Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Toyota Recall Opportunities

I probably should have blogged on this last Friday, but better late than never!

As everyone now knows the domestic manufacturers are trying to capture market share from industry giant, Toyota, as they struggle through the current recall situation. This is proving to be a marketing opportunity for both Toyota dealers and those franchises that are offering incentives to Toyota owners. So how can you capitalize? 
Toyota Dealers
Yes, it seems strange to think of this as an "opportunity" and, let's be honest, it's not the type of opportunity you hope for - but why not take advantage anyway?
  • Get your message straight. How is your dealership handling the recalls? What are you saying to customers that call in upset or scared? Figure out what your response is to this challenge and make sure everyone in the store knows it.
  • This is a perfect time for text messaging! Consumer have to "opt in" to receive texts from your dealership - and right now they want to hear from you! Include a text message in all your marketing right now - "Text TOYOTA to 5555 for up to date information on the recall" or "TEXT TOYOTA to 5555 to hear about our exclusive incentives for our loyal customers" for example. You'll be reaching out to your customers, keeping them in the loop, AND building your text messaging pipeline for future sales and service offers.
  • Show your customers you are still there for them. I've honestly been really shocked at the way Toyota has handled this on a corporate level. There should be more dialog between the vehicle owners and the company - even though corporate isn't doing this, you can. Send out a letter to all your customers. Be up front with them about where you are and what you're doing to be sure they are taken care of. Why not go ahead and throw in a sales and service offer while you have their attention?
  • Set up a landing page. A landing page is like a mini website, and for many dealers it's much easier to put up a landing page versus overhauling their entire website. Get the page set up with what you know now concerning Toyota's response to the recall, include your own dealership response as well. Then include this website on all your marketing directing questions there.
  • Create a PR position for the near future. Who in the dealership is excellent with customer service and very good at listening to people? Give them all the info and make them the "go to" person for any customer calls or questions regarding all things Toyota right now.

 Domestic Dealers with National Incentives
  • Get the word out! The media has decided not to make a big deal out of the current incentives for Toyota owners you guys are able to offer. Include it in all your marketing and make it easy to understand. Katy and I were just working on disclaimers for one manufacturer and it confused us even when it was typed out in black and white.
  • Add your own incentives to differentiate. Extend the $1,000 to used cars (if this is legal in your state) or throw an extra $500 on the new car deals. You've done the first step of educating the consumer on the manufacturers incentives - now give them a reason to take advantage of them at your store!
  • Target owners of the vehicles you are able to give incentives on. This varies by manufacturer, obviously, but send mailers to those that qualify for the program.  Email us to find out how many names are in your market.
  • Send the right message - don't be vultures.
We have mailers ready to go for these situations.  Give me a call at 317-644-5729 or shoot us an email.  The window for all this marketing is very short, get on it this week!

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