I have been involved in the Direct Marketing business for over 15 years and the results never cease to amaze me! I’ve watched dealers go from selling 50 cars a month to 200 per month. I’ve seen dealers cut their budgets in half and still see the same results. Over any other medium, Direct Marketing is the answer. Newspaper statistics are down; ad rates are up – heck they are even trying to sell Direct Mail to stay afloat. Radio has been attacked by the cell phone, iPod and satellite radio. Television and its 300-plus channels make it almost impossible to get to your target without a huge budget. The story goes on…So why aren’t more dealers using Direct Marketing consistently?

The answer is simple – Commitment. Although you will see immediate leads and sales, the true impact of Direct Marketing comes over time. It’s like going to the gym a few times and then giving up on your program. We all know that in order to get into shape, we need to have a balance of diet and exercise. Over time if we make the commitment, we’ll be fit and stay fit. The same thing goes for the stock market, right? Find a sound investment and stick with it. How many of you went to cash a few months back? Bet you wish you stayed the course now.

When done correctly, Direct Marketing involves consistent rotations through a target of customers that have the highest propensity to buy from your store. Although the concept of identifying your ideal target seems daunting, it’s really pretty simple. Consider pulling your customers from your DMS, identifying your top 20 selling zip codes, and then matching that universe with an outsourced prospect list of people driving your make and model and have owned that vehicle for 3 to 5 years. Once this process is finished you have a comprehensive list or “Buying Base”.

Now’s the tough part! Take a large portion of your budget and mail, call, and email these people until they “buy or die” (a multi-channel approach works best). I’m talking about the commitment to contact these customers a minimum of 4-6 times per year. The best approach is to put a consistent rotation together where you literally have communications going out weekly.

Results will vary from week to week to week – like the gym and stock market. But if you stay the course, your sales will increase and you will dominate your market.

Tip: Consider using a sales message on the front and a service message on the back of your mail pieces. The ROI from ROs generated will more than pay for your programs.


Scott Scully, DMEautomotive

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