Archive for July, 2010

Tracking – Targeted Direct Mail

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Paul_RyanHistorically there has always been a large debate concerning a Targeted Direct Mail piece (TDM). What was the ROI for this particular TDM piece?  Marketing companies and dealerships have their own opinions and methods as to tracking a particular piece and its effectiveness.  Was it really the TDM that brought the customer into the retail establishment or was it the dealership’s reputation?  Was it the offer?  Was it coincidence?

Get real-time tracking

With the improvements in today’s technology, you can track customers’ response to a particular piece.  In other words, you can review what the customers’ reaction was to a particular TDM piece, if they reacted at all.  What did the customer do when they received your TDM?  Did your customers call?  Come in to the service bay?  Come into the showroom? Go Online?  You can track all those actions.

It all starts with the question: “how clean is your database?”  Remember the saying, “Garbage in, Garbage Out.” Therefore, ensure that your database includes the following for each customer:

  • Name:
  • Address:
  • Telephone:
  • Email:
  • VIN#:

When creating your TDM, make sure you are targeting the correct field.  So ask yourself: Are the above fields the only fields of information for your customers?  Do you have the correct information for your customer?  Is the data you have listed where the customer wants you to market to them ?  Has your customer opted-in  that you can market to them at these locations?  There are multiple answers to every field; you have to make sure you market to the correct field.

These are all very key questions that have to be answered before you can market to your customer and start tracking the effectiveness of your particular TDM.  If you or your marketing company is not verifying the original database information, what are you really tracking?

If you do have good data and you feel confident with your target list, you can target and track your customer effectively.

Top Methods of Tracking

  • Sales Activity
  • Service Repair Orders
  • Website Activity
  • Customer Surveys

Sales

Is there a direct match to a field and a sale from your mailer?  How soon after your mail was sent did your customer react and purchase?  When did the customer last come in to your dealership?  How often does that customer historically come in for service or purchase a vehicle?  There are many of questions you can ask… How often have I marketed to this customer?  Did the customer bring in the TDM?  The question is do you have a match and is that match solid with several fields matching…Did your door open with traffic and did your cash register ring?

Repair Orders

Is there a direct match to a field and service repair order from your mail?  Or was it just a coincidence that they came in?  Did they bring a specific coupon in?  Did the car break down or was the repair specific to your TDM piece?  What was the mileage on the car?  Are your records corresponding to the customers actions?  Do your Service Advisors know when you have mailed something to your customers?  Another words, are they noticing the traffic because of your TDM?

Website Activity

Are there direct email matches that correspond to your TDM mail list?  What type of activity did your website have after your TDM was released?  Who touched your website after you dropped your TDM?  When someone touched your website, where did they go?  Did they go to appointments, inventory, and service or about you?  Did you sell a car to someone that has an exact email match that you mailed?

Customer Survey

Based on the activity of your dealership and/or customer can you call or email to follow up with the customer to check on the delivery of your TDM?  Make sure you comply with all DNC laws and make sure your survey is informative, investigative and not sales oriented.  You can use a survey of your customer and find out how effective the TDM piece was.  You can specifically ask if that was why they came into the store.

It all starts with clean data.

If you have clean data you can start tracking…There is so much to track and report…

How do you keep it all straight and report effectively?  Next time I will continue to discuss the Tracking, Reporting and ROI for TDM.

Happy Planning…

~ Paul Ryan, Field Account Manager @ DMEautomotive

Bio:

Paul Ryan brings over 25 years of experience in sales, sales management, marketing, and client services. He joined DMEautomotive in February of 2008, as a Regional Territory Manager. With proven success as an inside sales representative selling the FullCircle Solutions’ Bullseye program, he was recognized frequently as Sales Person of the Month and received the highest honor of Sales Person of the Year for 2008. In August of 2009, Paul managed, “Direct-To-Dealer” – Mail Division, responsible for overseeing the sales for the “Direct-To-Dealer” Mail Division. Currently he is traveling in the Midwest as Field Account Manager. Paul graduated with a B.B.A, in Business Administration from Iowa State University in 1982.

How to Improve ROI and Increase Revenue at Your Car Dealership

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Steve_Dozier Want to get more out of your dealership’s advertising?  A great way to improve your ROI is to look internally…review what your staff is doing with your advertising dollars.  Stop blaming your marketing, stop blaming the weather, the market and the economy.  I have visited dealers all over the United States, I can tell you from experience that one thing that separates successful dealers from the rest of the pack… the ability to implement and inspect sound daily processes.

What are some of these daily processes you should put into action at your dealership to monitor improvement in ROI on advertising and increased revenue?  Well, if you are a GSM or higher, you should pay attention to the following:

  • Are your sales people asking customers for their telephone numbers?
  • Are they talking about the benefits of the vehicle their customer is test driving?
  • Do they even know the differences in your models and your competition?  Do they talk about it during a test drive?
  • Do they follow up with people who have shown an interest in buying a vehicle from your store?

You may think that these are obvious questions and there is no way your sales team isn’t doing these things…but you’d be surprised!

Bear with me, I’m going to briefly digress but for good reason.  Let me briefly tell you about two separate shopping experiences I had recently and the vast difference in professionalism between the two.

The first is when my wife was in the market for some small office space.  She began by researching the Internet for office space “hunter” companies, and then she called two of them and gave the parameters of her office space needs.

