July '18

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rv-pro.com July 2018 • RV PRO • 81 our 2014 Livin' Lite Game Day Tailgate Trailer to the First Bap- tist Church of Newcastle's "Trunk-or-Treat" event and show the NFL game on the 70-inch TV and offer a variety of Xbox games on the other TVs. "Our newest investment is as a Platinum Sponsor for the Pray 4 Caleb (P4C) 5K run, scheduled for April 29. Caleb Freeman, a local 16-year-old, was in a serious auto accident in December. He was kept in a medically-induced coma for several weeks before being transferred to a rehab center in Denver, where he has made dramatic strides and is now talking, walking with assistance, and regaining his strength. "Several members of the community created this event and registrations have come from more than 45 states and four coun- tries. The proceeds will help offset Caleb's massive medical bills. We are providing several RVs at the staging area and all the golf carts we use at the store on race day. "I typically base sponsorship decisions on several factors: how much is the investment of money, time and effort? How much exposure will we receive? Who will be there? "Newcastle is a community of about 10,000 people on the out- skirts of Oklahoma City. The people who attend community- or school-sponsored events are our core demographic: Two-income families with kids at home. Also, people want to do business with people who support the causes they support. "Usually, our sponsorships involve a combination of money and use of an RV. If an RV is involved, an employee always delivers it, sets it up, and brings it back when the event is over. Depending on the event, individual employees or a group of employees may attend. "I think every dealer has to look for ways to be involved in the communities they serve. Perhaps a dealership located in a large, urban, metro area might have a more difficult time being seen because many of the events near them draw Fortune 500- type sponsors. But for dealers in smaller markets, it's a fantastic opportunity to reach potential buyers. We try to take advantage of every opportunity to be seen supporting local causes. "I don't think we have ever gone into any sponsorship expecting to sell something at the event. If we have staff manning the RV, they are there as brand ambassadors and not as salespeople. We are planting seeds that our continued involvement will help to nurture, so one day we can reap a sale. "There are many ways to advertise, and most of them cost a lot of money. Sponsoring community events is far more affordable and far more rewarding. If you always go where the people are, they will eventually tell their friends and neighbors to come see you when they're ready to purchase. "I've been in the RV business for more than 20 years and I'm closer to people I've met through this industry than I am to some of my own relatives. The RV industry is about family, pure and simple. Any opportunity we can take to be involved in local events just solidifies our image as another member of the family."

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