Using Clean Data To Improve Marketing To Your Most Viable Audience
Running a dealership is damn hard. Parts and Accessories, Service, New Sales, Used Sales, and F&I can each be viewed as a business within the business; and none of them are easy businesses to run. Then you have the Accounting department, another critical department that requires time and attention. And while Marketing may not be a department, it is another very real and important responsibility of the Dealer Principal.
If you’re like most dealers, you spend countless hours trying to figure out ways to boost sales across all departments. But the reality is, there’s a difference in doing deals, and doing clean deals. And, there is a difference in making money, and keeping that money.
Unfortunately, all businesses have a Sales Prevention department. It’s that one person who answers the phone in a rude voice tone. It’s that other employee who doesn’t return a phone call as promised. It’s the sales person who doesn’t follow the process and loses the deal. It’s the Parts Manager who doesn’t replenish stocking items in a timely manner; the examples go on and on.
Then there is your Loss Prevention department. And, I’m not just talking about shop lifting and employee theft.
There are countless different ways a dealer can have holes in the bottom of the bucket.
Warranties not being filed in a timely manner and parts not getting returned, co-op improperly filed or not filed at all, obsolete P&A, and parts returns to vendors missing deadlines and losing eligibility, ancient and over-appraised used inventory, abandoned service units, contracts funding, and on and on. These are all tough best practices to master, but they are at least on the radar of most good operators.
However, the Loss Prevention department has many challenges that even the best operators can overlook. One we often see here at PSM is no capture of customer or prospects name, physical address, and email address. In analyzing over 800 dealer data bases the average dealer has 43% with missing or inaccurate physical mailing address, meaning they only capture this information 57% of the time. Email is only captured at 25% of total records, leaving a 75% shortfall, and on average the phone number is only accurately captured 56% of the time.
And if maintaining your DMS database isn’t enough of a headache, now the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) are cracking down on email marketers in an effort to combat the excessive and never-ending spammers and junk email. I won’t get into all of the details, but it’s safe to say that if you keep sending email blasts to your entire list and don’t start performing proper email list hygiene, your list will get the attention of the ISP’s and your deliverability and opens will be dramatically impacted (for more detail read Brad’s article on page 3).
Several great entrepreneurs have been quoted as saying some variation of, “You can take away all of my money, my wealth and my assets, but leave me my customer list and I will have it all back in short order.”
This is why capturing and maintaining customer data is so important.
Your existing customers who have spent money with you in the past are the most likely to spend money with you in the future. This is the number one target audience you have with regards to your marketing. The 2nd most accurate target audience to market to is those who’ve visited your brick and mortar and/or website but have yet to make a purchase from you. The 3rd group is very far behind because you don’t have any data on them. This is that group of customers who are enthusiasts of the products you sell but have never been to your store or your site. This is the most elusive and expensive group to earn their business. Except for going after nonenthusiasts and trying to convert them, which as we’ve talked about is just plain dumb.
The most effective media to market to your customer base is email, direct mail, and the telephone. Social media is okay, but it doesn’t have the 1-to-1 personal messaging capabilities, and without boosting posts nowadays, very few posts are actually seen by your followers.
Recruiting, hiring, and training, team members to manage Sales, Parts, Service, F&I and Accounting are not easy, but are do-able as there are lots of resources available for these positions.
Hiring a marketing expert who understands the unique intricacies of the motorcycle business is very, very, rare. The goal of your marketing is NOT to just spray and pray a, “Wanna Buy a New Vehicle From Us?” message every month.
Your marketing should be prioritized to build solid relationships with your most viable target audience and generate a steady flow of sales opportunities for every department in the dealership.
And our Local Web Dominator program featuring reputation management and automated email marketing as well as our Sharp Shooter marketing system all include the most viable media, to the most viable market, with the most relevant and compelling message.