These companies don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars to attract customers and they don’t sell expensive products; but I was amazed at the professionalism and persistency of their follow up.  My wife received 6 calls within 1 week, of which 2 provided a live webinar to review the benefits and costs associated with the properties they recommended.  In each of those webinars the sales associate presented himself as the “consultant” by asking questions about my wife’s business, including budget, drive time, security, available office equipment and furniture.  And all of this for a 6 month, $700.00 a month lease agreement!  Wow!  Very impressive!

Fast forward just two weeks…My wife and I decided to purchase a truck and, having never previously owned one, we dedicated an entire day to learning more about our options.  We visited the following franchises during our search for a new vehicle:  Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chevy, GMC, Toyota and Dodge.

Upon entering the dealership and being approached by a sales person, I said the same thing to each one:  “We want a 4 door with leather and we are researching the differences between franchises.”  What’s the saying?…“Everything went south from there”?

Though each store did follow the state law and required a copy of my driver’s license and a sales associate accompanied us on the test drive, the experience was deflating to say the least.  No one asked about our needs…no one asked about what other trucks had we looked at…no one asked if we had a payment budget…and no one asked if we were interested in leasing or purchasing.  They barely told us anything about the vehicle we were test-driving.  We were told, “these seats are not only heated, they’re cooled too” and “You got to love the power in that engine.”  We were asked if we had a particular color in mind.  However, we did learn a lot…about things that had no relevance to our vehicle search and needs.  One salesman was very excited about going to the baseball game that night.  Another had only worked in the industry for 3 months, in which he sold 21, 19 and 24 cars, respectively because he knew “how people wanted to be treated.”  Another had plans with his two boys to go on a float trip as soon as he got off work.

One sales person had us test-drive a vehicle with a sold sticker on it.  I asked about that and he said “It’s not sold, some guy was going to pay cash, he set up two different delivery appointments and didn’t show up, nor did he call to cancel, I hate when customers do that, it’s so rude”.

I was sure I would get at least a follow up post card from each sales associate since I provided my license for the test drive and therefore each dealership had my address and one follow-up call because I requested one of the sales associates to do a locate for me.  Note: not one other person asked for my phone number.  Three days later, I called the guy who was mad at the customer who set up two delivery appointments but didn’t even call to cancel.  Want to know what he said?  “Oh I didn’t call you because we didn’t find anything in our search.”   And, in case you’re wondering, no thank you cards were received.

Can you believe it?  Six out of six…no walk around, no comparisons, no questions, and no brochures.

Can you say with 100% commitment that we didn’t visit your store?

Wonder how to control it?  I’ll take you back to the top of this article.  Inspect what you expect.  When a salesperson returns from a test drive, ask him a couple of questions: What color do they want?  What other vehicles is your prospect looking at?  Then test it… Remember, salespeople know exactly what to tell you to make you go away.  So when you meet the prospect test the salesperson’s response to you. “So you’re looking for a black vehicle?” (The salesperson told you red, or “you want cloth” when the salesperson told you leather).  This is a tried and true way of cleaning up your internal process and to make sure that when your advertising works to get people in the door, your sales people are doing the best job possible to turn it into a sale.

~ Steve Dozier, National Director of Training @ DMEautomotive

Bio:

Steve Dozier brings 15 years of experience in the automotive industry to DMEautomotive (DMEa). Before joining DMEa, he held upper level management positions in the retail industry. Steve also owned a consulting company that specialized in CRM and direct mail, which brought in $2 Million in Sales for approximately 5 years. While serving as a consultant Steve was consistently recruited by the top 3 CRM firms of that time. Steve started at DMEautomotive in a managerial position overseeing the Direct-to-Dealer team, and is now responsible for developing and growing DMEa University; DMEa’s in-house dealer training organization. Steve is married with two children and enjoys scuba diving and boating in his free time.

Email vs. Mail – Which is Better in the Automotive Industry

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The way we communicate and how we want to be communicated to is continually evolving.  New technology has allowed today’s consumer to be constantly exposed to messaging and information.  So what is the best way to reach your car dealership’s customers – Email or Mail?

Email communications have many advantages for car dealers, mainly the efficiency and timing of sending your messages.  Consumers can receive emails at any time with mobile devices, work and home computers.  You can measure how a customer responds to your email message by either a transaction or tracking click-thrus to a website or other links.  Your customer does not have to rely on what is included in the email but can seek out what is relevant to them.  With that being said, what is your email capture rate?  And are your Sales, F&I and Service departments at your dealership getting valid email addresses or entering anything to get credit?  With an email append service, you can increase the reach to your customers on a monthly basis by capturing valid emails and bounce testing your existing database.  Even with email appends, 60-70% email capture rate is remarkable.  Remember that even though email is an efficient channel, blasting your database too often could make your customers numb or cause them to opt-out.

Mail versus Email

Mail communications have advantages for car dealers as well.  Foremost, your dealership’s DMS is more likely to contain 100% of your clientele’s mail addresses so you can reach your entire database.  Though mail is more expensive than email, OEM programs can provide support with co-op funds if you meet their guidelines.  When done correctly, direct mail can be a relevant, personal invitation to a customer for their business.

Email and mail have their disadvantages too – both channels can get cluttered.  How does your dealership’s message break through that clutter?  You can argue whether email is better than mail or vice versa.  But the key is how can you make them work together to get higher response rate from your campaigns.    If you are watching your budget, send email to those customers with a valid email address and then backfill with mail to reach your target.  If you want a greater lift in response, overlay your mail campaigns with an email message.


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.

*Photo from iStock.com