Ask Tory: Is Creating a “Sale” the Best Way to Advertise?

Tory Hornsby | 09/01/2015


Here in the Powersports Industry the most used advertising message is a sale or discount of some sort. To be blunt, it’s completely overused and sabotages margin. 


I believe the reason it’s used so much is because business owners and marketers know they need to give a reason to respond, or a call-to-action, instead of wasting money on getting their name/logo out there. Plus, a ‘sale’ is one of the easiest messages to come up with and write ad copy for. All you have to do is lower your price, show a picture of the product and hope that a few of the folks you’re marketing to respond and buy the product. But it’s a lose-lose situation. The dealer makes little to no profit because of the discount, and customers become trained not to buy unless there’s a big discount.


This way of marketing is completely unnecessary. You don’t have to give away margin to get a response.  Are you a Not-for-Profit Organization?


I think most dealers realize this challenge, but don’t know what to do about it. So, right now, you should take a break from this article and go to and sign up for our Marketing Boot Camp, October 26-28, in Atlanta, GA. You’ll discover how to craft a compelling message in detail.  Having the right message is one of 4 Fundamental Components of successful marketing. There is a way to create more responses than you’re currently getting, build affinity with your buying base of customers and new prospects, and do it without giving away the farm. 


Another fundamental component of marketing is going after the right audience. In other words, who are you reaching out to with your advertising?  Historically, motorcycle & powersports dealers want to focus on creating brand new riders. They feel they’ve already earned and own all of their customers once they’ve purchased something from the dealership. If you feel this way, stop what you’re doing and listen to the fog horns and sirens, and all the red lights flashing warning you that this is the wrong way. This ‘entitled’ way of thinking is completely erroneous. Here at Powersports Marketing we’ve proven with literally thousands of marketing campaigns per year for over 700 dealers that there is a ridiculous amount of opportunity in every dealer’s customer list. You just have to know how to get it.


It’s also important to create new customers. Note that I didn’t say create new riders. There is a big difference there. With very, very few exceptions, advertising will never make folks who don’t ride powersports products decide to spend thousands of dollars to give it a try. The number one reason a new rider is created is due to the influence of friends and family. However, there are prospects in your market area who ride what you sell but have never purchased from you, and marketing the right way will get them to respond. To delve deeper into creating your Buying Base (past customers and new prospects) sign up for our Boot Camp at


The third fundamental component of marketing is choosing the right media that will reach the right audience. Mass media that reaches the multitudes feels good because it feeds your ego. For instance, you’ll ignore the 5 other radio ads that play before and after yours, but you’ll hear your ad and think that it’s working. Stop it. Only 3% to 6% of people in America ride motorcycles, and it’s far less than 10% if you include all off road categories. To learn how to use multiple media methods that quantifiably drives results…… you got it, come to our Boot Camp:


The last fundamental component of marketing right timing. This refers to dripping out several different media on a schedule that increases results. Also, you can use the time of year to tap into the conversation going on in the heads of your customers & prospects. Everyone is impacted by holidays and seasons, and you can generate more results by leveraging them in your message. Miss even one of the 4 Fundamental Components in your marketing campaign, and it will not work. For more information on any of these 4 fundamentals, which is a small part of what we’ll cover, join is October 26-28 in Atlanta, GA. Sign up now at: