April '20

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72 • RV PRO • April 2020 rv-pro.com launched right in the middle of this exciting moment. Our timing was both perfect and lucky. We didn't take that luck for granted and have been running the magazine full speed ever since. RV PRO: What can the industry do to change percep- tions about truck campers? W h i t e : Pe r c e p t i o n i s changing. Truck campers are getting noticed more and more as the marketplace opportunity they truly are. There will always be industry representatives who ignore or belittle truck campers. That's the business. It's also poli- tics. In the meantime, we're focused on helping the truck camper industry and com- munity enjoy our wonderful niche. RV PRO: Why is it important for the industry to change this sentiment? White: It's not. As of this interview, Truck Camper Mag- azine is approaching 70,000 readers via subscription and social media. In 2019 alone, Truck Camper Magazine sent 14,726 leads to the truck camper industry. That gives you an idea of how healthy the truck camper industry is. If somebody wants to participate in our vibrant segment, we're here. If not, that's fine, too. RV PRO: What do you think the Go RVing campaign and RVIA and Stat Surveys should do differently? White: For starters, the RVIA can follow through with the promises they made to the truck camper industry and community. In mid-2017, we published a detailed article proving the RVIA, Go RVing campaign, and SSI (Statistical Surveys Inc.) were knowingly mis- representing truck campers. In response, James Ashurst, exec- utive vice president for RVIA, wrote, 'We will work with the team and our member com- panies and dealer partners to identify a path forward for increased inclusion in our marketing and PR efforts.' With his permission, we pub- lished his comments in full. The following September, we met with James and his team at the Elkhart Open House. Jack Cole, then president of Lance Campers, arranged and attended the meeting. James reiterated his promise, and we offered our cooperation toward his stated goal. Since that meeting, the RVIA and Go RVing cam- paign have not only failed to live up to their promise, but they have also failed to return our phone calls and emails. Admittedly, I have allowed my passion to fuel my con- duct with them, but that's no excuse for the damage their neglect has caused the truck camper marketplace and com- munity. We demand action. RV PRO: If they do nothing differently with their cam- paigns and numbers, what can the industry do? White: If the Go RVing campaign, RVIA and SSI refuse to change their ways, there may come a time when the truck camper industry needs to take these matters seriously. I honestly hope it doesn't come to that but, after 20-plus years of conscious negligence by these organiza- tions, it might need to. RV PRO: Is there anything else you would like to share with RV PRO's readers? W h i t e : A n g e l a a n d I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the amazing readers and industry leaders who have supported us over the past 13 years. It has been an honor and a great thrill to be part of the truck camper community. ... And keep an eye on Truck Camper Maga- zine. Big stories ahead. The Whites have developed a reputation as the go-to source for the truck camper segment thanks to their deep immersion in the market. They have toured every truck camper factory and lived in demo units long term. Above, Gordon White watches Bill Ward with Hallmark RV perform a repair on a truck camper skylight; below, White takes notes while touring the Happijac facility in this file photo from 2007.

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