Archive for June 30th, 2013

National Advocacy Bodies Adrift – Apart – Again….

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Blog # 251 Copyright 2013 30 June 2013

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities, & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’
&
Purpose. ‘This blog; the national Advocacy voice, statistical Research reporter, & op/ed communications Resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!

I.

WRITER’S BLOCK

Years ago, the late Herb Tieder, then editor & publisher of the now defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, and I, came across two, three inch square blocks of wood, with five pencil – sized holes drilled in the top of each One was labeled ‘Writer’s Block’; the other, ‘Editor’s Block’. I kept – and still have the former; he, the latter. We joked about them from time to time, as we kept said blocks on our respective desks, each holding an assortment of ball point pens and pencils.

Well, today I’m dealing with another type ‘writer’s block’, one generally associated, from a writer’s perspective, with either 1) not having much helpful to share in this week’s blog posting; or frankly, 2) too much material not fully understand – or about which there seems to be general confusion. Ever been torn betwixt and between like that? For me, it’s an unsettling feeling.

So, let’s take a brief look at both perspectives: having much information not fully understood; and then, one topic of the warm fuzzy category of helpful information.

II.

Washington, DC Contretemps cum Conundrums

Contretemps: ‘an embarrassing occurrence’

Conundrum: ‘a riddle; a hard question’

Having ‘careered through’ no fewer than five presidents/CEOs’ at the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), and one Danny Ghorbani = the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), during the past three plus decades, one would think this veteran MHIndustry observer would be more than used to the on – again, off – again relationship machinations between these two national advocacy bodies. Not!

This unity/disunity conflicted state of mind has again been stimulated of late, by a flurry of email messages (apparently) seeking to inform focused and casual readers alike, regarding manufactured housing industry issues, timely circumstances, pending legislation, and more. A few examples:

• HUD program administrator hiring announcement. Consider this a political football once in play, now fumbled! MHI & MHARR agreed to lobby in behalf of one HUD program administrator candidate of their liking. But now, the HUD program administrator hiring announcement has been distributed far and wide, via at least one state MHAssociation and a special blog posting. Consequently, the playing field has lengthened and options (opportunities) increased. Good or bad?.

• GAO & future of HUD as manufactured housing’s regulatory agency. Here, MHIndustry leaders learn of itinerant interviewers asking: ‘What consequence(s) if HUD is replaced as federal regulator of manufactured housing?’ Industry responses to date? MHPoliticos have denigrated or ignored the notion altogether; and some openly discuss the menacing matter, so as to be prepared if/when an industry ‘competitor’, or special interest group, steps into the fray. Good or bad?

• RV interests seek amended definition of manufactured home, in 1974 Act, to exempt larger RVs & some ‘park model RVs from said standards – in effect, creating a new type or classification of factory – built housing (i.e. Units built on steel chassis), that may or may not be appropriate for siting in land lease lifestyle (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), per state regulation. Good or bad?

Some obvious questions here being: 1) Why are such sensitive, potentially paradigm – changing communiqués emanating from more than one national advocacy source? 2) Is there a strategy, of some sort, in play here? Thinking, a Trojan Horse scheme, ‘divide & conquer’ maneuver, or just plain naïveté’ afoot in our nation’s capitol. And, 3) What will it take, to get elected and salaried HUD – Code manufactured housing leaders to finally ‘speak with one unified and effective voice’ in matters politic and having to do with the federal regulation of our industry??????????

II.

Meet the ‘5 – RPs of Marketing’ Applied to Manufactured Housing & LLLCommunities!

Actually, the concept is quite simple, and has an historic twist to it.

Pick up just about any college – level ‘Introduction to Marketing’ textbook, and you’ll find somewhere therein, reference to the ‘Four Traditional Letter Ps of Marketing’. These being:

• Product
• Place
• Price
• Promotion

At that point, the text will often describe, in detail, just how these ‘four Ps’ fit together, not necessarily in the order shown, to effectively Promote one’s appropriate Product or needed service, at the best time and Place, with the right Price. It’s as simple as that, but – believe it or not – it’s an incomplete (marketing) picture at best.

How so? To effectively Promote, the appropriate Product (or service), at the best time and Place, and for the right Price, one had better have yet another ‘letter P’ in play, that being the best People – properly recruited, selected, trained, incentivized, and supervised! And speaking of the Right People, might as well add the word Right to all five ‘letter Ps’ as well, e.g. Right Product, Right Place, Right Price, Right Promotion & Right People! All that brings us now, to the

Five – RPs of Marketing & Selling Manufactured Homes INTO and WITHIN Land Lease Lifestyle Communities, as well as Leasing Rental Homesites WITHIN said Properties….

Yes, there’re three distinct environments in which these ‘Five RPs of Marketing’ are designed to work:

• ‘5-RPs of Marketing & Selling New Homes INTO a LLLCommunity’; this application being from the home manufacturing or plant perspective.

• ‘5-RPs of Marketing & Selling New Homes WITHIN a LLLCommunity’; this application is from the property owner/operator perspective, possibly including one or another type of self – finance or ‘captive finance’, where and when said home sales transactions are concerned.

• ‘5-RPs of Marketing & Leasing Rental Homesites WITHIN a LLLCommunity’; again, this application is from the property owner/operator perspective, harkening back to the traditional manner(s) by which rental homesites are filled.

And the details of marketing & selling (leasing) in these three environments and in accords with these different perspectives? Well, for that you’ll need a set of two 3”X5” plastic wallet cards, recently designed and manufactured for the HUD – Code manufactured housing industry and land lease lifestyle community asset class! Initial distribution of these durable, portable training and memory aids will occur during the 22nd annual International Networking Roundtable in Bloomingdale, IL. @ 18 – 20 September 2013. To register, visit this website or phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to request an information/registration brochure.

In the meantime, engage in the following do – it – yourself exercise. Pick one, and eventually all three, perspectives, and mentally walk yourself through the ‘Five RPs of Marketing’ and ask yourself, along the way: ‘As a (home manufacturer or LLLCommunity owner/operator) do I/we have the Right Product (or homesite) for this local housing market? How do I know so? Then, how ‘bout the Right Place? Need to improve on it somehow? Then, the Right Price (point) for homes (homesite) being sold/leased? How to know? Use the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ to decide.*1 Then, the Right Promotion(s) in place re: off & on – site signage, print & online advertising, etc.. And how ‘bout Right People? When was last time they were Mystery Shopped to measure job performance?*2

Get the idea? Well, that’s what these two plastic 3”X5” wallet cards are all about! In each instance, there’s a plethora of suggestions for the ‘user’ to consider when establishing one’s marketing plan, for any local housing market, and or reviewing one already in existence. So, don’t miss your opportunity to pick up a FREE set of these cards at the Networking Roundtable in September.

End Notes:

1. For FREE copy of the popular ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’, simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633.4764. While you’re at it, also ask for a FREE copy of the ’10 Symptoms of a Troubled LLLCommunity!’

2. Professional complete Mystery Shopping (i.e. telephone & on – site evaluations of sales/leasing team’s on the job performance, in writing, and documented with photographs) of land lease lifestyle communities, available for only $500.00 per property, plus travel – related expenses. Anywhere in the U.S. Simply phone (317) 346-7156. Slightly lesser rate for multiple properties in the same local housing market.
***

George Allen, CPM & MHM
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247