Archive for March, 2010

Opportunities Lost…but then Found!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Finding Service Revenue Opportunities at Your Dealership

Each day, during the service write-up and diagnostic process, service advisors and technicians frequently discover potential service revenue opportunities; otherwise known as “problems” to the car owner. In most cases, they present their findings to the vehicle owner with the hope of “up-selling” additional service lines. Most of the time the vehicle owner declines the proposed services for one of two reasons or both: time and/or money. The customer then leaves the building and the potential revenue is technically lost. How much is lost? Let’s play with some numbers.

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Customer Retention Throughout the Customer Journey

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Historically, it was difficult for dealers to stay in touch with their customers throughout their lifecycle. However, with all the communication channels available today, the consuming task of communicating appropriately with your dealership’s active customers is a much more palatable task.

Do you want to keep your customers thinking of you first? Or do you fear that your competitors are treating your customers like they are their customers? In order to lead your current customers down the preferred customer path there are two important timeframes and several related topics to keep them thinking they’re your customers.

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Managing Your Marketing

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

How are you managing your marketing?  

Or should I ask, are you?  

Some of the fatal mistakes automotive dealers make is the shotgun marketing approach, hitting all your customers as many times as possible. I know you have heard this all before, but I am going to say it once more – you don’t want to make your customers numb to your message. One of the critical steps in managing your marketing is to determine why you are communicating to the customer.

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Managing Your Marketing

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

How are you managing your marketing?

Or should I ask, are you?

Some of the fatal mistakes automotive dealers make is the shotgun marketing approach, hitting all your customers as many times as possible. I know you have heard this all before, but I am going to say it once more – you don’t want to make your customers numb to your message. One of the critical steps in managing your marketing is to determine why you are communicating to the customer.

Are they due for service? Most of you are on an automated program that communicates to your customers during their vehicle lifecycle. These campaigns are timed by business rules that are based on the vehicle needs, driving habits, etc. Just because they are automated does not mean you cannot improve your results and market more efficiently. Review your reports to see who you are targeting and how or if they are responding. A customer data driven mapping tool can be a great way to help you see a snapshot of your customer database You can view which zip codes have the higher response rates and customer spend with just a mouse over. Review your enrollment detail in the program. You can adjust your radius after seeing how far your customers will travel for service. You need to own your 5-10 mile radius around the dealership for service. Are your offers relevant and priced comparatively with the market? A reasonable priced offer is more effective than a percentage off. Remember – your customers may not know your prices so a percentage off offer doesn’t give them an idea of value.

Are you trying to build traffic? Alright, I fibbed – I am going to say it once more…you don’t want to numb your customers to your message. Therefore, depending on the relevancy of your offer, you may want to consider suppressing the above-mentioned customers from your custom campaigns. Sales prospects will travel further for a perceived value offer – keep the radius open on this communication. Track your campaigns to see which offers and formats have a higher response rate. Refer back to those formats when creating new campaigns.

Ok now that I have said not to blast your customers with too many messages, I am going to put a twist on this. There have been tests that prove receiving the same message across multiple channels increases your response rate. How do your customers want to be communicated to? Email is a more cost effective channel and more and more customers prefer to receive emails, but don’t forget about those customers that just prefer a letter. Keep in mind the demographics of your target audience.

Stay involved…manage your marketing.

~ Marcie Hopey, Product Manager @ DMEautomotive

Bio:

Marcie has 15 years of extensive experience, of which 10 are in the automotive industry, with strategic planning, market research, media and events. She has a successful track record for implementing new marketing plans to expand market share and grow revenue. Marcie possesses a forward thinking approach to business with an emphasis on bottom line results. As DMEautomotive’s Product Manager Marcie is responsible for the company’s Direct to Dealer Program, product development and data analysis, client services, and customer retention.

Top Five Ways to Get Your Direct Mail Noticed

Monday, March 1st, 2010
In a world of clutter, junk mail and non-stop advertisements, how do you get your direct mail noticed? There are many ways to have your direct mail piece stand out so it won’t get mixed in with the junk that fills your customers’ every day mailboxes! Read our quick tips below on how to get your mail noticed and motivate your customers to visit your dealership.

