Hocus, Focus

Brad Cannon | 10/05/2017

Let’s just be honest here, marketing can be difficult.


There are literally thousands of different channels to use, and all of them tout themselves as being the best thing since sliced bread. 


For years I’ve heard from marketing managers and read in trade magazines about all the virtues of different marketing methods – everything from billboards to television, radio, newspaper, twitter, Facebook, AdWords, Instagram, and now I’m supposed to have my chat snapped…?


But, how do you really know which work and which don’t?


That’s the problem.  The answer is easy – unfortunately, it’s usually not very much fun.


We found our “religion” at Powersports Marketing a long time ago, and it’s served us (and our clients) extremely well. Our religion is Direct Response Marketing, and it’s nothing new. Been around for decades. Not particularly flashy – but it’s the best way to make sure your energy and expense for marketing are doing what they’re supposed to – getting a return on your investment.


Knowing what works or doesn’t is determined by one of the 10 rules of Direct Marketing – there will be tracking, measurement, and accountability. In your dealership, you track money and hold it accountable. You see how it behaves on your P&L and balance sheet. When it’s not behaving as it should, you take steps to get it in line. This happens on a small scale, like a register at the parts counter (rang up so many parts – better have the cash to show for it) on up through every department. Money spent on marketing should be no different. If you spend $1.00 on marketing, it should generate more than $1.00 in profit. 


The problem comes in when we get caught up in the cool factor of some marketing method either because it’s really edgy, new, or simply feeds our ego. And, it happens all the time.


But, if you have the mindset that you will only market using methods that are trackable, measurable, and accountable, it makes it easy to quickly weed out methods that are a waste of your time, energy, and money.


When people are describing marketing and use words like “seems” “feels” “I think” “probably” “should” “believe” do yourself a favor and pass. These aren’t words that convey any certainty. They miss tracking and measurement, and are thus not accountable.


I have a great deal of confidence when someone can say you spent “x”, your response was “y” leads, which translated into “z” number of closes. At that point, you have meaningful information that you can use to make an intelligent decision about your marketing – using math. 


The alternative is when a marketing rep (or in some cases marketing manager) says “looks cool, huh?” Want to spend more? Based on what, exactly? It always boils down to feeling.  “I feel like it must be working.” Spend more. “I don’t feel like it’s working.” You didn’t spend enough. Spend more. 


Knowing what I know now, and seeing the data of tens of thousands of marketing efforts for thousands of dealers, there is no way I will engage in any marketing effort of any kind that can’t show me trackable numbers with measurable results. You shouldn’t either.


Once you commit to only marketing in ways that can be tracked, measured, and held to account, that’s when you hold fast to another of the 10 rules of Direct Marketing – Results Rule. Period.


In other words, if you can’t measure it, or if you can and it doesn’t give you the ROI that you need, stop doing it.


That’s where it gets sticky though, many marketing methods out there are fun – just not measurable. After all, it’s fun to hear yourself or your dealership’s name on the radio, or to see it on television or billboards. Makes you stick your chest out a little and is kind of an ego feed. Just can’t effectively track, measure or hold it accountable.


So, don’t do it.


And some of you are thinking I’m a crazy person for suggesting that. I can assure you that all across the country there are dealers who are doing EXACTLY that and have increased business. I know of one dealer who has gone from $11 million per year to over $30 million per year by eliminating everything except direct response marketing strategies.  


If you’d like to hear more about those dealerships (and we can name names!) or learn more about how to engage in those highly successful strategies call us: 877-242-4472 or email us at


Talk soon,