, but may not yet be sure of the specific home or firm that they want to do business with. Or they may be curious about MH, but are not yet ‘sold.’

What our marketing and sales training does is create a supportive backdrop to everything else that you as a community operator or retailer, builder, etc. do.

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Once a perspective likes you, your location, home, etc. and have an interest, if they search for news on Manufactured Home Living, our website pops up as a support to all else that you do.

That can and already does routinely make a difference with a consumer on the fence.

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It can also make a difference with public officials and other media. When news outlets such as Reuters picks up a positive story about MH from MHLivingNews – that carries weight.

What you and all industry pros need is to work with us to scale that kind of positive outcome!

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The more people who discover MHLivingNews.com, the more homes there will be sold. That’s good for the buyer, the industry and public officials.

That’s good for pros like you.

So when you need:

  • A website,
  • Videos,
  • Marketing,
  • Sales recruiting,
  • Sales Training,
  • Consulting, etc…

…who are you going to call?

Why not call the only operation in all of manufactured housing that provides you with the background and foreground support that you and everyone in MH needs!

That’s what we do, day by day, making it better for you to be in this great MH industry. We are better off working together.

Associations, you and us are all better off when we’re working together, it’s good for the consumer, the industry and you. That’s the facts! We’re sticking with it. ##

LATonyKovachPresentingIndustryMembers-MHProNewsBy L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.