Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Wrong Traffic

Is there such a thing as "bad traffic" in your dealership? Six months ago if you asked dealers that most would probably reply with an emphatic "no!" Just having bodies in the door to keep the salespeople off the roof was refreshing for a lot of stores. Things are changing though, the public is loosening up and sales numbers are up across the board. I'm hearing from more and more clients that things are just better, they are busier and the mood has certainly lifted.

So let's be honest for a minute. Has your dealership ever put on a big event promotion, probably involving a gift for coming in, that's brought in hundreds of people? How many sales were made and what was the gross? In the last three months I've worked with one store that had 485 ups and sold 3 cars and another that averages right around 300 ups every month and grosses between $150k and $200k like clockwork. What's the difference?

Probably a lot of things.

I think the bottom line comes down to the sales staff and management attitude. Before doing the big dog and pony show assess your staff, do they know how to take a gift getter and turn them into a buyer? Are they tenacious enough to work 10 leads hard to find the one that might buy today?
Do you or your management team believe it's possible to "take a gift grabber to a thinker to a looker to a buyer (to quote Mr. Tim Ditonto of Ditonto & Associates)?"
If the answer to these questions are "no" then let's talk about alternatives to the high traffic events, OR about helping prepare the team for this new type of sale.

Every store has its own culture, sales process and image. Be sure the marketing you are putting out there matches your store. Give me a call - let's talk about your store and put together a personalized solution.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What can you do with a Saturation list?

Recently our team here at Tri Auto has been partnering with more and more ad agencies.  We offer a behind the scenes service providing all sorts of direct marketing - to make their lives easier and to share our expertise in automotive direct mail.  For many, saturation direct mail is something they don't have a lot of experience with and it helps to have a team behind them that has specialized in it for years.

That being said, I have had the same question twice in the past few days - "Don't you have to hit an entire zip code to use a saturation list?"

The short answer is-no.  In fact you can even target your mail within a zip code using actual demographic info.  So what's the deal?

  • Each zip code is broken down into carrier routes.  It's just how it sounds, carriers = your mailman.  So imagine your mailman delivers to your neighborhood, the one down the road and two across the way.  That group of neighborhoods becomes a "carrier route."  It could be 50 homes or over 500, just depends on the market.
  • To get the "saturation" discount you only have to hit whole carrier routes.  Some companies are set up better than others to handle this type of list selection.
  • So what carrier routes do you choose?  This is where the demographics come in to play.  For each route we can show you the average home value, income and age for the area.  After a quick consultation with you on the market in question we can select the areas for you or you are welcome to do it yourself.
It's as easy as that.  So let's say there are 8,000 people in a zip code but you only want to do 5,000 mailers - no problem!  It is also easy to split those 5,000 mailers over three different zip codes as you like.

The main point of this post is to just let everyone know that saturation lists are becoming more and more effective and easy to use.  Katy Peat is the zip code diva on our team - she not only consults on what areas to mail to but can also share tips on avoiding certain pitfalls and using Marketvision data to help increase response on your future sales using the zip info from past ones.  If you have more questions feel free to email Katy today.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Direct Mail & Email: The Wave of the Future?

Last week Ad-Ology, a research firm that studies marketing and advertising trends across a variety of industries, released a report on the types of marketing likely to be increasing in 2010.

The findings might surprise you.  Yes, there was plenty of mention of Social Media & Internet marketing.  Obviously both sectors continue to grow rapidly.  However, the report found that when companies are looking to earn new customers the top two forms of marketing to be used in 2010 are email (84.6% of responders) and direct mail (70.4%).

On LinkedIn and other social networking sites there have been a lot of discussions lately about "dying" media formats.  Direct Mail and print tend to get thrown to the top of that list from time to time.  I'm a firm believer in a broad marketing mix that allows consumers to be touched by your message in a variety of formats.  Some forms are easier to track than others, but there is an added synergy in a good media mix that is nearly impossible to count.

Quickly though - why is it that email & direct mail would be the most popular forms of new customer acquisition?
  • They are personal, one on one messages.  Email and mail is always more effective when addressed to the person by name.  One could argue the only other media that could enter the personal space of a consumer like these two is texting.  All three deliver messages specifically to one person with their undivided attention, well, at least for a minute.  
  • Everyone checks their mail and email.  Not everyone watches Television commercials (Andy & I are a prime example, the only TV we watch live is sporting events), many people don't have a newspaper subscription, and with Satellite/XM radio and IPod integration in most new vehicles even traditional radio is slowing.  
  • Finally, timing.  The Post Office is still a government run agency - and thus not a science, but it's still pretty easy to determine when mail will end up in homes.  Email is obviously super easy to control.  With one message sent at a very specific time these methods can drive immediate results to a dealership.  Which is one of many reasons why they should both include timely calls to action.  You can't control when your customer to be will listen to your commercial on the radio, but you can control when your message is hand delivered to them. 
What forms of marketing are you looking to use this year when trying to gain new customers?