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Today I want to discuss with you what some claim to be the most important aspect of Direct Marketing – Identifying your most important targets.

Factors in Determining Your Dealership’s Buying Base

1.     Past Sales Customers

2.     Past Service Customers

3.     Competitors’ Customers

4.     New Market Customers

5.     Market Share / Brand Share

If you had $1 to spend on direct marketing, where would you get the best ROI?  I know you think I am asking a very simplistic question, but many people have a hard time with this!  So, I ask again, if you really had to, whom would you target first?  The answer is so simple we sometimes do not want to admit the correct answer for our business. 

Focus a portion of your marketing expenditures towards the group that will represent over 80% of your sales – those customers in your backyard!

Now you can see who I think should be your target customer should be.  You might not completely agree with me, but ask yourself this question:  Do you own these customers in your market?

Past Sales Customers
– Those you sold your vehicles in the past…24/60/72/86 months ago…Are they ready to buy again? Is someone else in the household ready to buy?

Past Service Customers
– Those who hired you for your services in the past…  Has everyone in your service department database bought their car from you? No, on average 53% of service customers did not buy at the servicing dealership.  Have they purchased their vehicle from your competitor but like servicing with you?  Would they like to buy their next new car from you?

Competitors’ Customers
– Those who live in your backyard… They drive right by your location to go to your competitors’ locations for services.

New Market Customers
– Is there a customer that lives in one of your top selling zip codes that has not bought your brand of product, but could?

Market Share / Brand Share
– What are you selling compared to your competitors?  What aren’t you selling compared to your competitors?

Many dealerships feel that they already own their market but I’m suggesting you should at least continue to strive to increase your share in 3 areas: Competitors’ Customers, New Market Customers and Market Share / Brand Share.  Customers in your backyard are where 80% of your sales will come from every year and, if you consistently target these customers on a monthly/quarterly basis, you can increase market share.

These targets are the key to your success in direct marketing.  How you go about creating these target lists is key.  Many think it is about distance, radius, and so on. 

A good way to determine your best possible lists is to look at your Top Selling Zip Codes.  There probably is a reason you have sold well in a particular zip code or not.  Distances are not always the reason.  It might be that a particular zip code is a suitcase/commuter zip code, where the consumer travels by your location every day and could buy your vehicles and/or services due to the convenience of your dealership.  Not always can we answer why, but numbers do not lie and historically there is always a pattern.  Take note of your Top Selling Zip Codes.  Additionally, look at your Low Selling Zip Codes, as they create drag on your direct marketing campaigns.

Direct marketing
is a marathon of consistent messages to the correct list of customers.  When done this way, your ROI will incrementally increase on a monthly basis and enhance your Market Share / Brand Share.  Do not give up after 1-3 attempts; direct marketing must be aimed at this list of best targets consistently, rotating thru on a regular basis for a period of at least a year.  After completing your annual commitment, you will reap one of the best performing marketing investments in your portfolio.

~ Paul Ryan, Field Account Manager @ DMEautomotive


Paul Ryan brings over 25 years of experience in sales, sales management, marketing, and client services. He joined DMEautomotive in February of 2008, as a Regional Territory Manager. With proven success as an inside sales representative selling the FullCircle Solutions’ Bullseye program, he was recognized frequently as Sales Person of the Month and received the highest honor of Sales Person of the Year for 2008. In August of 2009, Paul managed, “Direct-To-Dealer” - Mail Division, responsible for overseeing the sales for the “Direct-To-Dealer” Mail Division.  Currently he is traveling in the Midwest as Field Account Manager.  Paul graduated with a B.B.A, in Business Administration from Iowa State University in 1982.

Original blog posted at Automotive Direct Marketing


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