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Posts Tagged ‘housing industry’

Manufactured Housing and IGA’s Success Lesson

October 25th, 2014 No comments

Imagine America during the Great Depression. There was virtually no federal social safety net then!

Great-depression-credit-common-wikipedia-posted-on-mhpronews-comWhile there has been suffering in the U.S. in what many call our recent "Great Recession" which began circa 2008, let's be honest. The great Depression days were far worse.

This pair of photos from WikiCommons might help someone not familiar with the Great Depression begin to understand how tough it was then, versus now.

Soup lines, rough housing, jobs were hard to find and low paying.

It was in this sad economic environment – far more challenging than what we've had since 2008 – that IGA was formed. Let's see what lessons for manufactured housing professionals in organizations of any and all sizes the IGA story may hold.

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Wikipedia states the following about IGA, which is short for Independent Grocers Alliance.

iga-logo-posted-on-mhpronews-com"IGA is a brand of grocery stores active in more than 30 countries. Contrasting with the chain store business model, IGA operates as a franchise through stores that are owned separately from the brand. Many of these stores operate in small town markets and belong to families that manage them. It was founded in the United States as the Independent Grocers Alliance. The headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois."

"IGA was started in May 1926 when a group of 100 independent retailers in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Sharon, Connecticut, led by J. Frank Grimes, organized themselves into a single marketing system. This group quickly expanded, and by the end of the year there were more than 150 IGA retailers. In 1930 there were over 8,000 grocery stores using the IGA name. The company uses the "Hometown Proud Supermarkets" slogan. Today, many IGA grocery stores are still located in smaller cities and towns throughout the United States."

IGA is not the powerhouse today that it once was, for a variety of reasons. But for decades, IGA grew rapidly and often dominated the landscape in the huge grocery business. It provided marketing, savings and other benefits to its associated grocers, so it paid to be a member of IGA.

In manufactured housing today, there are several 'buyers groups' that offer its members specific advantages, including lower costs on homes through volume rebates and/or other discounts.

We also have state and national associations, which offer a different range of benefits that include networking, educational and political lobbying.

What we don't have – yet – is a similar, formal alliance for MH akin to what IGA was for grocers. Thanks to the Internet and modern technology, that can now rapidly change in a way that would benefit all involved.

How can this model be applied to the manufactured housing Industry successfully today?

MHRetailers, MHCommunities, MH Associations, factories and service providers – Come to the Louisville Show in 2015 and see!the-road-to-success-mhpronews-louisville-manufactured-home-show-january21-23-2015

Your operation may be soaring, struggling or somewhere in between. You may be starting up in business, or ready to wide down.

Whatever your status, your business is worth more – duh! – when it is profiting more.

Learn how the successful IGA model can be applied to Manufactured and Modular Home sales at the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show. Yours truly will show you how we can grow your business and others, the smart way.

As an MH retailer, community or builder/developer, odds are excellent you can enter the show free.

Please see the Louisville show website for details and to pre-register free. Some 2,500 industry pros came to Louisville in 2014, far more than any other industry event! There are good reasons the crowd keeps growing. We hope you will come and see why the Road to Success starts in Louisville. Free pre-registration link is here. ##

(Great Depression Image Credits: WikiCommons)

l.a.tony_.kovach-publisher-manufacturedhomelivingnews-com-mhpronews-com-mhc-md-com-1by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach

Earn $43 for each $1 invested? Manufactured Housing, You and Email Marketing

June 6th, 2014 No comments

Be it business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C), email marketing is a very important part of staying in touch and generating business.

Building an email list takes time, and effort. That translates into costs. But are the costs worth it?

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Frankly, as the it is a TOTAL no-brainer!

The Direct Marketing Association provided the statistic above, but IMHO, that is way to LOW for much of the manufactured housing industry!

Let's do some quick math. You are a retailer or MHC that sells homes. Or you are a lender, and want more good loans. One lead that 'cashes' is worth years of the modest cost for an email marketing program!

First, you hopefully are using a CRM system – please see this article by Brad Nelms on that topic –

http://MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/june-2014/117-marketing/7683-you-your-manufactured-home-business-your-image-and-bottom-line

Next, hopefully you have a great website, if not, look here:

http://MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/june-2014/117-marketing/7671-does-it-really-matter-who-you-use-to-build-a-manufactured-or-modular-home-industry-website

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Third, with a good database/CRM nested on a good website that attracts and keeps new customers coming in, you'll get an pretty darn automated system that can keep your clients informed!

