Marketing is the most important aspect of managing and owning a storage facility. It’s a misunderstood concept because, all too often, we see marketing as fliers, brochures, ads and gimmicks. The reality is marketing is everything we do to find, influence, motivate, service and retain customers.
With the current economic pressure on the marketplace, is it any wonder everyone is looking for creative and innovative marketing ideas? While growing up, my father would often say to me, "If it was any more obvious, it would jump up and bite you." The same adage holds true today. Most marketing ideas exist right under our noses.
There’s nothing secret about marketing―nothing sacred―and no one has a corner on brains when it comes to this skill. Ninety nine percent of the time, marketing any product or service simply involves discovering what customers want, offering more than they expect, and getting their attention.
Ring of Demand
The marketing of boat/RV storage has slightly different dynamics than the marketing of conventional self-storage space. For example, consultants will typically espouse that most self-storage customers live within a 5-mile radius of the subject property. While this analysis is accurate, boat/RV storage tends to attract customers from a much greater “ring of demand.”
Many renters will drive up to 15 miles for their storage needs. This is due primarily to the lack of boat and RV parking in most markets; therefore, the consumer must drive simply to find space. This information is useful because dollars spent on marketing for boat/RV storage can be justified in publications or mediums that reach a much greater viewing audience. Local cable-access commercials or newspaper advertising tends to produce better results for boat/RV renters.
These consumers also stay much longer than conventional storage renters. The average tenant stay for a boat/RV customer is well over 24 months. In other words, you can spend more to attract prospects because you have a much longer rental period to amortize your marketing costs. Moreover, outbound missionary marketing efforts, though expensive to implement, tend to yield a much higher return for these customers because of their tendency to stay longer.
Boat/RV customers tend to be influenced by amenities, security and conveniences, more so than conventional self-storage renters. This is due in large part to their commitment and desire to stay longer. In other words, once the boat/RV renter finds suitable storage space, he tends to stay, remain loyal and pay well.
This is especially true if the self-storage operator is selective in the types of vehicles allowed on the property. The typical renter will assess the quality and value of the other vehicles he sees on the site in determining his desire to rent. If there’s a visual, high-quality cadre of other vehicles, he will tend to favor a facility, even if the rents are higher than low-end properties, such as towing yards, marinas, etc.