Monday, September 22, 2008

To give or not to give?? Part I

Welcome to a new week and a fresh start! Don't worry I'm not going to get on you today about your charitable contributions, no today we're going to talk about premiums! To some the idea of giving out gifts just for coming in turns their stomach. They imagine a showroom full of people just showing up to pick up their trinket with no thought of ever buying a car. Others, though, love the idea of a full showroom, regardless of their intent for coming in, they are still THERE in your dealership--not the one down the street. So how do you view these people? Are they opportunities just waiting to be taken, or a waste of your time? A few years ago when mail was the new media and was driving in droves of people it wasn't necessary to have a gift on a piece to get a good amount of traffic. Times have changed though, automotive mail is now a very common piece of "John Doe's" stack of envelopes in the mailbox. It's been seen and done before and the results are starting to diminish, or in some cases disappear! That and, as much as I hate to bring it up, the market isn't what it was a couple of years ago either. It used to be an option whether or not to add a scratch off, peek-a-boo, or matching number to a piece. You know the deal-one large grand prize, a couple of other smaller prizes, and the prize that everyone wins (with the exception of the three winners sent out). If you aren't offering prizes on your mailers, look around and see who is. If you had two pieces of mail in your box and were actually in the market are you more likely to go to the dealership that is offering a chance at $10,000 and you've definitely won something, or the one that isn't? But let's not forget this isn't about you or me, or 90% of Americans, this is about the 1-3% of the population that responds to direct mail. The demographics are there, the direct mail responder WOULD choose the dealership offering a gift for coming in, if you want stats email me, I'll fill your inbox. So why wouldn't you give gifts on a mailer? -Your dealership's image doesn't support that type of marketing -It costs more -The sales team has to deal with "gift getters" -It doesn't work for your brand or line -Your sales team is not effective at turning gift getters into buyers -The possible legal issues are frightening! Am I missing anything? For some dealerships premiums are truly, not a good option. For many they are a fantastic opportunity to increase traffic and business, we'll figure out who is who tomorrow.

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