Archive for October 17th, 2010

The CAMPAIGN to Restore MH Market Share!

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

The CAMPAIGN

There’s a New Team in Town and It Might Have What It Takes to Help the Manufactured Housing Industry Regain Significant National Market Share!

I.

Labeled ‘New Marketing Tactics for Manufactured Housing: The Wave of the Future?’, a recent presentation by four executives from the Cherry Hill, New Jersey firm creativehaven media + marketing, described how our industry could (should!) create new distribution channels by effectively partnering with big box retailers, and other similar venues, to bring new homes face – to – face with new and old target markets.

The CAMPAIGN, strategically, is designed to be a regionally planned and executed means, to effect increased demand for our housing product in new and existing markets, via three distinct but related methodologies:

Re – branding and re – imaging our housing product, via careful online and print media planning and buying

Experiential marketing, via showcasing our housing product in big box retail store parking lots, supported by a series of message – supporting local seminars

Enhance awareness and availability of our housing product via public and community relations efforts and events

Is The CAMPAIGN a perfect and ready program? Not yet. The CAMPAIGN debuted at a recent national gathering of manufactured housing executives and landlease (nee manufactured home) community owners/operators, meeting in Washington, DC. The dual purpose of the presentation was to 1) introduce The CAMPAIGN, and 2) solicit direct feedback (i.e. critique, ideas, alternatives) from this top level gathering of industry leaders. Suggestions included:

Agree to no longer use the descriptive adjective ‘manufactured’, and go simply with housing; and when/where necessary, follow MHI Chairman Joe Stegmayer’s lead and refer to the unique housing type as being ‘systems built housing’.

Articulate and agree on a housing design and construction standard supportive of this new marketing dynamic.

Articulate and agree on a landlease (nee manufactured home) community quality standard supportive of this new marketing dynamic.

Articulate, and ensure all participants agree, to abide by a Code of Business Ethics

Much more about The CHALLENGE was discussed during this high level meeting of business executives and LLCommunity owners/operators, but you get the idea of what could/should lead our industry forward to restored market share. The question now is; ‘Where do we (You) go from here?’

First; whether this important and timely matter ‘grows legs’ and moves forward, depends in large measure, whether firms like Clayton Homes, Champion Homes, and CAVCO Industries executives, as well as MHI’s new chairman, ‘take The CAMPAIGN ball and run with it’! Will they? And don’t forget, there’re additional HUD Code housing manufacturers who’d likely be interested in participating in The CAMPAIGN, if invited or challenged to do so. Continue to read this blog every week to hear firsthand what’s happening….

Second; much depends on whether YOU, reading about The CAMPAIGN, here in this Blog posting, and soon elsewhere, take the initiative to input The CAMPAIGN directly, to learn more about it, and offer your support, to creativehaven media + marketing, via (856) 702-6063 or ahaven@creataivemedia.com (Amy Haven or Kendra Brill). Marketing executives on this team, with manufactured housing experience, are Susan Gargano and Lauren Shippy.

Third; if you’re a direct, dues – paying member of the Manufactured Housing Institute – and if a bona fide business participant in this industry and asset class you surely should be, take the initiative to let Thayer Long, at MHI, know of your support for The CAMPAIGN! (703) 558-0678. For that matter, contact Danny Ghorbani of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), suggesting he promote The CAMPAIGN concept to his housing manufacturer members as well. (202) 783-4087.

So, at this point what do YOU think of The CAMPAIGN? Does the concept resonate with YOU? I’d like to know! At present, I’m receiving more than a dozen direct responses, each week, to compelling topics covered in this blog. So, don’t be shy: respond directly to this posting, via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or write to GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 462347.

II.

Where will YOU be this Thursday, 21 October 2010? I’ll tell you where several dozen LLCommunity owners/operators, who’re presently ‘selling and self – financing new and resale homes on – site in their properties’ will be: at a FINANCE SEMINAR hosted in the Northfield Inn in Springfield, IL. That’s right, they’re driving and flying in from throughout the Midwest, to attend this one day potpourri of topics germane to that timely and strategic business model. For details and or to register, phone Bob Thieman @ (217) 528-3423.

III.

And where do you plan to be on 13 & 14 January 2011? At the resuscitated Louisville Manufactured Housing Show we surprised you with in last week’s blog posting! Don’t forget, 13 January will be an extra special day for those who, as described in the previous paragraph, ‘sell and self – finance new and resale homes in LLCommunities’. Three seminars that day will explore the concept (and reality) of Community Series Homes (‘CSH’) for LLCommunities; ‘How to Properly Calculate Affordable & Risky Price Points of New & Resale Homes Sited Within & Outside LLCommunities!’; and, ‘All you’ve wanted to know about self – finance,but didn’t know who to ask, e.g. difference between ‘captive finance’ and ‘buy here – pay here’ methodologies, and much much more’! For information, contact Dennis Hill @ (770) 587-3350.

IV.

Now, here’s a new thought for you; actually, it’s a third manifestation of the National State of the Asset Class caucus concept, that debuted on 27 February 2008. Remember that pivotal day? More than 100 LLCommunity owners/operators convened at FountainView LLCommunity in Tampa, FL., to ‘take control of their collective future’ in the face of plummeting manufactured home shipments. Well, Five Action Items came out of that meeting, and they continue to guide the asset class to this day! Then, a year later to the day, 27 February 2009, another 100 MHIndustry & LLCommunity folk NSAC -caucused in Elkhart, IN., at the beautiful RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Museum & Library facility. That time we walked away with mutually agreed upon new home design guidance, nearly three dozen Business Development Managers (‘BDM’) named by attending manufacturers, and eventually the aforementioned Community Series Home (‘CSH’) concept.

A third NSAC caucus in the works? Yes. The ‘need to caucus’ has been around now, for almost a year. This Fall, an increasing number of LLCommunity owners/operators have asked to caucus, on their own, to ‘Look at Self – finance From Their Perspective, as Investors and LLCommunity Owners’, and NOT just as a ‘stop gap measure’ to tide them over until chattel (personal property) finance returns to manufactured housing. The plan to caucus, for a third time in four years, got a boost at the recent National Communities Council (‘NCC’) meeting in Denver, CO., where it was opined LLCommunity owners/operators should meet again before the next scheduled MHI meeting in March of 2011. SO, if you’re a LLCommunity owner/operator, watch your mail during the weeks ahead, for an Invitation to Join Your Peers at the Third NSAC Caucus, sometime in late January or early February, likely in a Sunbelt state, hopefully on – site in a LLCommunity. To ensure you’re not overlooked, respond directly to this blog posting, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, or write GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247. Or call (317) 346-7156 or email: gfa7156@aol.com

V.

Finally. I’m in the midst of consolidating data from 100 ALLEN REPORT questionnaires, preparing the 22nd annual edition. If you’re a portfolio owner/operator of LLCommunities and NOT returned your completed questionnaire, please do so this week! FAX it to (317) 346-7158. Some very interesting stats so far; so don’t be left out…send in your information TODAY. Thanks. GFA

*****

George Allen, Realtor®, CPM®Emeritus, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(3170 346-7156