By Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report
They say if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is an encyclopedia of information. More and more RV dealerships, suppliers, and campgrounds are embracing video as a way to promote their companies, products and services. That’s great to see.
However, it is still baffling why most RV manufacturers are not producing a professional quality video for every RV they make, and allowing dealers to use the videos on their websites. As a result, some ambitious RV dealers have taken it upon themselves to fire up a camera and produce walk around videos depicting the features and benefits of units on their sales lots.
What’s puzzling to me is why many of the videos don’t say anything.
In some instances, the “videos” are nothing more than a rapidly transitioning slide show of photographs with music laid over the images, like this one from Floyd’s RV in Oklahoma.
I’m going to give Floyd’s credit for using music that everyone can appreciate. A bunch of dealers employ millennials to produce their videos by overlaying heart-stopping heavy rock music, which is ultra-disruptive and, I suspect, forces people to shut it down right away.
Really, who wants to be viewing videos during a quick break at work and have something like this draw the attention of co-workers three rows away?
But, I guess any music is better than the silent videos, like this one from RV Wholesale Superstore.
Riley’s RV World in Kentucky and McClains RV in Texas must be buying videos in bulk because they are all exactly one minute and one second long. And the computer voice does little to describe the actual RV or the dealership. I’m not picking on those two dealerships, because the same one minute and one second videos appear all over YouTube from nearly a hundred different dealerships.
Most RV dealerships produce videos much like this one from Southaven RV and Marine in Mississippi. They look professional, but its nothing more than two minutes and 17 seconds of watching a camera scroll around a room and zoom into particular items.
What’s the point of focusing on a control panel, if there isn’t anybody explaining what the panel does and how it impacts the RV experience? The same with the instrument cluster in a motorhome.
And why doesn’t anyone show the refrigerator open so that people can see how big it is?
One dealership that is doing it right, in my opinion, is American RV in Grand Rapids, Mich. The company posts multiple videos to YouTube every week that average seven to 10 minutes in length. Each video starts with an image of the model’s floorplan and a few still photos of the interior or exterior.
That’s where most RV dealers finish, but American RV takes it to another level. After establishing a foundation for what vehicle will be described, a product specialist appears to offer a personal tour of the RV by pointing out the specific features and benefits, and often talking about the quality items that may not be apparent when looking at photographs.
Often, the product specialist will sneak in information as to why it is a good idea to buy the unit from THAT dealership or from THAT manufacturer.
This is what video is supposed to do. Check out a few of American RV’s videos at the dealership’s YouTube channel.
Motor Home Specialist is another dealership that does an exceptional job in producing RV-related videos, although not nearly as frequently as American RV. Check out the Motor Home Specialist YouTube channel.
There have to be dozens of RV dealerships posting the same series of videos on their dealership’s YouTube pages. They all appear to be produced by the same company, such as this one about biking with dogs and this one about visiting farmer’s markets. There appears to be two dozen different videos in that series being shared by dealerships all over the nation.
Kudos to the dealerships for posting content to their websites, but when its the same video being posted by dozens of other dealerships across the country, I don’t know if it’s effective. That’s especially true because Google, which owns YouTube, frowns upon and penalizes websites for displaying the same content. Google likes original content and promotes it much more favorably than the 30th rendition of the same video.
At the end of the day, video is absolutely the wave of the future, even though it is still almost impossible to get an internet connection at campgrounds strong enough to display a one minute, one second video without requiring 17 minutes of starting and stopping to allow the buffering process to work.
So, let’s keep producing videos because that’s what people like to view. But, let’s do it in a way that conveys information essential to educating RV buyers about the features and benefits of the units their investigating without leaving it to their imaginations to figure it out themselves.