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Industry Profile – Bestop

Bestop
Imagine what our off-road world would be like with our aftermarket accessories. Just think about that for a moment… no lockers, no performance products, no bumper upgrades, no bigger tires. Kind of scary, isn’t it? Now imagine if there were aftermarket accessories, but they were all made in some foreign country where workers slaved for pennies per hour and there was no quality assurance. To be honest, I’m not sure which would be worse.

Let’s face it, our sport wouldn’t be nearly as exciting, as adventurous, nor as fun without high-quality aftermarket accessories. This brings us to one of the most recognizable and well-trusted aftermarket accessory manufacturers in our industry – Bestop.

We recently spent some time with Megan Thompson, Bestop’s Marketing Manager to get the low-down – the skinny if you will – on their new “How Do YOU Bestop?” marketing campaign, as well as what new accessories they might have hiding up their sleeve. After all, in recent years they have certainly been up to more than just putting canvas on top of old Jeeps.

 

 The Interview

Bestop 4X4REVIEW.COM: Tell us about this new marketing campaign you are running entitled “How do YOU Bestop?”

Bestop: The HDYB [How do YOU Bestop?] campaign is the first ever customer-campaign for Bestop. To date, we have had an avalanche of answers, with our customers sending letters and photos describing how they like to Bestop across America.

4X4REVIEW.COM: What are the goals of this marketing campaign? This is hardly your garden-variety “come-buy-our-product” type advertisement.

Bestop: Due to Bestop’s 50 plus year history we are honored to have loyal customers that span so many generations. With this, following the stories that we hear from everybody that are so inspiring, we consider ourselves honored and our products lucky to even take part in so many people’s lives! We wanted to share these stories not only with our dealers, but the entire 4-wheel drive enthusiast realm too.

4X4REVIEW.COM: So this campaign… it’s really all about customer appreciation huh?

Bestop: Absolutely! If you’re a Bestop customer, and it doesn’t matter whether you are 15 or 85, we want to hear from you.

Bestop 4X4REVIEW.COM: It seems that Bestop is expanding these days, getting into the pick-up truck and SUV market. Can you tell us where you are headed in 2008 and beyond?

Bestop: 2008 is only the start. While staying committed to new and innovative Jeep® products, we are proud to announce our ever-expanding line of Truck products-most notably the AMP Research line and the new BestRail™ System by Bestop®. We are constantly looking for ways to bring our “Fit.Function.Style” from our Jeep products into other markets as well as Truck and UTV. Stay tuned!

4X4REVIEW.COM: I’m sorry, did you say “UTV”?

Bestop: That’s right… but more on that later.

4X4REVIEW.COM: Speaking of expansion – you have a partnership with AMP Research. Can you tell us a bit about this partnership, and the products that will be offered through it?

Bestop: AMP Research products by Bestop® include: AMP Research Power Step, AMP Research BedStep™ and AMP Research Bed X-Tender™ AMP Research by Bestop products are an excellent addition to any pickup truck and follow the same guidelines for “fit.function style” as our Jeep products.

4X4REVIEW.COM: Bestop has also started to build bumpers, sliders and more. Can you tell us about your product lineup and where it is headed?

Bestop: We are continuously updating our product mix. Our goal is to not just be a top provider, but an overall Jeep, Truck and UTV accessory provider. We are Best in tops, and now we want to showcase our other products as well.

4X4REVIEW.COM: There’s that UTV plug again, can you tell us more?

Bestop:

4X4REVIEW.COM: Bestop has been making soft tops for Jeeps and such for a while. How long has Bestop been around?

Bestop: Over 50 years!

Bestop 4X4REVIEW.COM: That’s a long time! A little birdy told me that the President of Bestop is a Jeep owner, and isn’t afraid to Jeep his rig dirty. Is this true?

Bestop: Very true! Our president had his new JK for no more then a week before it was up in the mountains with our HighRock 4×4 Bumper System getting a workout.

4X4REVIEW.COM: Does he test some of your products?

