Monday, February 16, 2009

Automotive Direct Mail-The Afterthought

Attention: All you dealers I've talked to this month that have said "we're just doing our usual advertising this month, no room for something special like Direct Mail."
Why is it that radio, TV and print in many cases are the "usual stuff" while Direct Mail is an afterthought? If you can tell me with a straight face that you are truly getting more traffic, more sales and more action off of your big media buys, then by all means-yes that's what the usual stuff should be. I have a feeling it's something else though--the same things that make Direct Mail a great monthly addition to a dealership's advertising plan are the same things that makes it scary.
  1. It's trackable-extremely trackable. You know if it works and you know if it doesn't.
  2. Most mail company's don't work on year long contracts like radio & TV, so it has to be a conscious decision every month to do it.
  3. Typically it causes work. More people in the door, gift getters, bad credit, etc etc. Some dealers and sales people just don't like to deal with it.
  4. Dealers see it as a "shot in the arm" and not sustainable traffic.
  5. You don't usually see the owner or general manager's face on a direct mail piece.

These seem to be the reasons that Mail becomes a luxury reserved for only the best months, or a life saver thrown out to help rescue those that are drowning. But what if mail could become part of your monthly plan? What if you could sit down and plan it out by quarter so you aren't hammering the same people over and over until they stop responding? Just think-it could be a shot in the arm every month!

This week I'll post on tracking all your advertising-and reallocating to what's working, and you may even get a post on debunking the Top 5 above. Stay tuned!

PS: Yes, in regards to #5, I said it! I'm a fan of personalizing your dealership and sales people-however, I don't think personal ego has a place in dealership marketing.

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