Fourth, You have to offer them something they want to know about, of course.

In our case, here at MHProNews.com, we offer Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use. People have learned that using our email news updates is a time saver and keeps them informed.

Translation: our emails save and/or makes MHPros money. And it is free.

You should do something similar with your clients. Need a hand? Give us a call.

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BTW. If you haven't been added to our NEW and IMPROVED emails, here is how they look, scroll all the way down the a single issue in moments, scan the headlines you like, click on the articles you like.

If you aren't on our emailed update system – many keep track of all the big and less obvious things too that are going on in MH using our emails – sign up in seconds here.

mhpronews.com/subscribe

Do the math. One home sold, one site filled, one new client, could be worth years of payback. Is email marketing worth it? As they say in Wisconsin…

Youbetcha. ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. 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 Connect on LinkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Dare to Compare! Banner Ads vs. TV or other Media

May 9th, 2014 No comments

Last year, Ben Kunz – Vice-President of strategic planning at media agency Mediassociates penned a column in Digiday called, “In Defense of Banner Ads.” Kunz opened with a pithy set of points:

If you believe banners suck, you’re not alone. The poor things are so disparaged that the entire digital industry has repositioned them as display advertising to wipe off the banner stigma.

But the truth is, banner ads work just as well as most other forms of media, which is remarkable given their small size, surrounding clutter and creative limitations.”

In fact, some of Kunz's findings make banner ad results better than most other forms of media, and of course, can be more targeted and thus at a far lower cost.

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Compare to TV

“Nielsen, the typical U.S. consumer is exposed to 4 hours and 38 minutes of TV a day, about 40 percent of which is commercial time.” Kunz points out that with that giant screen, the response rate is still only .05% for TV. The average consumer sees about 6,600 commercials monthly.

Compare to Radio

The typical adult in the U.S. listens to 1 hour and 23 minutes of radio daily, 2,500 minutes a month, and at 15% of radio being commercials, that's 750 thirty second spots a month. Results?

.013 percent.

No wonder they repeat those toll-free phone numbers, over and over, and over…

Compare to Billboards

Kunz used NY Suburbs in his example, here are his numbers: “…$320,000 for 26 large 14-by-48-foot billboards (for a 50 GRP level). That provides 28.2 million impressions a month.” Response rate? 0.03%.

And Banner Ads?

Kunz states that Facebook ads were running .03%, and that the Direct Marketing Association and Google uses a range from .03% to .09%, with .07% being tossed about as 'typical' by others.

The bottom line is that banner ads would meet or beat TV, radio and billboards.

In an operation such as MHProNews.com, there would be no way to cover the nation with as many manufactured housing industry professionals other media for anything like the low cost of our banner ads.

So while all reports suggest that CTRs (Click Through Rates) stabilized at a lower level than they were some years back, they still compete very well with other forms of media, so sayeth Ben Kuntz!

DC Marketing Pro

Brooke Jordan in DC Marketing Pro, gave her 5 reasons for using banner ads.

1) “…Regardless of measured click-through rates, banner ads still create a favorable attitude toward the ad due to repeated exposure.” (Journal of Consumer Research)

2) Research shows that consumers engage with banner ads more than TV or outdoor ads.  Banner ad CTRs average at 0.07% (Digiday).  TV response rate is 0.05%, according to Nielsen. Outdoor has a 0.03% response rate (Digiday). Radio, which lacks the visual component of the other three media, has a response rate of 0.13% according to Arbitron.”

3.) “Banner ads have the ability to hyper-target by age, lifestyle, and geography better than most other mediums.  Maybe that’s why eMarketer projects the top five sellers of display advertising to generate $18.6 billion in the U.S. alone in 2013, a 20 percent increase from 2011…” 

4) “Video and display advertising are effective at driving a significant lift in site visitation and SEO, even in the face of minimal clicks on ads. (comScore)”

For me – and for most of you – the real hitter was Brooke's point number 5!

5) “It’s all about ROI.  Marketers continue to pour billions into banner ads due the sheer scale and efficiency.  Low CPMs, compared to other media, mean that marketers can afford a high volume of impressions at a relatively low cost.  When you combine the business generated directly by clicks with the “collateral damage” that occurs beyond the click, most advertisers find the investment is worth it.” (Bold emphasis added).

In yet another study, Smartinsights claims CTR rates are around 1 per 1000 impressions.

When Jordan was talking about the “collateral damage,” she is using that as a humorous, positive euphemism for “impressions.” An impression is defined by Wikipedia as:

“An impression (in the context of online advertising) is a measure of the number of times an ad is seen, whether it is clicked on or not. Each time an ad displays it is counted as one impression.”

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In a recent 90 day campaign for a client, we generated over 1.5 million impressions and some 900 click throughs. More important to the client, they grew their outcomes by 14.7%, which made it a good investment.

The exact record of their campaign results: 1,566,675 impressions and 946 click throughs.

A longer term client, the MMHF working with Show Ways Unlimited and the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, gave us a historic performance track record and testimonial, linked here.

Impression Gold?

Ad-Mays in a report on impression-based advertising stated the following:

  • 52% of Internet users actively respond to banner ads.
  • While 31% of users click on the ad immediately, a large percentage conduct searches for the brand or product, visit the company’s website, or respond through social media. This can be termed “the Silent Click.” 
  • The Online Publishers Association found that after viewing a display ad there was a 50% increase in brand name searches after one week, users spent an average of 12 minutes longer viewing the website, spent 10% more money and higher income audiences were attracted.

The bottom line? Banner ads work and both CTRs and impressions deliver great value. This is why the market is booming!

Looking for a great way to reach the business to business (B2B) market for manufactured housing? Based upon the both external and internal studies, you'd be hard pressed to find a better value that the banner ads, impressions and related campaigns we can create for clients on MHProNews.com. ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. 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 Connect on LinkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

How to Sell More Manufactured Homes

March 12th, 2014 No comments

The Cutting Edge of Marketing and Sales blog is not about industry politics, as interesting or important as some find that issue. Rather, as the name implies, it is about selling more homes. That happens when you get and stay focused on Marketing and Sales, without ignoring the political or other matters that impact your business.

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Mid-to-Large Organization Structures

In a number of mid-to-large organizations, you'll find under various titles, marketing and sales management roles.

A common problem in manufactured housing industry retail and community operations is that there is so much reporting and paperwork, that the core functions that produce more sales are often overlooked.

Don't get me wrong, it isn't that paper work, budgeting, pipeline reports etc. aren't needed. They are. But if much of the reporting can't be delegated to an assistant to assemble and collate, then is it a surprise when sales potentials are not being met?

Outside contract experts and consultants can often fill a core needs that compliments that of the salaried staff.

Outside consultants also have the benefit of 'new eyes.' It is common for staff people to simply accept what is, while an outside consultant can come in, ask questions, and reveal missed opportunities, lower costs and also drive more business.

businessmen-with-briefcase-image-provided-by-mod-coach-posted-mhpronews.com

What many find surprising, is that the consultant may be less costly than hiring an additional salaried staffer and return a solid ROI that can:

  • reduce interest costs on inventory that otherwise ages
  • improve marketing results
  • increase sales
  • improve customer satisfaction
  • advance staff training

and much more.

Even when a consultant is called in for a 'look us over, and give us your thoughts,' that too clearly has value. It can be helpful to get an independent viewpoint on procedures, inventory, CRM and much more.

Separation of Responsibilities

In a large enough organization, in the volume automotive model, you separate duties into specialized areas. At a volume auto retailer, the sales professional is not expected to put the financing together on the deal. That's the F&I person's job. Sometimes even 'closing' the initial deal – before it is written up and goes to F&I – is a tag-team between the sales manager and the sales professional.

While I don't want to push the analogy too much (because there are so many things our manufactured housing industry must do differently than auto dealers do), other aspects of the car dealer model also needs to be considered for these reason.

The:

  • auto-detailing,
  • make-ready,
  • advertising
  • and other aspects of running a volume car center is not the responsibility of the sales pro.

A volume auto dealer may also:

  • have used and new car specialists – and in some auto sales structures – if a client is with a use sales person and ought to be with a new car guy (or vice-versa), you hand that customer off to another specialist, you don't cross those lines yourself.
  • Outside sales trainers are routinely brought in to shake things up, and it routinely yields more sales and thus more income.

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The outside trainer is no 'threat' to the sales manager. If both are true pros, they collaborate!

From time to time, I like to refer to a comment shared by Jay Hamilton, currently the Executive Director of the GMHA, but previously a manager with Fleetwood Homes. Please see his commentary, Investing in the Future of Manufactured Housing.

There are those who say investing in sales training is a waste of time, due to turn over. But some studies indicate that the more trained a person is, they last longer, produce more and tend to be more loyal to the company who trained them.

Let me finish with a question that Tim Connor likes to ask. What do your lost sales opportunities cost you? If you are an MHC operation, what do your vacancies cost you?

When you do the math, good marketing and sales doesn't cost, its an investment that pays.

6 FREE Business Building Seminars LIVE!

http://www.mhpronews.com/component/banners/click/134

For details, please click the link above. ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. 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

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Selling $2,000 – $20,000 “Mobile Homes” vs. Selling $40,000 – $200,000+ Factory Built Homes

January 5th, 2014 No comments

It is amazing that so many in the manufactured housing industry are stuck selling homes priced under $30,000. Don't get me wrong! Any sale that fills a vacant home/site or moves another home out of a street retailer's inventory is good. But until the majority of communities and retailers learn how to selling homes priced from $40,000 to $200,000 plus, our industry will continue new home production levels at historic lows.

Is there a way to sell more “residential” style homes without abandoning the pre-owned and entry level VOG homes most sell? Yes there is!

We know from real world experiences from coast to coast and border to border that factory built homes can compete head to head with conventional construction. Nor are we or are clients the only ones! There are operations that 'get good' at attracting customer who have good credit or who can write the check for a nice 'residential style' manufactured or modular home.

Bottom Feeding or Going for the Gold?

The Harvard study on rental housing, 10,000+ baby boomers retiring daily and the need for 20,000,000 new housing units by 2030 are all factors that point to a huge opportunity for a manufactured housing industry slowly coming back up to some 60,000 new home shipments per year.

Our experience shows that by reaching out to a broader mix of customers – not abandoning the lowest rungs on the housing ladder while reaching out with appropriate marketing to the better qualified customers – can work!

In his exclusive interview MHProNews.com, A Cup of Coffee with…Rick Rand, the award winning community owner/operator referenced 'bottom feeding.' This was a reference more to credit worthiness, and was not meant to be a put down to anyone, but rather points to the fact that so many in our industry fail to attract the more credit worthy customers. As more CFPB regulations kick in during January 2014, the need for retailers and communities to attract better credit customers or those who can pay cash becomes ever more clear.

In the interview with Hall of Fame inductee and highly successful independent retailer Mike Evans, training is part of the key that makes for their success.

At the 2014 Louisville Show, a number of seminars will be presented that are geared towards introducing communities, retailers and builder developers to facts and systems that work today to improve image, attract better qualified customers and sell more homes.

The traffic on the Louisville Show website tells us that the #1 page being accessed after the home page is the seminar page! Industry pros are pre-registering to attend the show in record numbers post 2010, and the seminars are expected to be robustly attended.

The map to the seminar rooms at the fabulous Kentucky Exhibition Center (KEC) is shown below.

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At the Louisville Show, on Wed at 11:10 AM, immediately after the finance seminar, we will present a FREE session introducing some of our free, low cost or good ROI ways to improve image and grow results.

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You won't learn all our proven methods in less than an hour, but you will discover more than enough ways to improve and grow your business!

Don't take my word for it, see for yourself why we've received literally hundreds of Linkedin endorsements and dozens of recommendations over the years. See for yourself at the page linked above or throughout the MHC-MD.com website.

Then on Thursday, if you are in the MHC business, make sure you attend the Lesson's Learned session lead by MHC veterans! You can learn more at this link, and we will announce more details on that days ahead.

Financing you can use TODAY, Marketing and Sales tips and MHC insights from proven pros, all this and more awaits you at the 2014 Louisville Show…just 2 weeks away! Mark your calendars, change your plans, don't let the weather scare you away from the indoor comfort of the most popular venue in manufactured housing in 2013!

Selling $2,000 to $20,000 homes is easy. Discover at the seminar above insights into our proprietary system that we use to market and sell the $40,000 – $200,000 plus homes, including high end homes in land lease communities!

When we are not in the seminar room, you will find me/our team at booth #115, right by the main entry doors. Please do stop by to say hi, and you can collect something special that can help you grow your results in 2014. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for January and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. 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

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach