Posts Tagged ‘Media Engagement’

“Fixing Our Industry’s Terrible” Public Relations, a Proven Strategy

August 6th, 2018 Comments off


This is a “Feedback Edition” – featuring comments from MH Industry Voices – that is still part of our normal Monday Morning Marketing and Sales meeting.  You could summarize the topic like this.  Shouldn’t our job selling homes that are quality for so much less be easier than it is?  What can be done to change the perceptions that cause sales to be so relatively low, when the needs are so great?



Insightful data, per NAR. From the July 2018 update of the Realtor University report available below as a download.

Let’s start by saying that the punch line to the headline may not be what you’d think.  Every marketer and seller requires a strategy to navigate their unique SWOT.

That said, let’s look at a series of messages from various industry voices from different parts of the country.


Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies and opportunities.

Because the following industry voices see as part of their SWOT, challenges previously expressed by independent community and retail professionals shown.


The late Howard Walker said more, of course, and you can read about it later at this link here.

The topic of the following feedback industry voices?

In part, the industry’s image – and public relations (PR).  PR is a valid way of enhancing marketing and sales, which we will address near the end of this review of those third-party comments.


Terrible PR

We’ve had a great relationship over the years and I know that you mean well for the industry, and I know we both share the desire to elevate this sector. We definitely welcome any concept or group that shares this commitment,” read the end of a lengthy feedback email to the publisher of MHProNews.

The message, plus others, came in on the requesting it being shared ‘off the record,’ without the sender’s or that person’s operation’s name.

That said, these pull quotes are unedited.  The writer was focused on forging a new association that would address the public relations and other needs of the industry that are arguably not being properly handled by MHI.

We’ll happily contribute to any group that wants to take a shot at fixing our industry’s terrible PR problem.”

“…I’ve never been pro-MHI on that issue. At the same time, we’ve never wanted to get on their bad side, nor do we want to be on your bad side.”

The message explained the deep concerns, and the harm done to their business because of the “terrible” reputation of the industry, which that writer believes the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) routinely fails to address.


Several More Industry Voices…

V2) “We don’t have many of our ‘little guys’ left after these last 10 years.  If any of those [of us] who are still open want to stay that way, they need to get together behind a single cause,” said a successful retailer, as part of a much longer message. That goal or cause, the sender added, had to be for the “continued existence” of independent retailers.

Like Gus Rodriguez above, V2 sees the industry’s independents as being under assault.

That’s sounds similar to a public comment by Tom Fath, shown below.


The principles discussed further below regarding changing the image in their market have been successfully applied by the Fath family.

V3) A non-MHARR producer told MHProNews that the lack of remaining independents has caused them to consider “going vertical.” “Not a day goes by that we don’t think about it,” a top executive for that firm said to MHProNews.

V4) Another non-MHARR producer praised our coverage, saying we did a “great job” encouraged us to “keep it up,” and said, as if talking out loud to himself, “how much more can they consolidate?”  This graphic below makes his point.


Graphic by MHProNews, using information provided by each corporation, or named entities. When independents fail or get bought out by a major company, that leaves fewer options for independent producers to sell to, doesn’t it?

V5) “Tony, no independent can publicly go up against 21st,” said a respected, industry veteran operator. That source said he was pleased to see that the fence was mended between MHProNews and MHARR several years ago.  V5 values what this platform and MHARR each do as a balance against what MHI has failed to do.

Several more responses have come in.  It should be noted, that the view on not being able to fight 21st and their other Berkshire Hathaway brands is widely held among state associations, and numerous retailers, plus those in the community sector too.  That said, this publisher and industry expert believes there is good evidence that now is the time that resistance” and rebellion” against the pressures of the consolidators is the more possible than it has been in a decade. MHProNews and others are an example of that, aren’t we?


What Sparked These and Other Comments?

They have been part of a series of replies to this recently published quote from another non-MHARR independent: “If retailers would bow up and tell the MHI manufacturers they want dues paid to a new association rather than MHI there will be change. I do believe the majors have weaponized regulation that further entrench their companies or widens and deepens their moat. Keep my name off it please but I’ll support the efforts if [there] is enough backbone out there.”


We don’t have to be perfect to win with this amazing spread. The fact that this year site builders could outsell manufactured housing by 10 to 1 (+/-) is a reminder that more can be done.

This statement and question was also posed: “about 2 years ago, you may recall MHI published a paid advertorial that understated the savings on MH vs site built. We repeatedly called them out, they finally changed it. How long on these errors? Plus, there are others that arguably misinforms potential buyers, researchers, others.”

In another response, here’s what one industry voice said.

STILL seems to be a void in the ether when it comes to a nationwide pro-MH body to represent our industry, not just certain players therein,” read part of the reply “I won’t beat the dead horse about BH/CMH other than to say they are at least 80% at cause for the lack of accurate information going out to the public, and IMHO, it’s for the purpose of their moat.”

That wasn’t Marty Lavin, but it sounded like this public statement.


Learn more, click here. Lavin has also pointed out previously that MHI’s own departing president took a polite but veiled shot at the Arlington, VA based trade group’s failures on several issues. You can read that from former MHI President Chris Stinebert, at this link here.

Before Frank Rolfe went radio silent on industry issues, he told me – quite rightly by phone about the “importance and value of good data with lenders and investors.”

There’s tons of capital pouring into the U.S. today, as mainstream media reports federal statistics of about “$100 billion a month average.”  Why have multi-billion dollar investors like Blackstone or Bain – which have both clearly seen the value of manufactured homes and communities – not publicly shouted their belief from the rooftops, to their prior or current involvement in the industry?

In part, terrible image” as Industry Voice V1 said.  Many believe that MHI’s videos and social media are just ‘feel good, window dressing’ that avoids the heavy lifting needed to engage the media every time a false or misleading report is made.  For that matter, why doesn’t Berkshire Hathaway use all of their newspapers to routinely address the errors held by millions about modern manufactured homes?


Naturally, Not Everyone Agrees

It goes without saying that not everyone in MHVille agrees. There are some who may not fiercely defend MHI, Clayton or their affiliated Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders.  But numbers are not prepared to organize against them either.

Some take a more nuanced stance, saying they could be persuaded based upon various developments.

Some in the community sector have expressed an interest in what NV and AZ are doing, to launch a new community focused national association.  Their effort deserves a good look. That said, what would they do for retailers, lenders, suppliers, installers, or others in the business who are independents?

But what is common is a widespread view that MHI is posturing or chest thumping a lot, but accomplishing little.  As but one example, S 2155 was more the work of the Trump Administration, rather than MHI, which rejected the opportunity to do essentially the same approach about 2 years earlier.  MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch admitted to the Washington Post that they didn’t lift a finger on the issue of Pam Danner at HUD.  On the public relations issue, when their own chairman said it is logical, why haven’t they done exactly what he said?  Namely, respond to every misstated fact, every misuse of terminology?

Failure to do so costs the industry billions annually in additional retail volume.  That means, millions of dollars of added sales could be made on average per location.  Its about dollars and sense.


Why Not Just Try to Reform MHI?

A specific message from a few well known personalities favored another effort to essentially get MHI reformed.

While this writer respects those operators, a leading industry voice said almost a year ago that he wanted to see what difference Joe Stegmayer may make at MHI.

After approaching a year, can anyone see any noteworthy changes at MHI since Stegmayer took over from Tim Williams?  This writer can tell you, we’ve tried this directly since he took over, and with all due respect to Joe, we see no appreciable difference. Do you?


The Credit Unions Seem to Agree

Even the CU Insight, mentioning Credit Human by name, politely chastised the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) for doing so little with respect to their Duty to Serve manufactured housing.

Their recent press release might have reminded some Daily Business News readers of a polite version of what MHARR or MHProNews has published previously.

By chastising the GSEs, aren’t the credit unions also slapping the wrist of their enablers? Who profits by keeping the GSEs from a more robust entry into MHVille? Answer that question, and you’ll see why more are realizing that MHI has proven for over a decade not to be the solution.


We tried for years from within MHI to get them to reform. They praised our efforts, in writing. So why didn’t they adopt them?


MHI will be notified of this. Will they change? Or will they continue to pretend and posture as if all is well? Many of the frustrated voices are from MHI members, and MHI state affiliates.


Some Background to Strategies for Dealing with PR/Image Issues

I) All sales are local. Hold that thought.

II) A competitor’s reputation may be good, bad or in between. Hold that thought.

III)  Those facts are all stating the obvious, which can bring clarity to any situation. Hold that thought.

IV) Last week was a blockbuster week on MHProNews, you can scan the headlines from last week at this link here, and you’ll see why readership spiked and continues to grow. Hold that thought.

V) As more than one said in their own words, the value of their communities or business would rise with improved public relations/image. It is self-evident. As sales rise, so does property and/oror business value. Hold that thought.

VI) Recapping, we heard last week – by message, email, calls, etc. – from MHPros in:

  • MH retail,
  • MH Communities,
  • MH production,
  • MH lending,
  • Other financial, product or industry services.
  • We also heard from state associations, and from sources connected with SECO, and MHI. 

There is a growing appetite for doing something to supplant what MHI says they do, but what a growing number believes they fail to do in practice.

VII)   We also heard from international and domestic investors, interested in factory building and the U.S. manufactured home market.  Arguably, the right type of post-production association could help bring tens to hundreds of billions of new capital into the industry, for lending, new communities, developments, more retail, etc.

VIII)  It isn’t an exaggeration to say that there’s a growing realization that new manufactured housing’s sales have suffered from a combination of internal and external issues. The proof?  It’s in the linked article below (this is heavily referenced and isn’t a short read). Hold those thoughts.

“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case


Federal and State Investigators

We know first-hand, as well as through various sources, that there are:

  • Legal,
  • Regulatory,
  • Plaintiffs attorneys,
  • Media,
  • all sniffing around MHI, their ‘big boy members, and SECO.

Those groups may not like reading that, but those are the realities that they would unlikely deny. Still, to play it safe, we’ll say “alleged” about these concerns, to keep some attorney from writing us. But if you want evidence beyond our publication, just do enough google searches, and don’t be surprised at what you’ll find in the public domain about various investigations already underway.

Plus, there are our own evidence-based reports in the Daily Business News on MHProNews, which they have not tried to refute.

Hold all of those thoughts.  Because each one points to problems, and opportunities in disguise. Doing the same things, the same way, is obviously no solution.  A new path, a new post-production voice is needed.  MHARR said they did not want to be that post-production voice, but would work with them, and assist as possible in bringing them into existence.

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released


What Does All of this Mean to You?

Short answer? Either problems ahead, or opportunities in disguise. It’s all in how you navigate it, or not.  That’s what SWOT is all about.


The four quads of a good SWOT analysis. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Look reality in the eye, and then plan and act accordingly. 

First, look at who is sponsoring what. That tells you a lot. As MHI award winner and success story Marty Lavin says, follow the money,” and “pay more attention to what people do than what they say.”

When state associations break with MHI, a number of members quit, and others feel like they are held hostage (one wrote in to say, “They think they own us.” – ouch) and our readership is spiking – all while specific folks are trying to undermine our efforts without directly addressing them, doesn’t that tell you something?


All Sales Are Local…Turning Someone’s Problems Into Your Benefits

Someone’s problematic reputation can be an opportunity in disguise. Over the years, I’ve successful sold manufactured homes down the road and across the street from people that were bigger, badder, and had the reputations to match.  In consulting, we’ve worked with operations to accomplish the same thing.

The correct PR and marketing strategy can turn someone else’s bad news into your good news.

That’s a profitable and oft-proven fact.

Not everyone can afford our services, I get that reality.

But for those who can afford what we do, we have the most incredible track record, and we have the public testimonials and endorsements to prove it.

Some of those are public, others are as requested, but the clear fact is that we’ve taken on forces bigger and badder, and step-by-step, we are winning.

Part of the proof is the growing number of mainstream articles that are using headlines that are a play on ours from MHLivingNews.comThe Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight.” We’ve laid a foundation, and it is already helping.

“The Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight”



Fighting Misinformation
– Hammering Away at the Facts, Evidence, Including – Not Only Expert and Home Owners Stories…
…how the Truth Will Set Manufactured Housing Free

We created MHLivingNews with a lifestyle, fact-and-evidence based, story-telling model. We told local stories, with local people.  We also covered some national reports, to underline good news, or correct poor reporting.

Step-by-step, it’s arguably working.  You’ll see how below.

What’s needed, is more of the same.

What’s need is more clients willing to invest money in their own reputation at the local market level, using proven methods that yield more happy home owners.  Its profitable. Why advertise or hire services with someone that doesn’t know the industry as we do? Or who doesn’t promote and defend the industry as we do?

By highlighting those local stories in local markets (which is automatically on our national platform), clients saw serious rises in business.

Rephrased, there are two tracks needed.

#1) Every business ought to promote itself.

#2) Then, many businesses ought to band together, and address the issues that have dogged the industry for decades.

We are strong believers – as are the voices above – that there needs to be a new, post-production manufactured home association.  Image and PR complement lobbying, but they are not the same as lobbying.  An association is needed to lobby, and it requires good PR to go along with it.

We plan to work for, and support efforts to organize a new post-production association that once launched, can readily supplant what MHI does.  It should, per various inputs so far, do the following.



The emerging new national community association has taken about a year to get to their launch point. That’s said as a reality check to those who think this is a snap of a finger. It’s not. But it clearly is doable, because they are launching a group for similar reasons, i.e.: an apparent lack of confidence in MHI lobbying and working on their behalf.

A) Media and Non-Profit Educational Engagement (Public Relations)

B) Protect and Promote the Industry from regulatory and other artificial barriers to doing more business.

C) Legal efforts.

D) Professional and worker recruiting.

E) Professional Education.

F) Trade events, including those open to the general-public. It costs tons of money to put on a trade show, and while there’s more expense to keep a show open a few extra days in order to do Public Days, that’s more than recouped by additional sales, and media exposure when that’s done correctly. Keep in mind that in the industry’s glory days, the mainstream media came to shows like Louisville to cover the event.  The right trade association (which we clearly believe is not MHI) could make that kind of free media from a trade event happen all over again.

H) Public Officials and Policy Advocate Engagement.

I) Other Proprietary Steps to Protect the Reputation of Good Businesses of all sizes, against those who sully the industry image by problematic or illegal behavior.

J) Take steps in the bylaws that create a structure that avoids dominance by larger companies of smaller ones.  Just setting that up will help avoid infiltration of a new group by those who may want to derail it from the start, as a way of allowing MHI to continue their apparent efforts on behalf of big companies seeking to consolidate smaller ones.

  • As a footnote, it is not this writer’s intention to lead such a new trade group, we have our own operations.  Let the leadership of a new association be decided by those who put skin in the new game, after a careful discernment process.  That’s a decision that will come as Phase One nears completion.

Frankly, the above will take several months to organize, even if everything went quickly.

Until then, MHLivingNews and MHProNews are already doing more to promote the accurate facts about our industry than another organization that has millions of dollars more in budget than we do.

In the meantime, support us, as we support you and fight for the industry’s growth.


This one-two combination of support for this platform and support for a new trade organization is a common-sense approach for those who want to maximize their sales now, and for years to come. That’s it for today’s Monday Morning Marketing and Sales Meeting. Learn more by clicking or calling. “News, Tips, and Views That Pros Can Use.” © ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:

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Time, talent, treasure. Put your money, as we do, where your mouth is. Need professional services? Please consider calling us. Nobody does it better in MHVille, no one. Click here to learn more.

Related References:

Life Hack Success Tip-Any Pro Can Do This-Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

They Did It Before…Sunday Morning Manufactured Home Industry News Headline Recap July Aug 5, 2018

Enduring Good Will Value from Good Business Practices, Monday Morning Manufactured Home Sales, Marketing Meeting

“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

Code of Conduct – Good or Bad News, and Home Selling – Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

May 28th, 2018 Comments off


To do a good job of marketing and selling, one must first have a sense of the broader, and local market elements. We’ll share some examples today that are essential for a marketing or sales professional in manufactured housing to understand in order to be effective with qualified prospects. We note that in all of our coaching sessions, good ethics and customer satisfaction must be understood as the given background, and the goal must be for the good of all.


Crain’s Detroit published a story that explained just how far manufactured housing nosedived in their state from the peak of 1998, until the recovery from the bottom hit in 2009 began in 2010. While it has positive elements, that report also raises questions for a savvy shopper or investor.

The Urban Institute did a report in January on manufactured homes, which was largely positive for the manufactured home industry, at least by mainstream news standards.

Several mainstream media (MSM) outlets have been spotlighting the need to protect manufactured home communities from destruction, because they are so important for affordable housing.  We’ll plan to spotlight one of those, sent to us as a news tip, hopefully this week here on the Daily Business News

The first takeaway is that there are some positive news stories carried by MSM and by third party researchers. These are examples of the kinds of stories industry professionals should prefer to see more of – and it is in part, up to pros like you – to make that happen in your market(s).

That said, the sad reality is that beyond press releases, most media coverage about our industry tend to be negative. Ignoring that reality costs the industry billions of dollars a year in new HUD Code manufactured home sales.  That means, mostly negative media coverage likely costs your location millions of dollars a year in additional manufactured home sales that your business would otherwise make.

The two screenshots of Google search results below are recent examples. See for yourself the ratio of bad news to good news stories.



There are times when none of the top 8 to 15 MSM news stories about MH are positive. Do you think that pattern impacts home buyers?  The third story from the top, above, is linked here.


Let’s be clear. A large percentage of the time that we at MHProNews engage with the mainstream media, the reporter will use better terminology, and will try to work in some of what was said. Reporters are people, they usually want to be fair. Are there exceptions? Sure, but many will strive to get some balance into their report. For MHVille, more balanced reporting represents progress, every time it is done.

That in a nutshell explains a significant part of why manufactured home (MH) sales are still at historic lows, in spite of a raging affordable housing crisis.  But for the savvy MH marketer, that’s opportunity in disguise. Keep in mind that the MH Industry squandered a historic opportunity in the late 90s and early 2000s.  We’re being given another such moment in history.  Let’s make the most of it, shall we?


A savvy, visionary MH marketer sees the problematic trend since 2000 as opportunity in disguise.  To tap that opportunity requires work, but the reward is significantly higher levels of new home sales that result in happy customers.


Story Telling, Defining Yourself, Media Engagement, and Code of Conduct 

To tee this up, as a volume retailer for many years with happy homeowners, I never waited for someone else to define my business or my products. I didn’t wait for an association, a manufacturer or anyone else to do what our team could do best.

That’s not to say that associations, builders or other third parties can’t play a role. Indeed, they can and should.  But I didn’t hold my breath, waiting for that to happen. 

Because if you or I’m waiting for someone else to define and boost business, what if they delay? What if they do a poor job?

We set sales records, and hit the top ½ of 1 percent of all retailers in the nation by making things happen.  We synergized with others, as much as possible, but we also did what we needed to do, come rain or shine.  

So, akin to what Sam Landy, president and CEO of UMH Properties told MHProNews, we did our own marketing. It was wildly successful, and that occurred during tough times when dozens of new home retailers in our state vanished. 

The are many beautiful aspects to manufactured housing.  One such point – if you make it appealing in your market(s) – is this. Affordability is always going to have a clientele. Nor does affordability have to be the lowest rung on the ladder client. Good times, or bad times, a motivated retailer, community, developer, or producer, can sell, sell, sell. They can do so honorably, with good CSI, and happy homeowners who send their friends.   

After my first few years in the manufactured home business, I learned by trial end error how to successfully engage the media. Do that in your market, and forge that habit.



Here’s an example of a radio show I was recently invited to do. This was for a regional talk radio station, so imagine this in your market.


Notice that the topic sounded negative. Indeed, in one sense, it was, but it was dealing with a local reality. Don’t run from tough topics! Dive in! Push back with the facts, and the truth properly told! Make a difference!

This part of the radio show is about 20 minutes on air, with maybe half of that – near the middle – included me.  If you listen carefully, every caller had something good to say about manufactured homes. Even though the others on the air may have misused the terminology, I hit key points using the correct industry lingo, while also explaining briefly the industry’s evolution, and appeal to all economic groups.

Click the arrow to play back the audio.


Make a habit of using the correct terminology. Encourage your team to learn it and use it too. It pays.  

I’ve never stopped reading or learning about the industry, and how it fit into the broader housing market. We use that with our coaching clients, and with publishing.

Rephrased, we practice what we preach. 

Why? In the long run, it works best. Short-term thinking produces short-term results.  


Code of Conduct

The mainstream media story linked here makes an important point, and this is one that associations can, and ought to play a useful role in.  


Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

Jay Hamilton, of the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) would not make a specific comment to that media about a specified series of bad-news stories that involve one or more members. But he did speak to the reporter (a plus), and Hamilton explained to the reporter what the GMHA’s ethical principles are (another plus).

Hamilton spoke about the GMHA’s code of conduct for members. That’s something members stipulate to, when they join the association. 

When a code of conduct is enforced in the way the GMHA executive director outlined, arguably that would make it clear to readers that the majority of the industry – or at least that membership organization – care about honest business practices.

That in turn is good for honorable association members.

But if an association fails to take action against a member that crosses a line who won’t repent, its arguably harmful to all.  

The code of conduct should be rigorously enforced, regardless of who it is. 

Mistakes happen. Corrections can and should be made. When they aren’t, let the members or board vote to expel an unrepentant offender for cause. If that became a habit, anywhere that took place would – over time – would likely see more sales growth among member companies.  Because consumers want ethical companies to do business with.



Do your best. Don’t wait for others. If you are part of an association, and bad news strikes about a member who won’t repent or do right by their customers, press for an enforcement of the code of conduct. Enough said for today. ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third-party images are and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related References:

Life Hack Success Tip-Any Pro Can Do This-Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

Is it Better to Be Candid, or a Kiss-Up? Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

Style or Substance? Lesson from Most Hated in America – Monday Morning Manufactured Home Sales, Marketing Meeting

What are the FACTS about Manufactured Housing Industry Traffic vs. Real Estate? MHVillage, MHProNews, Manufactured Housing Institute Data

‘You Are Either Clayton Homes, or You’re Not’ – Monday Morning MH Sales Meeting



Time, talent, treasure. Why not put your money, as we do, where your mouth is?

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.


Only 2 Choices – Media Engagement, Manufactured Homes, & You – Monday Morning Sales Meeting

December 11th, 2017 Comments off

HarvardUnivManufacturedHousingYouMondayMorningSalesMeetingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsAs we approach Christmas – and begin to wrap up 2017 – let’s keep this Monday Morning Sales Meeting hyper-simple today.

Almost everyone in the industry agrees that mainstream news-and-entertainment industries impact – mostly harmfully – the manufactured housing industry.

A Harvard report predicted that the first decade of 2000 would be the decade that manufactured housing overtook conventional home building. 

Imagine that, more manufactured homes being sold than site built homes.  Per a Harvard University study. 



At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 300,000 new units per year. This year, we’ll not reach 1/3 of that total. What happened?

What happened?


While there are plenty of factors causing the slide vs the expected climb MH.  We’ll focus today only on the media aspect of the issue.

What do you do when negative news hits in your market?

There are two, and only two broad categories of possible responses.

1) Do nothing, say nothing.
Most of the manufactured home industry has done that “let’s let this blow over” approach for about 4 decades. How’s That Working for you and the MH industry at large?  The answer isn’t a matter of opinion, its a matter of fact, shown in the graphic below.


Graphic provided by Ross Kinzler when he was then the executive director of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA).

2) Do Something In Your Market to Respond to the Negative News. 

After you see the results of option 1, this option should be an obvious, “Duh, right?”

If you don’t respond in your market to negative news, of course it will negatively impact you. We have clients who’ve “beaten the odds,” and are growing faster than major competitors.

How?  In part by doing local PR educational/marketing – via media engagement – that’s done properly.

2 Examples of Responding to Negative/Problematic/Controversial News:

When the New York Times published their article about Frank Rolfe’s “Mobile Home University,” numerous industry pros took it as harmful to the industry.  It’s controversial, some argue the Gary Rivlin/New York Times article the other way too.

So, we published a ‘response’ article. If you do the Google search below, our response still does well, years later.


By the way, articles like this one on MHLivingNews are among the easons why clients of MHLivingNews are doing better than many others in MH sales growth. Those clients say so themselves.

Example 2. It’s not the NYTimes, but a reader sent me a message recently saying how he hated the terminological misuse in mainstream news articles, and he sent me a link with his comment.  We looked, and agreed with the reader.

The response we did to the story the reader linked is now published.  You can see that response at the link below.  The screen capture below the link is a composite from the problematic article in Sarasota Magazine.  Read it carefully.


Once you’ve read it, then have your team do the same, and discuss it with them.

Ask your team to discuss – give you feedback – to the question:  

Isn’t some informed response which challenges prejudices and bias
against manufactured homes better than no response? 

There are only two choices when bad news hits in your market(s). 

Do nothing, or do something.

We believe, and history has shown, that only doing something can work.

Final Thoughts for Today’s Meeting

As an FYI, after some efforts like the letter to Robert at Sarasota Magazine linked above, writer’s often get the message.

So, why some in media won’t care or change, others will try to get it right going forward.

After all, if you were Robert in the article linked above, wouldn’t you be more careful the next time you wrote an article about manufactured homes?

ICYMI, last week’s sales meeting is linked below.  If you missed it, and check it out, benefit and enjoy.


MH Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” © ## (Analysis, commentary, fact checks, news, trends.)

2 Week Notice, MHProNews will be on a somewhat modified publication schedule from now through January 2nd, resuming normal scheduling in 2018. More details, click here.


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Deadwood, the Manufactured Housing Revolution, and You

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By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.
Kovach is the managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC,
parent to MHProNews, and
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