Case Study - Event Marketing Done Better: Desert Wind H-D®

Eric Pedretti | 05/03/2016






Desert Wind H-D®, located in Mesa, AZ, is the sister store to Loess Hills H-D®.






Desert Wind H-D® recently bought Chester’s Harley-Davidson® and was looking for a solution for them to get better results with the 1-3 events they were having at the dealership per month. Historically, the dealership had advertised their events mainly through radio, TV and email blasts. After hearing about the success of the Sharp Shooter Program at Loess Hills H-D®, which includes more than 20 bikes sold and hundreds of additional new & used unit leads in just three events, they decided to give the program a try. 





Dealers typically get much better results using our Sharp Shooter Program than they do with traditional advertising for a number of reasons. The biggest one, is that only 3-6% of the people in any given market area ride what you sell. That’s it. That number hasn’t moved much since the 70’s and even if non-enthusiasts find


$20,000 stuffed under Grandma’s couch cushion, they’re not all of a sudden just gonna walk through your doors and buy a bike or side by side; they’re going to buy a new car or remodel their house. Why? Because they don’t ride. When dealers use Mass Media Advertising, $.94-.97 on the dollar are hitting those customers. The others? Many are missing their message because of satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming capabilities, DVR, thousands of channels and more.


The #1 reason a new customer joins the industry is through the influence of friends and family (not advertising). It boils down to the fact that you have thousands of dollars to spend to impact your business and the OEM’s have millions. It’s not your job to turn a non-enthusiast into a rider…that’s the job of the OEM. With your limited dollars, it’s your job to identify proven riders and increase the frequency of visits to your dealership. 


This is where the Sharp Shooter Program and Powersports Marketing shine. We find every real opportunity you have to sell a unit in your backyard. We call these folks your ‘Dealership’s Buying Base’ and it’s made up of two types of customers 1) Past Customers who’ve spent money with the dealership in one of your departments in the last four years and live in close proximity to the dealership and 2) Conquest Customers, or people who ride what you sell, live in your backyard, but haven’t bought from you. These are competitor’s customers and other orphan owners in your local market area. If you focus all your time, energy and marketing dollars on driving these two groups of customers through the door as frequently as possible, I guarantee you will grow your business.





This is exactly what happened with Desert Wind H-D’s ‘Riding for the Long Haul’ party at their dealership on March 12th. They had food, drinks, door prizes, live music a stunt show and more. After executing thousands of events with over 700 dealerships, we’ve proven that focusing your message on the party is enough to drive a lot of high-quality traffic through the door and create hundreds of sales opportunities.


For this event, Desert Wind H-D targeted 2,500 total customers through direct mail, and even more through integrated emails, an integrated call blast, event signage, fliers, a web banner and more. Each piece of communication incentivized customers to go online and complete a survey and the results were incredible. There were 319 surveys completed, which created a total of 264 sales opportunities in P&A, service, and riding gear, and 70 responses for a new or used bike. Anything over a 1% response rate is considered a HUGE success for direct mail, and Desert Wind’s campaign resulted in a 12.67% response rate! More than 12 x’s the national average. 


Deb Metcalfe, GM of Desert Wind said, “It was a great event! We were busy all day.” The parts counter sold $4,691 and the MotorClothes department did $6,132 in sales.  According to Deb, they had “great counter sales and sold at least one bike.” Deb’s already planned her next event for April 16th with a Heat the Streets Party. 

Sharp Shooter events do an excellent job of giving dealers a shot in the arm. They drive a ton of traffic and typically generate a hundred if not hundreds of leads from proven riders in their back yard. But the real secret lies in consistently marketing to your Dealership’s Buying Base. Your goal should be to touch your customers 52-104 times per year. At this frequency, you are guaranteed to create affinity with your buying base, increase frequency of visits to the dealership and ultimately grow sales in all departments…because at the end of the day, your customers are kids in a candy store and they can’t help themselves but to spend money when they’re standing on your showroom floor. Give them more reasons to walk through your door, and they will buy more from you.






What’s next? SPRING. IS. HERE. April and May mean Spring Kickoff Parties. This is what you’ve been waiting for. If you don’t already have a Spring Open House on the books, plan one today. Check out the insert for samples of some proven winners in April and May.


For more information on how the Sharp Shooter Program can help kickoff your Spring Season with a bang, give me a ring on my direct line at 877-242-4472 ext: 112 or visit us at Happy selling.