Why you should Revive Your Ride!

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In 2010, the MIC Aftermarket Committee created Revive Your Ride!, a marketing program designed to assist dealers in generating more store traffic. The program wasn’t aimed at selling new motorcycles, it was directed at encouraging existing riders to update either their motorcycle or their gear by going into their local dealership and checking out the great aftermarket PG&A. Luckily, the MIC Aftermarket Committee is continuing the program for 2011.

I think the MIC did a pretty good job of putting together something that can appeal to all levels of dealerships across the nation. The program was inexpensive and provided a nice package of benefits for both the participating dealer and the consumer. Many of the aftermarket companies and media got behind the program, including two of the biggest, Tucker Rocky and Parts Unlimited. Sadly, only 240 of the thousands of dealers across the nation signed up to participate.

All a dealer had to do to participate was download materials from the Revive Your Ride! website. If the dealer wanted to participate in the sweepstakes portion, it required a $25 participation fee to receive all the necessary creative materials. Not a bad deal — you probably blow $25 on a weekend just on odds and ends. Last year, that investment gave your customers an opportunity to win one of 15 cash cards with values ranging from $250 to $10,000. When was the last time you were able to do any kind of meaningful sweeps promotion for $25 and a small outlay for posters and banners?

In the end, the MIC distributed about 37,000 entry cards and received 8,000 completed entries back. Phil Sidduth, owner of California Phil’s in Concordia, Kan., whose customer won the $10,000 prize, said it best: “We’re certainly excited that the grand prize winner was one of our customers, but more important to us was the bump in floor traffic thanks to the Revive Your Ride! Sweepstakes. We spent just $25 to get the kit and we stand a good chance that Jim (the winner) will spend all of his money at our shop. It was a low-cost, high-return promotion for us.”

While the number of retail motorcycle outlets has dropped in the past couple years, there are probably about 12,000 of one kind or another nowadays. It’s amazing to me that only 240 dealers out of that huge number would take advantage of the Revive Your Ride! opportunity.

When I spoke with the MIC officials regarding the program’s success and future, they were disappointed that so few dealers signed up, but attributed that to a late start last year and felt that as more dealers became aware of the program, the participation rate grew. They were pleased that the dealers who did participate were happy with their participation and regarded the promotion as a success.

I really don’t understand dealers’ failure to take part in this promotion. For the most part, it’s free. The materials are customizable to meet the needs of your dealership. Many of the leading aftermarket companies are promoting it on their websites and in printed materials, as are several of the leading consumer publications. If people are forgoing new motorcycles and buying used ones, or sprucing up their old ones to extract another season or two out of the old horse, then the theme itself and its direction are right on the money.

Go to the Revive Your Ride! website, www.mic.org/reviveyourride and download everything you need to participate – free! What do you have to lose? For a lot of you, things are pretty slow, but you definitely have customers who need tires, batteries, tune-ups, brake jobs and other mechanical work on bikes that are now just sitting and shivering in the garage. Download the materials, put your offer on it and send it out. As part of your promotion you might want to offer free pickup and delivery — well, free pick up anyway. You could schedule it for a specific day, say a Saturday and pick up several at a time. It’s worth a try, particularly if you’re slow anyway.

It’s axiomatic in the marketing world that the two most powerful words for generating a response are free and new. New is good and the industry’s definitely got some new models and gear for 2011. But none of those are “free” to you, and the newness is only relative to how long it stays in inventory. Free for dealers doesn’t come up very often, and the Revive Your Ride! program is free. If it were me, I’d be taking advantage of it.

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews March 2011 issue.