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Lessons in Life & Business


Moving In, Moving Up, & Moving Around


OEM: Industry Insights


Content Strategy


Dealer Sales & Other Ramblings


We’re Testing It Once, We’re Testing It Twice


RVWS Favorite Designs of 2017


Partnerships & Affiliates: That’s a Wrap


SEM Update: Retargeting & Remarketing

by Paige Bouma

by Christine Knapp

by Kensey Edwards

by John Fall

by Phillip Billups

by Nick Newsome

by Melissa Schwartz

by Brooke Reese





How can it be that we are this far into the new year? Last year was one of those years that felt incredibly fast and incredibly slow all at the same time... you know what I’m talking about. As a business, we experienced A LOT of change in just 12 months - at times I felt myself wanting things to slow down so we could have more time to prepare, to respond, and in some situations, react. But, there seemed to have been just as many moments when I couldn’t wait for things to progress - for example, with the finalization of the sale, or our long awaited meetings with Honda and other major OEMs, etc. And while it felt a bit like a rollercoaster ride, it was a fun and enlightening ride for sure - and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Honestly, I think it’s in the crazy, fast-paced times that we refine our abilities as a business to prioritize, to be decisive, and to TRUST. We are really good at what we do. And it’s not just because we have good products in place, but because we have really good people in place. Without you all showing up to work every day and giving 100% we wouldn’t have been able to successfully pull off half of what we accomplished as a business this past year. And that’s the truth. So, THANK YOU.

Now, on the other side of the coin, we have what feel like slower times too. It’s in these moments that we learn one of the hardest lessons (at least for me) which is - patience. Patience to wait for the optimal product or solution to be developed/launched/marketed. Patience to fill that role you have open with the right person. Patience to see how that customer, group, or individual is going to receive a particular change… and what the outcome of it will be. And while difficult at times, there is so much to be gained in the waiting. Perhaps we decide to make one final tweak before a roll out, or we get that resume for the perfect candidate that we thought might never come across our desk. By waiting, we allow time for perfection. Now, it’s not guaranteed - of course - but you up your chances of achieving it when you can slow down and focus. And I can promise you more of the same in 2018. We’re going to have fast times and slow times. We’re going to continue to need to trust ourselves and our team members - and we’re definitely going to need to FOCUS. So, cheers to a new year moving at lightning speed and a tortoise pace. In the balance, I hope we find ourselves pushed ever so slightly out of our comfort zones toward incredible growth, personally and professionally.




p tine Knap is r h C : y Ar ticle b


Brands to Watch: KTM: KTM is embracing the younger demographic, with a popular booth at the recent IMS shows and production of entry-level motorcycles geared at getting new riders into the market. We recently talked with them and they are excited to work with us, not only to grow their footprint on our site through advertising and brand awareness, but also by exploring Co-Op opportunities for our dealers. Keep an eye out for the black & orange in 2018! ROYAL ENFIELD: Harley-Davidson sold 260,000 bikes last year and is expected to sell around 250,000 units worldwide this year. However, Royal Enfield’s sales are equivalent to the global sales of Harley-Davidson, KTM, BMW, Triumph, and Ducati — combined. You can read more about this potential market disruptor here.

YAMAHA: Yamaha has been alluding to the release of new youth motocross models (coming Q1 2018) through their “Step into the victorYZone” videos now on social media. You can see the videos here. HARLEY: Sales of heavy iron are down and profits are flat for this motorcycle giant — the once cleanly paved road is now a little bumpy for Harley. They’ve launched key initiatives this year to address this, and their overarching strategy for the next DECADE is to grow riders. In fact, their target is 2 million riders over the next 10 years. In recent public appearances, they’ve made mention of focusing on the “software” (referring to the people that are going to ride and how are they going to use the bikes) versus the “hardware” (expensive streetbikes with lots

BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products): Transforming their current business model, BRP has decided to open a North American headquarters in Texas with the goal of becoming closer and more connected to the US market — their largest market. The new HQ will include sales, Acquisitions & Mergers: marketing, dealer services, finance, and human TEXTRON OFF-ROAD: Arctic Cat was acquired resources. We have established solid relationships by Textron Specialized Vehicles earlier this year, at BRP and look forward to spearheading new and you can read about the acquisition here. And initiatives with them around Q2 — after they get if this monumental shift wasn’t enough change settled in their new location and have the proper for one brand, Caterpillar Inc. announced that it foundation in place to fuel growth. will enter the utility vehicle (UTV) market with a Let’s RiDE: line of machines that will be available next year. The company has a manufacturing and supply While manufacturers are making moves, the agreement with Textron to produce the vehicles powersports industry as a whole is getting that will be sold through Arctic Cat dealers. prepared to reach the next generation of riders. The Motorcycle Industry Council has brought Moving the Needle: together industry experts and leaders to launch HONDA: Out of all the OEMs we’ve discussed the RiDE campaign, similar to the Go RVing i this year, this one has come up the most, and for nitiative launched by the RV industry. good reason. In April of 2017, Honda announced “We want to work with the dealers, we want to that they would be capping Cycle Trader and work with the distributors, we want to work with ATV Trader dealers at $2,500 for Co-Op motorcyclists and ATV riders to get everybody reimbursement. Well, I’m excited to say that our working together, sharing our passions, sharing Honda trial program is underway. Thank you to our stories with new generations of young everyone who has helped with insight­— we’re riders,” said Mike Doughty, general manager, almost there! We’re working hard to lift the cap motorcycle sales and marketing of Yamaha Motor and solidify some new opportunities for Honda Corporation, U.S.A. “Let’s get new butts on seats dealers in 2018. and teach these young riders how to get started the right way, all of us working together.” We couldn’t agree more, and we will be focusing on building our relationships and partnerships with powersports OEMs as we kick off 2018! of bells and whistles). Only time will tell if this customized approach moves the Harley brand in the right direction for the next generation of motorcyclists. Their recent presence at the IMS shows has them off to a good start!

Article by: Kensey Edwards

Let me brag for a minute. We are the best. We do buying and selling better than anyone else in our industries. We know it and our competitors know it. But despite how awesome we are – there is one area that still needs a little love – and that’s our content. It’s really convenient that I think so – since this will be a big focus of mine in 2018. So, excuse me while I step up on my soapbox and tell you all why, in my humble opinion, content and increasing our content offering is the next best thing since sliced bread.

Reason #1: We’re obligated We provide our dealers great products and services - but most of them aren’t 100% comfortable in the digital marketplace. It’s our job to help our dealers get more comfortable with taking their dealership online and navigating the digital landscape. Providing them that guidance not only positions us as experts in our industries, but also shows them that we are a resource for them in more ways than one. It’s the proof in our pudding, so to speak.

Reason #2: It’s a sneaky, non-sales, sales tool Dealers love hearing from our sales and customer service teams - and why wouldn’t they? Those groups are amazing. But sometimes it’s great to just call your dealer with some advice or a tip that you think might help them out, no strings attached. Not only does this position you as a true consultant and partner for their dealership - it reminds them of who you are and opens the door to talk about other things (cough - upsells - cough) if the dealer seems so inclined. Tough to make these calls without these helpful resources, though. Am I right?

Reason #4: It’s the great differentiator Reason #3: It’s tough to duplicate There are no shortcuts with content. It would be great if there were, but there aren’t – trust me, I’ve checked. Writing unique and interesting stuff takes a long time and I don’t mean writing one article – but building up an entire library of helpful information is time consuming. Readers are looking for something they can’t necessarily find somewhere else so it’s important to create something original, and to offer a new perspective. Thankfully for us – we have more consumer data than anyone else in our industries - meaning that as we work to build up our content, it’s going to be really tough for our competitors to duplicate the insight and data we can provide our dealers.

It’s what will keep our dealers coming back and engaged with us throughout their buying lifecycle. It positions us as their one stop shop – they can come to us for anything and everything that fuels their business. And the reality is that more and more sources are offering great content. So it’s time we throw our hat in the ring and start flexing our data and industry knowledge muscles. The best part is that a good content strategy is the perfect complement to what we already offer and has the ability to cement our position in our industries.

Okay – you have tolerated my soapbox for long enough – so I will step down from my favorite spot for now. If you want to hear me continue to ramble about exactly why I think content is a big deal, don’t hesitate to reach out – I’d be happy to keep going.

