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More than 75 people attended an “actionable data” workshop hosted by the RV Industry Association at the Lerner Theater in Elkhart, Ind. (RVBusiness photos by Rick Kessler)

From left: RVIA Senior Director of Membership & Research Bill Baker; Ipsos’ Tim Reimer, who oversaw the Go RVing RV Owner Demographic Profile Study; Cairn Consulting’s Scott Bahr, who conducted the 2020 RV Buyer Survey; FCB’s Annie Lopez Kiperman, who leads her agency’s creative work for Go RVing; Universal McCann’s Garrett Self, who manages Go RVing’s media buying; and Go RVing Vice President of Brand Marketing Karen Redfern.

In a far-reaching presentation, the RV Industry Association (RVIA) hosted more than 75 of its members Wednesday (June 23) at the Lerner Theater in Elkhart, Ind., for an interactive workshop designed to provide attendees with “actionable data” gleaned from the recent Go RVing RV Owner Demographic Profile as well as the 2020 RV Buyer Survey.

Moderated by Go RVing Vice President of Brand Marketing Karen Redfern and RVIA Senior Director of Membership & Research Bill Baker, the workshop featured a panel of experts who could not only speak to the profile and survey, but to how those insights were applied to Go RVing’s ongoing marketing efforts.

Panelists included: Ipsos’ Tim Reimer, who oversaw the Go RVing RV Owner Demographic Profile Study; Cairn Consulting’s Scott Bahr, who conducted the 2020 RV Buyer Survey; FCB’s Annie Lopez Kiperman, who leads her agency’s creative work for Go RVing; and Universal McCann’s Garrett Self, who manages Go RVing’s media buying.

“The goals coming in were to, one, highlight the tremendous research projects that we did. They’re loaded with very actionable data for not only the industry associations, but the members, too,” Baker said.

“And, two, we wanted to bring in the Go RVing folks and talk about what they do, so that way the members can get a really good idea about how can they take that data, take those approaches, and take that back to their own company and implement it,” he added.

The theme of the 90-minute workshop was to understand who the buyer is, their reasons for buying an RV, and what motivations would keep them in the RV lifestyle. And, leveraging those insights with a custom message placed on targeted media platforms where those audience demographics most frequent.

One highlighted bit of new buyer data was that the average purchase price of a new RVs among all new buyers last year was $75,000. But, when looking at Millennials only, the figure jumped to $82,000.

Scott Bahr

“I think there’s some misconception of that generation a little bit,” said Cairn’s Bahr, whose firm also conducts the North American Camping Report for Kampgrounds of America (KOA). “The first is they turn 40 this year, so they’re not that young anymore. So, that generation is now peaking in terms of their earning potential. They’re building their families, building their wealth.

“And, other than some of the hits in the economy, they’re doing fairly well,” Bahr continued. “They spend a little bit more, and they can because we know that Millennials in the past have drifted toward higher-dollar products because of their expectations and how they use it. They want something that’s going to last. They want to attach to a brand that they like. So, they’re willing to spend extra on that.”

Other insights from the profile and survey data included the growing diversity among RVers as well as the continued trend of younger buyers.

As far as leveraging that data, FCB’s Lopez Kiperman, who leads her agency’s creative work for Go RVing, called it a “marriage of art and science.”

Annie Lopez Kiperman

“We look at many things from the data,” she said. “We look at also where people like to travel, their interests when they travel, their habits, what vehicle they could potentially be interested in. And then we also layer on consumer trends, right? So, we also look at things across the industry that would be interesting to add to our work and to build our strategy.

“We look at size of family, if there’s a couple, and all that. And then from there, we also want to make sure that the work resonates with consumers, so we want to reflect back at them things that they’re interested in and create those stories that will stick with them to become intenders and future purchasers. But we actually talk to them kind of further upstream, or higher up the funnel per se. First, we need to build awareness and really create that interest in outdoor living and RV lifestyle and just create that kind of romance in that story. And then from there, we’ll get that consideration to become those intenders and really build that consideration to then become a purchaser.

Building on that “art and science” approach, Self said attendees should really do their homework on which media offers the best demographic audience for the marketing message they’re trying to communicate.

Garrett Self

“We look at the way consumers are using media, it’s increasingly becoming more, what I’ll call on-demand versus traditional,” he said. “So, we really pay a lot of attention to the way that messaging is going to show up in the market, and the way that consumers are processing the message and the environment they’re processing it in. That’s where that ‘art and science’ comes in, to make sure that message is resonating and getting through.”

The profile and survey are available to association members on the RVIA website, officials noted.

“These two research projects really tie into an organizational goal at RVIA that we switched to two years ago. We wanted to have a research enterprise within RVIA that oversees and manages the various research projects, so that we’re getting good actionable data that can be utilized across the industry and across the membership. So, we’re putting a really fine-tuned focus on getting good data for the industry,” Baker explained.

Related to that, Redfern mentioned that another example of “actionable data” is Go RVing’s recently launched a monthly Marketing Minute newsletter, which goes out to all the recipients of the RVIA News & Insights newsletter.

“We look at trends that are happening across the country, things that you may not think would affect the RV industry potentially, but we look at what the data is and then the actionable line there of what does this mean to you? So, it gives you a course of action to consider how this could potentially affect your business,” Redfern explained.