Hooking up aftermarket RV products with dealerships or retailers and creating interest for the product among consumers isn’t an area where many suppliers can claim to have an expertise.
Enter companies such as RV Lifestyle Inc. (RVLI), which specializes in facilitating RV aftermarket product placement and promotion in the marketplace with the ultimate goal being to increase sales.
“We spend a lot of our time helping bring products to market – calling on distributors and making calls to dealers for their catalogs and advertising,” said Rosie Hirsch, president of the Agoura Hills, Calif., company founded by Hirsch in 2002.
“There are a lot of people involved in manufacturing and distributing aftermarket products. The distributors themselves, their inside and outside sales people, the marketing people at the dealership. We help everyone absorb the training and education needed to properly market a product, whatever it might be.”
Company representatives attend trade and consumer shows and rallies, including the Louisville Trade Show and Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) events, to promote their clients products, which typically are “need” items, such as water lines, sewer hoses, power connectors, circuit breakers and toilet chemicals. Currently, RVLI represents 13 products that it also promotes on its Internet website (rvli.com)
“Our attendance at shows primarily is based on our suppliers asking us to help them out at a particular venue,” Hirsch said. “We help them set up and breakdown their booths and we man the booths during the show.”
In some cases, RVLI provides marketing support that includes managing contacts from a client’s Internet website.
Hirsch said it’s particularly satisfying to watch a new product grow to the point that consumers ask for it by name. “When consumers go into a dealer asking for the product you are promoting, you know you are doing something right,” she said. Even after a product ends up in a distributor’s catalog, RVLI’s job isn’t finished, Hirsch said.
“From there, we always educate the dealers about new products coming down the pipe, how those product are used and how to market them,” Hirsch said.
Sometimes it takes dealer interest to convince a distributor to stock a product, she said.
“Once you get a dealer interested in a product, it’s easier to take it to a distribution house and get them to carry it,” Hirsch said. “The other part of that is that any of our reps can take a product to a distributor that they’ve developed a relationship with and they know that we understand what products will work best for their customer base.”