Do the math: premiums can spur interest and drive traffic

Publish Date: 
Apr 17, 2014
By Rod Stuckey

During this past winter I was contacted by a dealer who’d recently bought an underperforming store struggling to generate floor traffic.

The previous owner was pushing 80 years old, had no kids and was at the store each day bell to bell, operating it with little to no enthusiasm -- or inventory. With a paid-for facility and skeleton staff, his overhead was so low that he didn’t need to generate much revenue to make ends meet. He was proud to share his belief that marketing was a waste of time and money, and that he hadn’t participated in any advertising for years.

While this old-school dealer had obviously done something right to have survived in business for several decades, the new buyer couldn’t replicate his model because additional overhead would be required to make the dealership truly equitable.

The new dealer significantly boosted inventory levels and had been trying everything, including radio, TV, email, direct mail, etc., to generate floor traffic with little to no success. From his perspective, his market area viewed the store as old, musty, crusty and not worth visiting, and no amount of advertising was going to change that. 

After learning a little more about what type of marketing he’d been doing, it became clear to me that his message wasn’t compelling, regardless of medium, and provided no call-to-action or incentive to respond. So my immediate recommendation was to craft a new deadline-driven message to be leveraged in all media that included an immediate reason to respond.

One of the best mechanisms to accomplish this goal is through contests and premiums. Over the years we’ve found premiums (also known as FREEmiums) to be effective incentives in the powersports world, giving a “What’s in it for me?” reason to respond. It’s amazing what some riders will do for a free T-shirt.