If you’ve ever tried mail for your dealership before, you know that it can be incredible, moving a ton of cars or it can deliver less than satisfactory results. So why did one mailer work great, when another failed miserably? For any marketing you do to work at your dealership, you need 3 things that I call “the 3 Ms”. The 3 Ms stand for Message, Market and Media. It’s like a three legged stool, with each leg being one of the 3 Ms. If you have the right message but the wrong market, you’re missing an “m” and your stool will fall over. If you are getting poor results from your private sales, it probably has something to do with one of the 3 Ms. It’s when you have all three working together that you will have success. You have to send the RIGHT MESSAGE, to the RIGHT MARKET, through the RIGHT MEDIA.
Lets start with the first M, which is Market. Your market is the list of prospects or customers that you advertise to and is one of the most important pieces of your dealership’s marketing. You can have the greatest marketing message in the world, but sent to the wrong person, it has little hope of actually working. After college, I received a monthly direct mail piece from a pool company. The problem was that I lived in a condo and no matter how much I would have liked to buy a pool, I couldn’t at a condo. It was the wrong market. “Everyone” is not a target audience. Yes, it’s true that just about everyone drives, but not everyone has the ability, desire, or motivation to buy from YOUR dealership. You want to focus on the right people who do have the desire and ability to buy from you. For example, sending a diesel truck owner an ad for a Prius would most likely not get a response. Just like sending a mailer to convince someone to come in for an appraisal that is far too buried to even work a deal is a waste of time. You have to correctly define who to market to and who is more likely to buy in order to be effective. Get your target audience correct and that’s half the battle.
The next M is Message, which is the marketing message that you send through direct mail to your prospects. I could write an entire book on Message alone. In a nutshell, you need to craft an effective message that gives them a reason to come in. This is where a lot of dealerships mess up in direct mail. Think of your message like a salesman in print format (see this article for more info). You need to have an enticing message that gives your prospects a reason to come in to do business with you over every other dealership down the road from them. You want a marketing message that gets them to take action and sets you apart from your ever increasing competition. A poor message will produce mediocre results.
The last M is media. Media is the platform you use to send your marketing message such as direct mail or a T.V. commercial. No media is inherently bad. Yes, some work better than others, but I think we can all agree that someone out there is making money from just about every kind of media. What you must ask yourself about media is two questions: 1. Can it reach my desired target audience? And 2. Can it effectively communicate my marketing message to them and get a response? If you can’t say yes to those two questions, you need to rethink your media. In private sales, we know that direct mail is a solid media. It’s been around for a hundred years and has been a tried and true platform. So most likely direct mail as a platform and media is not the problem.
Remember this key to successful direct mail: You have to send the RIGHT MESSAGE, to the RIGHT MARKET, through the RIGHT MEDIA.
David M. Bustle
David Bustle is the National Sales Manager for Advantage Concepts Inc. in Louisville, KY, marketing thought leader providing consultative services to business across the country and part time motivational speaker. To book David for your engagement please call 502.408.1488 or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org