Top Five Ways to Get Your Direct Mail Noticed

Monday, March 1st, 2010
In a world of clutter, junk mail and non-stop advertisements, how do you get your direct mail noticed? There are many ways to have your direct mail piece stand out so it won’t get mixed in with the junk that fills your customers’ every day mailboxes! Read our quick tips below on how to get your mail noticed and motivate your customers to visit your dealership.

1. Keep your mail visually stimulating – A plain white envelope and an all-text enclosed letter are lackluster to say the least. It’s important not to make your mail piece too crowded. The use of bullet points and appropriately bolded text and images are effective methods of creating a visually appealing and interesting mailing. If you’re direct mail piece is a letter, use short direct sentences and paragraphs.

2. Know valuable information about every customer in order to personalize all marketing pieces – In order to personalize your marketing pieces, it is important to really know and understand your target. When you know consumers’ basic demographics, interests and recent purchases it is easier to personalize your direct mail piece and send them relevant, interesting and compelling promotional offers. Personalization is more than just including the recipient’s name within the piece. Rather, a critical characteristic of personalization is that your message and offering is relevant to the needs and wants of each customer. Personalization and relevancy increase perceived value and consequently improve response rate. An InfoTrends/CAP Ventures personalization study found that highly personalized color direct mail generated a 6.5% response rate—much improved from the 2% response rate non-personalized direct mail is said to generate (Source: QuantumDigital).

3. Make sure the right message is being delivered to the right person at the most opportune time – This statement is often used in the automotive and direct mail industries, but what does it really mean? It means that you must make sure that your message is applicable to the recipient at the moment they receive your mail (or at least the near future). For example, according to Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA), the window for accessory sales is within the first four months of ownership (Source). This is especially true for trucks and niche cars (i.e., Camaro, Corvette and Nissan Z). More dealers should consider direct mail pieces regarding accessories to owners of such vehicles, directing them back to the dealership to make a purchase. Other simple ideas are to send pieces aimed at the first service visit, anniversaries, and parts for aging vehicles. The basic rule of “the right message to the right person at the right time” is to follow the customer lifecycle and keep in constant contact with them…from the sale of a vehicle, to servicing the vehicle over time, to the sale of a replacement vehicle.

4. Use other mediums to get your message across – In today’s rapidly evolving digital world, dealers should remember to take advantage of all the different communication tools available. A multi-channel approach, which entails utilizing email, text, telephony and social media to spread your marketing message, is the best way to continually touch consumers.

5. Make it BELIEVABLE! – We can all probably remember a time when we’ve met a young child who always evaded the truth. “Johnny, did you break that window?” “No,” responds Johnny…looking as guilty as Tom from Tom & Jerry cartoons. Or the kid who always cried wolf, claiming he was too sick to attend school that day. What happens in those situations? We all become skeptical, jaded and leery of that kid. Do your customers believe your direct marketing offers? If not, why? Have you over time put out big broad statements that weren’t backed up when a consumer stepped onto the lot? Are your customers leery and cautious of your promotions? The key to a successful direct mail campaign is to make your offer believable. Don’t overpromise. Make the deal real.

If you follow these simple five tips, your direct mail will stay far away from the pile that ends up in the bottom of the garbage bin. By sending personalized, consistent, relevant and timely messages to your customers when they need them most, you will ensure that your mail is always pleasantly received by your customers. Remember, customers will welcome information when they need it, so be sure to send them believable and appropriate mailings, offers and promotions at the most opportune time!

~ Missy Jensen, Social Media Manager at DMEautomotive.

Bio:

Missy designs, deploys and maintains the social media initiatives for DMEautomotive in an effort to increase brand awareness, distribute company and industry news, provide updates on products and services and promote consumer engagement. Missy enjoys the process of learning; researching and watching projects come to fruition!

Prior to her transformation into a web specialist and work with DMEautomotive, she has 10 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry. Missy served as the Director, Handicapping & Communications for a regional golf association and helped successfully launch and maintain a cutting edge technology-based ticket resale program on behalf of the St. Louis Cardinals

Missy attended St. Lawrence University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Psychology. She also holds a Master’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She can be reached at missy.jensen@dmeautomotive.com

LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/missyjensen