“When it comes to things like the collaborations that we’ve done as a company, we’re looking for the story first and to be able to tell a compelling story, and then we build the products around that.”
– Matt Henwood
I am on JACKED on overlanding. I just got back from the Overland Expo West and was bowled over by the enthusiasm, the products and some of the most brilliant customer-centric market and experiences I’ve seen anywhere. Contributing to that brilliance are my guests on today’s episode, Matt and Tom Henwood of Main Line Overland.
With Matt and Tom at the helm, this episode is a masters program in knowing your audience and understanding their journey as a consumer. If you’ve been interested in opening the overland and vehicle supported adventure market, this is a must-listen, must-see.
And…out of a technical difficulty has sprouted a fun twist! Interspersed throughout this interview are other chats on location from the Expo. Time stamps are listed below if you want to move around on your own.
Tom and matt henwood
Together with their brother, Peter, Tom and Matt Henwood are the founders and owners of Main Line Overland (MLO) – a two-store mecca for overlanding gear, inspiration and education.
With an MFA in writing and a background in exploring and filmmaking, Tom serves as director of marketing and content for MLO. Read his full bio here. Matt employs his passions for motorsports and the outdoors, as well as an MBA in marketing and experience as a fabricator to head up four wheel camper and adventure trailer sales. Read his full bio here.
Overlanding, vehicle supported adventure (VSA), the adventure portal business model, demographics of overlanding, geographic selection, campers trucks and rigs, overland audience profiles, preferred and successful channels for the overland market, value price and authenticity, completing the consumer journey, the importance of forums.
[Tom] “When it comes to things like the collaborations that we’ve done as a company, we’re looking for the story first and to be able to tell a compelling story, and then we build the products around that.”
[Matt] “We help influence and get them to their final destination, which is some awesome location.”
[Matt] “You’ll get kids that just graduated from college and they’re going go live on the road for a year or two, all the way up to, “I’m 85 and retired and buying my last camper for my last hoorah.” You get this wide, totally brazen demographic spread.”
[Matt] “The products really give them the ability to access places that are otherwise inaccessible, and that’s what they want. … They’re trying to have an epic adventure, and they want to bring other products that support that and make things more comfortable along the way.”
[Matt] “[Access, comfort and specialty safety] is where other brands have an opportunity, I think, to get into the marketing mix because basically, [overlanders] need the support products.”
[Matt] “That kind of live on the road mentality or live on the trail is really alluring to them.”
[Tom] “[Our audience] realizes that we’re a part of this culture; we’re not just selling them something.”
[Matt] “They’re also looking for real experience from customers who already own it.”
[Matt] “If the quality’s not quite there, then it’s a red flag. And they’ll redirect people to things that are quality, even if they’re made in lesser quantities and they’re a higher price. They’ll pay it.”
[Tom] “Keep evolving with your customer.”
[Matt] “[Overland] is not something to be afraid of. It’s customers that are trying to gain more access to those awesome places that they couldn’t experience before, or they’ve got some kids and they need to be able to bring their kids with them.”
[Tom] “Everyone has a thirst for wilderness. All of us want to be out there by ourselves. We want to find campsites where there’s no one else around, all that kind of stuff. Sometimes you have to get further and further out to do that.”
AS MENTIONED IN EPISODE:
In this episode, we have interspersed interviews (and videos) with other exhibitors from Overland Expo West. Below are time markers to see where those chats start and finish.
00:10:41 START Kristin’s Expo Intro
00:11:54 END Kristin’s Expo Intro
00:17:31 START Onsite interview segment with:
00:19:12 Eric Boatner, Canyon Coolers
00:20:49 John Crick, Scottsdale bike shop owner
00:21:48 Katie, Princeton Tec
00:24:57 END Onsite interview segment
00:33:50 START Onsite interview segment with:
00:34:43 Frank Ledwell, OutdoorX4 Magazine
00:37:02 Byron Beck, Campo Vans
00:42:22 Earl Hunter, Sylvan Sport
00:44:32 END Onsite interview segment