2009 Top 100 Idea Book: Promotions/Events

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Get 'em in the doors

• For its annual Winter Sucks Sale, Great Bay Motorcycles partners with a local butcher — The Meatshoppe — to throw a free barbecue for hundreds of customers.

• Gear Head sells store-branded caps, T-shirts, key fobs, kick-stand pads and coffee mugs and donates a portion of each sale to a motorcycle charity.

• During Ottawa's week-long Italian Fest, Gear Head brought green, white and red Vespas to the opening ceremonies, a televised event. The store also displayed models around the patio of an Italian restaurant in exchange for free calzones, spit-roasted lamb and beverages.

• As part of a promotional campaign on a local radio station, an on-air personality staged a "break-in" at Gear Head under the pretext that he wanted to hear the roar of the Victory Motorcycles 8 Ball that was being given away. The whole event was broadcast, with many listeners thinking it was a real crime in progress. One customer later said he was driving by the store at the time and thought about trying to stop the perpetrator but opted not to confront him without the police present.

• Recognizing that not everyone can attend Sturgis, Black Wolf H-D held its first "Can't Afford Sturgis" event. More than 800 people attended, resulting in $15,000 in sales in MotorClothes and $10,000 in P&A.

• Bob Lanpheres' Renton Motorcycles' No Tax sale is one of the most successful campaigns it has ever run. The dealership also hosts one of the largest autograph signings on the Supercross circuit. Its "Supercross Supersale" is a weeklong sale with autograph signings from Team Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki.

• The 22nd annual Monster Block Sale at Chaparral Motorsports had more than 50 vendors and 15,000 attendees.

• Charlie's Harley-Davidson's "Dash for Cash" is a popular event in which two customers get into a cash booth and grab as much green as they can.

• Bob Weaver Motorsports and Marine's "Weaver Fever" is a campaign with a catchy jingle that runs with radio/TV ads. Customers remember the jingle and associate it with the store. Some customers even sing the jingle at the store.

• A new digital store sign for City Cycle Sales is located at the entrance to the town. It holds information and the location of the dealership.

• "Mom's Night Out": For local moms, the dealership provided food, vendors and even a masseuse at Cole Harley-Davidson.

• Cole Harley-Davidson's "Pigskin Fun Run" is a poker run with a $2,000 gift card as a grand prize. The event was co-sponsored with three other dealerships to promote fall riding and extend the riding season.

• At Competition Accessories' Suzuki Open House in July the dealership hired a caricature artist who drew pictures of customers on motorcycles on paper that contained the dealership's logo. The hope was that people would hang the caricature drawing up in their home, and also be reminded of the dealership.

• The Customer Appreciation Sale at Competition Accessories is a one-day sale in which everything in the store is 15 to 70 percent off. Competition Accessories sold $20,000 worth of inventory during last year's sale.

• Crossroad Powersports holds free training seminars on how to perform routine maintenance on bikes (oil change, check brake pads and tires, etc.).

• During Female Sport Bike Weekend, Crossroad Powersports was cleared out and turned into a nightclub for hundreds of women throughout the country who had traveled there for the event.

• New bike owners are given gift certificates to ensure they come back and become repeat customers (Cruisin' 66).

• On the last Saturday of each month, Cycle World puts on "Club Saturday," with special pricing and free lunch for all customers, plus double discounts to club members.

• Once a year, customer purchases at Cycle World are evaluated, and the store's top 150 customers and guests are sent a personal invitation to a VIP night, with catered food, giveaways, etc. Customers realize and appreciate sincerity and hospitality, and relationships strengthen.

• Cycles! 128 has a tax return program with banks on-site for approvals.

• Flowers and chocolates were handed out to women on Mother's Day as part of Cyclewise's open house.

• Cyclewise has partnered with the local food pantry to raise 2,000 lbs. of food to be distributed to families in need. The shore owners declare that if the goal isn't met, they will shave their heads.

• Dothan Powersports offered holiday coupons that allowed customers to purchase a $50 gift card for $40.

• Ducati Indianapolis displays its bikes at Nordstrom, Conrad Hotel, Puma store, Marriott hotel, Indy Speedway, etc. for maximum exposure.

• Customers at Family PowerSports can sign up for platinum service, which covers three years of scheduled maintenance and gives customers a guaranteed 24-hour turnaround for those who sign up after buying a new vehicle.

• Fay Myers Motorcycle World gave away free gas in June to all customers who bought a new unit that month. In March, every customer who purchased a bike got a free riding lesson and certification.

• The Bang for Your Buck sale at Freedom Cycles was advertised through direct mail, and featured 6 a.m. and midnight specials, drawing in 2,000 customers.

• Once a year, Fun Bike Center Motorsports draws a name from its database of people who purchased a vehicle in the prior year. The selected customer receives a full store credit of their purchase price they paid. "It's a program that says, 'Buy from us, and receive a chance to get your purchase for free,'" says owner Daniel J. Dorsch.

• If a Gieson Yamaha employee catches a customer wearing a Gieson T-shirt outside of the dealership, the customer gets $5 off his next purchase.

• "Friday Night Surprise" is a Friday game that customers of Hampton Roads Harley-Davidson can play to receive a 20 percent discount to use in the store.

• Harley-Davidson Montreal holds private sales for "Privilege Card" holders, one day prior to the sale being open to the public

• Heartland Honda takes customer appreciation to a new level by giving customers a $25 gift card on their birthdays.

Heartland Honda partners with the University of Arkansas. At basketball games, a video board displays a seat number, section and row, and the person in that seat qualifies to win a new scooter. "This puts our name out in front of more than 400,000 people in four months."

• Iron Lightning places its ads in the bathrooms of other businesses. "Since they are placed in a somewhat unusual location, our customers actually get a kick out of telling us where they saw our ad," reps say.

• Kent's H-D, Honda, Suzuki holds the "Find it or Get Lost" ride, a scavenger hunt with clues to towns and places to find and collect tokens or stamps. If participants find them all, they get entered into a drawing for a grand prize gift card.

• Kent's H-D, Honda, Suzuki's Party on the Patio is a series of six weekly summer concerts aimed at boosting business by brining nontraditional customers to the store.

• Kiss It to Win It: Legend Outdoor Adventures drew the names of 10 customers to participate in the "Kiss It to Win It" contest, where the person who kissed the Suzuki the longest won it.