Partnerships & Affiliates That’s a Wrap Article by: Melissa Schwartz Greetings from

South Carolina!

It was another busy year for the Partnerships & Affiliates (P&A) team. Christine Knapp and I enjoyed connecting with a variety of people in our industries in order to help grow our brands, drive traffic to our sites, and generate connections for our dealers. You may have heard some updates through the grapevine or our weekly staff meetings – but it really boils down to three major accomplishments for 2017:

We brought on a total of 11 new Affiliates – three were OEMs and eight were industry websites. Eight new Partners joined our Member Benefit Program. We collected nearly 50,000 emails through the Great American Campout Sweepstakes and saw the highest % of non-duplicate emails collected from a P&A campaign.

A few other notable accomplishments include the refreshing of our Thousand Trails partnerships, integration of RV Trader’s app on two new Rand McNally devices, and participation in four trade sponsorships at partner events. For the first time, we were also able to focus on building relationships for our adventure sites, bringing on at least one new Affiliate each for ATV Trader, PWC Trader, and Snowmobile Trader. We connected with experts in the snowmobile industry specifically to provide content for the Discover Snowmobiling guide. These collaborations give us a peek into how other people in our industries are thinking, the directions they’re heading, and how we all can join together to grow the sports.

All of these efforts helped generate over 3.5 million visits and 11.7 million pageviews last year. On top of that, over 200,000 connections were sent to our dealers – and we’re dedicated to growing that number by the end of 2018. I would like to thank everyone who helps make our P&A initiatives happen, including the Product, Marketing, and Customer Service teams. Without you – all of our inventory wouldn’t be distributed, we wouldn’t have any creative for our campaigns, and our OEM Affiliates wouldn’t stay updated! Since rolling out our new process for adding Affiliate dealers in May, I’ve already received over 350 requests through the form – and we continue to see positive results from our collective efforts.

And lastly, a big thank you to Christine Knapp – she started the P&A program a few

years ago and has grown it to the 90+ industry partners we have today. Because of this program millions of people have viewed our inventory on affiliate sites, thousands of connections were generated for our dealers, and well over 100,000 emails have been collected through RV sweepstakes. Behind the scenes are countless more conversations, prospects, and brainstorming sessions all with one goal in mind - to make P&A better so we can help grow our business. In 2018, the P&A program will transition to the Marketing team to further streamline efforts and increase internal collaboration – we can’t wait to see what this year holds. Stay tuned!

Yes… of course. Retargeting is an important concept in the digital marketing world, and something that we focused on throughout 2017 and will continue to grow in 2018.

Article by: Brooke Reese

But before we go any further, I want to make sure we clarify what retargeting is – because, truth be told, it’s often used interchangeably with remarketing and they aren’t exactly the same thing. Retargeting is serving custom ads to consumers – who have previously visited a site – based on their behavior. While remarketing, is simply the re-introduction of a brand to a consumer. Because we understand how important our audience size and growth is to our dealers, we have implemented retargeting in a few different ways, including in-house efforts within Google and partnering with Evocalize to launch Facebook retargeting campaigns.

Within Google, we’ve created (and tested!) two different types of retargeting ads - static, image based banners that reinforce our brand message, as well as dynamic ads that display units viewed by visitors on our sites. These retargeting ads have gained over a million impressions per month and have displayed on sites like,, and as well as in various mobile apps. There has also been a YoY increase of 23% in return visits to RV Trader and a 16% increase in return visits to Cycle Trader. Not too shabby!

Similarly, Evocalize’s retargeting ads will follow past visitors of our sites as they use Facebook, serving up ads that dynamically display units that have been viewed by the user and suggestions of similar units. We’ve seen great results so far with our Facebook retargeting campaigns for both RV and Cycle. Costs have been incredibly low and the campaigns have resulted in a great amount of interaction with our Facebook pages and driving traffic back to our sites. Over a 3 month period, the RV campaign’s cost per click or CPC has been as low as $0.01 and we’ve seen over 410,000 clicks on our ads.

Overall, we’re really pleased. Our retargeting efforts have been successful in keeping our sites top of mind for active shoppers and have undoubtedly aided in bringing back the visitors that are ready to buy.

The Buzz 2018  
The Buzz 2018