Retention, conquest marketing will grow dealers' market share, says Stuckey

Publish Date: 
Feb 16, 2013
By Cynthia Furey

DEALER EXPO, Indianapolis, Ind. – Are you spending every marketing dollar in the best possible way to get the best possible return on your investment?

This question was posed to dealers at yesterday morning’s seminar, “Using Conquest Marketing and Retention Advertising to Grow Market Share and Increase Repeat and Referral Business,” led by Dealership University founder Rod Stuckey.

If you’re engaging in image advertising — getting your name out to the public via images — you may not be making the most of your dollars, after all. “Big companies do a lot of [image advertising],” Stuckey said. “So leave that up to the OEM. Let them do the expensive images to get their name out there.”

Instead, Stuckey said, direct marketing should be one of the main foci for most dealers. Direct marketing can be an integral part of both your conquest marketing and retention marketing efforts.

Retention marketing. This is the process of retaining your current customers. “Those who have given you money in the past are most likely to give your dealership money now,” Stuckey said. ” Implementing retention marketing can be anything from hosting monthly events and sending out direct mail and/or email notes for anniversaries and birthdays. “Your customers are looking for a place of belonging,” Stuckey said. “If they come to your store every month, it’s like they have a tribe. As a bonus, if they trust you as a business, they also can become immune to competitors’ advertising.

Retention marketing is also important because there are only 3.6 motorcycles in use for every 100 people living in the U.S. “Finding customers who ride can be like finding a needle in a haystack,” Stuckey said. But, Stuckey later said, “If we’re just taking care of our existing customers, how are we going to grow?” With a good customer referral system in place, he said, your current customers have the ability to refer at least one person per year.

Conquest marketing — or, “Getting new blood and new business” into your store, also is integral to your business. But tread carefully: “It’s got so much sizzle and so much excitement that a lot of dealers overlook the importance of retention marketing,” Stuckey said. One proven method of conquest marketing is Google AdWords —a pay-per-click marketing campaign that places your ads on the top and sides of a Google search page. “Google is the largest advertising platform on the planet,” Stuckey said. “The reason Google’s platform is so successful is because it works.” Statistics show that 70 percent of Google AdWord clicks are new website visitors.

To marketing using direct mail, one can buy sourced lists from reputable list brokers like R.L. Polk. When you send direct mail out to potential new customers on these lists, you can give them information on going to your website, subscribing to email lists and other information you can add to your buying database. “You end up with a bunch of leads,” Stuckey said.

Other ways to grow include boosting the conversion rate of prospects to customers, and raising the average value of each customer — in other words, getting them to buy more from you. This can be achieved by ample staff training. “You have to have a sales process in place,” Stuckey said. “Your team has to be trained, and you always have to be working toward that continual improvement."