Bestop: Our Bestop motto is this: “Instead of sitting in a studio showing you what our products are, lets show them what our products can DO.” With that motto ingrained, our work passion does lead into our personal life. Our president, marketing department, sales department, engineering team and more and blessed to be able to take our rigs on the trail, knock them around and test the living daylights out of our own products. No product leaves here without being thoroughly thrashed. Heck, our employees purchase our products regularly, because they know the quality and engineering we put into it.

4X4REVIEW.COM: The President takes Bestops products out in the real world and beats the snot out of them – does that make anyone nervous?

Bestop: Actually I think it would get them a raise if he wasn’t already President.

4X4REVIEW.COM: OK… is the Bestop President’s rig a driving billboard of Bestop goods?

Bestop: Most of our Bestop employees that have 4X4’s are usually driving billboards of Bestop goods. You can’t sell it if you don’t know it or use it!

4X4REVIEW.COM: Beyond having the President of Bestop picking up some Bestop goodies for his rig, how does Bestop test their products?

Bestop: Our products not only get field tested, but weather tested as well. The whole nine yards. We also branch out to some of the local Jeep® clubs to have them test out certain products, so that we can get a consumer point of view as well. We make sure no stone is left unturned!

Bestop 4X4REVIEW.COM: Let’s talk a bit about customer service. I had the pleasure of calling once before, when I was installing / testing a Bestop product for our magazine. I have to tell you, the guy I talked to really new his stuff. He was a veritable encyclopedia of 4X4 information. Can you tell me where “customer service” sits in the priority of things?

Bestop: Our Customer Service is something we are very proud of. We recently expanded our customer service hours to make ourselves more available – 8-5, Coast to Coast, Monday through Friday. Customer service is our top priority and these people know their stuff. With a combined 57 years of experience in the business, it’s hard to go wrong.

4X4REVIEW.COM: How do you train your customer service representatives?

Bestop: We have an extensive training program that lasts over 3 months as well as products and program services. Its not unusual at all to see a customer service Rep in the engineering department installing a top or a bumper system to gain more knowledge and ultimately help answer a customer’s question.

4X4REVIEW.COM: Speaking of the customer – how does Bestop accept customer feedback?

Bestop: Mail, email us at csbestop@bestop.com, web contact at www.Bestop.com, visit us at events, or call Customer Service at 1-800-845-3567

4X4REVIEW.COM: So, Megan, what do YOU like best about working at Bestop?

Bestop: I like that my job doesn’t involve sitting behind a desk day in and day out. I stand behind our products because I have been able to test them myself. I am not just marketing a box, I am marketing a products that gets people out there. Further more, I market a lifestyle I live and promote. Life isn’t too bad around here, I can give you plenty of stories on How I Bestop!

4X4REVIEW.COM: I’ll bet. So, tell us a story then about those UTV’s ?

Bestop: I’ll fill you in around August 1st, 2008, but for now, you’ll just have to wait. [laughs]

 

 

About Bestop®

Bestop designs and builds an exciting mix of Jeep tops-both soft tops and hardtops-as well as other accessories adding utility, value and style to your vehicle. With more than 50 years of heritage, quality, engineering and legendary design, Bestop also offers an assortment of exceptional truck caps, bumpers, steps, seats, doors, storage systems and other accessories too. Bestop also manufactures high-quality accessories for other vehicles, such as Toyota, Suzuki, Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and more. They utilize the finest materials and adhere to the factory original specifications for fit, function, style and craftsmanship.

Bestop is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado U.S.A. and is supported by over 250 employees guided by the principles from which we were founded in 1954: to create innovative product, to provide impeccable workmanship, and to promote unwavering attention to detail.

Bestop products can be purchased with confidence through Bestop-authorized distributors and are not sold direct from the Bestop factory.

Bestop Inc.
P.O. Box 307
Broomfield, CO 80038
Toll Free: (800) 845-3567
International: (303) 465-1755
Email: csbestop@bestop.com
Web: www.bestop.com

About Rick Webster

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