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The Marketing Strategies Used by Camping World

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Executive Summary and Company Overview

Camping World is the camping and recreational vehicle enthusiasts one stop shop for anything and everything they need to enjoy a life on the road in the comfort of their RV and in the great outdoors. At Camping World we aim to offer products that will improve your outdoor experience by increasing comfort, safety, entertainment all while giving you peace of mind and saving you money.

Founded in 1966, Camping World has grown from a single store in Bowling Green, Kentucky to the nation’s number one retailer of RVs, RV accessories and RV-related services. With over 100 Super Centers nationwide, a state-of-the-art call center and an award-winning website, we are uniquely positioned to serve the needs of camping and RVing families, whether they enjoy weekends outdoors in a pop-up trailer or live full-time in a custom coach. Our growing network of products and services provides campers and RVers the security of a trusted, established name to turn to when they are ready to buy or trade their RV; when they need service, repair or professional installation; when they want to find ways to make travel more convenient or affordable, and when they need specialized accessories designed for the RV and outdoor lifestyle ().

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The goal of our marketing campaign is to show the consumer that when you buy one of our products you are not simply buying an RV, or a camper, or a tent, what you are buying is a product and a service in one. A service that includes a full line of unique ancillary services, including emergency road service, specialized RV insurance, extended vehicle warranties, RV loans and more. We must show the consumer the value we are providing with their purchase goes far beyond simply a new recreational vehicle. What they are purchasing is a lifestyle, a life style that is seen as the ultimate sense of freedom and we are the peace of mind behind that freedom when they purchase from us.

Strategic Objectives

Mission

Camping Worlds mission is to match people with their perfect Recreational Vehicle for their specific situation. We will also provide a long list of products and services to accompany their purchase of an RV.

Goals

  • Build customer base through utilizing a direct marketing strategy
  • Increase web traffic, and online sales
  • Increase awareness of our services offered beyond RV sales

Business Summary

Retail customers: this category refers to all customer that visit our brick and mortar locations, as well as online customers. These are what Camping World considers to be our primary customers. Our focus on these customers needs to be drawing them into our stores and to our website to increase sales. Additionally we will expand the reaches of our brick and mortar locations through cataloguing. We will use Planalytics Inc. to determine just how best to proceed in the rollout of our catalogue campaign. Planalytics is a company that offers an internet –based application that measures the effects of future weather on consumer demand by products, location, and time(Camping world selects planalytics’ impact LR to optimize catalogue marketing, 2012). Camping world will utilize this information to determine the best dates for mailing catalogues by region in order to maximize customer response. From there we will use our stores, website, and catalogue as a platform to increase awareness of the ancillary services offered by camping world.

Ancillary Services: Our Ancillary services are our secondary product category. These are the services that we will sell to our customer that purchase recreational vehicles or other items from us. Our ancillary services include emergency roadside services, specialized RV insurance, extended vehicle warranties, RV loans and more. These products allow us to stay connected with our customers long after they walk out of the showroom. Our service in these product categories will in turn serve as a constant reminder to our customers of the great overall product that Camping World offers. These are the services that we will use to keep customers coming back years down the road.

Competitive Advantage

Supply Chain: Camping worlds competitive advantage lies in its highly advanced supply chain management and in turn gives us the ability to offer a wide variety of products to meet the needs of recreational vehicle enthusiasts all around. In order to manage our supply chain and increase our competitive advantage we will utilize Evant SCM software. Evant is a merchandising, replenishment and enterprise platform solution that will allow us to free up millions of dollars in working capital enabling a greater competitive advantage (Evant, 2004). Evant will allow us to decrease our current inventory by up to 10% while increasing service levels.

• Customer service: With our direct marketing strategy it is essential that we as company maintain a close relationship with each and every consumer. One way we will go about this is through our retail service base. Each and every item that we sell will be installed and serviced in house at one of our locations. Through our ancillary services we will offer long term customer service solutions for our recreational vehicle customers.

• Partnerships: In order to strength our hold on the Recreational vehicle market we will form partnerships with vendors. With these partnerships will come exclusivity, as well as promotion through these vendors? This strategy is a win on all fronts.

Situational Analysis

Industry Analysis

The recreational vehicle industry is set to continue to grow by 15% annually for the next 5 years (Research and Markets, 2012). Much of this growth is attributed to global economic recovery, as well as the aging baby boomer population that is now coming into retirement and looking to hit the road in their golden years. The industry sales figures are broken down as new motor homes (about 35 percent of sales); new travel trailers (30 percent), and used RVs (25 percent) (Research and Markets, 2012). The Recreational Vehicle market consisted of $13 billion dollars in sales in 2012.

SWOT Analysis

Positive Negative

  • Industry best supply chain management, and inventory turnover: Our Evant supply chain software will allow us to reduce inventory by 10%
  • Large line of ancillary service offerings: our ancillary services allow us to maintain an ongoing relationship with customers that our competitors can not currently match
  • Key Strategic Partnerships: Our partnerships allow us product placement with key suppliers in the industry, all while giving us exclusivity with these suppliers and keeping them from competitors.
  • Pricing: due to our volume we have the ability to offer best prices to consumers Inefficiencies within customer service department:
  • Reputation as a big box retailer
  • Increasing competition from new players in the recreational vehicle market
  • Lack of concentrated market segment
  • Oversized. We lack to mom and pop appeal that some old school travellers seek
  • Opportunities Threats

  • Increase market share: We have the opportunity to increase market share through acquisitions of small mom and pop RV retailers
  • Improve customer service: we will improve customer service first by combining our customer service department into one location
  • RV rentals in addition to our already existing RV sales The entrance of new competitors to the market
  • Sales are immediately impacted by the economy, and could be troublesome in the future
  • RV rental companies threaten small portion of sales as consumer may opt to rent over buy. RV rental program in the works.

Competition

The competition for Camping World arises from mainly three other national RV stores, as well as countless mom and pop retailers. What sets us apart from our competitors is our large selection of complimentary products to our RV’s as well as our ancillary services. Most of our competitors focus solely RV sales, which we use to our advantage to set us apart. Our three main competitors are as follows:

Cruise America Inc: Cruise America specializes in only 2 things sales and rentals. Of our three major competitors this one seems to be the least of our worries, as a 70% of their revenue comes from rentals rather than sales.

Lazy Days Inc.: Small family owned RV only retailer. Offers RV’s of every class at 6 locations nationwide. Also offers service, financing, and insurance of RV’s

General RV Center: Family owned RV retailer with 10 locations nationwide. In addition to RV sales they also offer RV rentals as well as services like financing and insurance. General RV is rapidly growing and has added 3 locations in the last 2 years.

Company Analysis

Camping world’s mission is simple: give our customer the best customer service experience possible and provide the offerings to make them lifelong customers. This is why we invest in ongoing training for our associates so they can better assist customer, no matter what product, service or repair they may need for your RV. And we are always looking for new and better ways to enhance the RV and outdoor experience by offering the products and services needed to do so. An RV purchase is a major purchase for anybody as many of our products cost as much as a house. As a world class RV retailer we need to do everything in our power to reduce or prevent our customers from going through buyer’s remorse, the phase of the consumer purchasing life cycle where the consumer assesses their purchase. By expanding our product offerings, expanding our direct marketing strategy, and increasing our customer outreach we will remain competitive and growing for years to come.

Customer Analysis

In today’s recreational vehicle market our customer demographics vary greatly, and are constantly changing. In order to offer the best product possible it is essential that we understand our consumers and what their motivations are behind their purchases. The following customer characteristics represent ideal attributes that align with Camping Worlds’ product offerings.

Background: Individuals or families that have an interest in the outdoors or travelling. In the current economic environment retirees are exceptionally ideal to our business as they represent a large portion of expendable income in the economy as they head into retirement. The main component of our customer profile is an interest in travel.

Income: income levels will vary greatly among our customer base, but the main key is expendable income. We will cater mainly to middle to upper middle class families.

Marketing Strategy

Market Segmentation

Retirees: this refers to baby boomers heading into retirement looking to travel the country upon retiring.

Middle aged families: Families with an interest in camping and travelling. Typically middle to upper middle class families.

Concert promoters: Promoters often time buy RV’s (tour buses) for their clients, for this reason we will include them in our market segment.

Target Market

The key to our target market is to put our physical locations in high population areas that are not located within large cities. People who live within large cities are not very likely to purchase a recreational vehicle. Our prime locations will be located within 20-50 miles of a large city, and within .5 miles of a highway. Ideally we will be located alongside the highway and will have the ability to showcase our RV’s on the highway. By maintaining physical location within this parameter we give ourselves the most noticibility while being located close to those within out market segmentation. Additionally, through our direct marketing strategy we will have the ability to expand our target market far beyond our brick and mortar store locations via both our catalogue program and our website.

User Positioning

Camping Worlds mission is to match people with their perfect Recreational Vehicle for their specific situation, along with a long list of products and services to accompany their purchase of an RV while providing the best customer service possible.

Financial Projections

The largest expenditure for our marketing plan will be the cost of our direct marketing materials, mainly the initial costs associated with developing, printing, and distributing a catalogue. After the initial launch most of the costs associated with the marketing plan will be associated with the additional administrative operating costs necessary to process these orders (Fair Disclosure, 2008).

Implementation Plan

The launch of our directing marketing strategy will be a phased approach, beginning with the utilization of Planalytics software to determine the best rollout plan. Planalytics will provide us the information necessary to determine which regions we should concentrate our direct marketing plan on during specific seasons of the year depending on the region.

Objective-Growth

During the initial rollout of our direct marketing strategy through our catalogue program the primary objective is to expand the reach of our brick and mortar stores and our website. The catalogue program will allow us to reach consumers that are out of a natural driving range of one of our store locations.

Marketing Objectives

Key Success Factors

  • Expand consumer base through catalogue program
  • Increase awareness and sales of our ancillary services lines
  • Increase foot traffic to our store locations utilizing our direct marketing strategy
  • Increase public awareness of the Camping World brand.
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    Efficient value delivery: The catalogue program must add value to Camping World through increased sales, at the same time we much show our customers the added value of our products through the catalogue program

    Increase Brand Awareness: The direct marketing strategy will allow Camping World to increase its brand awareness to areas of the country where our physical store locations have yet to open or may never open. The catalogue program will also act as an advertisement for our website and in turn increase online sales as well.

    Economic and Efficient Marketing Strategy: The key to his direct marketing strategy is the cost effectiveness and the ability to reach such a mass market.

    Evaluation and Control Metrics

    In order to determine the success of our direct marketing strategy through cataloguing we will measure a number of different factors. The idea behind our catalogue program is conversion; we need each catalogue to represent one of 3 things, either a sale on our website, an order through our catalogue number, or foot traffic to one of our stores (Leonidour, Barnes, Spyropoulou, Katsikeas, 2010). In order to measure this we will ask each customer at checkout on our website how they heard about the site with a variety of options to choose from, one of which being our catalogue. We will measure the number of calls received through our catalogue order line in comparison to the number of catalogues mailed. For our store locations we will ask customers to participate in an online survey while offering them a $5 discount on their next purchase. Through the combination of these forms of data we will be able to generate an idea of how successful the direct marketing program has been, or what can be done to improve it.

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