3 Pillars Sure Ain’t 4

Eric Pedretti | 01/18/2017


We talk a lot about the four pillars of marketing: 1) Right Audience 2) Right Media 3) Right Message and 4) Right Timing. Over the years, dealers almost immediately buy-in to 3 out of the 4. They agree it makes sense to target riders in their backyard. They agree that they should give their customers multiple, direct opportunities to respond and finally, they take our advice on when the marketing should be hitting homes based on our experience with 1,000 dealers and thousands of campaigns. However, a lot of dealers challenge the 3rd pillar – Right Message. But, why? And, is the ‘message’ really that important?



I’ve been studying and implementing marketing for over 14 years now and turns out there is a lot of psychology and science in the message. But, most Dealers typically learn about marketing through the people who sell it to them...Radio, TV and Newspaper Reps who tell them they need to, “get their name out there,” and, “build their brand.” Or, they do what the OEM wants them to do and push a finance or rebate offer. Or they copy the car dealership down the street with ‘Never-Seen-Before Blowout Prices!’ 


The challenge is they all have it wrong. Getting your name out there or building your brand will never drive the traffic you want or grow your business the way you want it to grow. Typically that message is something along the lines of, “Providing exceptional service for 20 years at a competitive price.” Or, “Your #1 Harley-Davidson Dealership in the [insert city here] Metro Area since 1975.” What do these types of ads tell your customers to do? Answer: nothing. There is no ‘Call To Action.’ There is no ‘Reason to Respond.’ It will never provide you with the quantifiable results you desire. 


Campaign #1 - Super Sale (Finance Offer):


The finance & rebate offer or the ‘blow-out sale’ messages are worse yet. What they tell your customers is, “If you’re not in the market to buy right now, I don’t care about you.” This immediately alienates the 99% of customers who don’t have ‘buy a bike’ on their ‘top 5 things to do list’ this week. So the only people that respond are the folks who were buying any way and now all you’ve accomplished is slimmer margins. 


Take the dealership below. Same store, same program, two entirely different results. The difference? The first campaign hit 3 of the 4 Pillars of Marketing: 1) Right Audience 2) Right Media and 4) Right Timing, but they missed 3) Right Message. The first campaign focused exclusively on a Finance Offer, the second a Demo Event.  


As you can see, this dealership generated 10 total unit leads targeting 5,000 past customers with only 49 total responses and a .98% response rate.


Campaign #2 - Demo Event:


The second campaign targeted half the number of people, of which half were Conquest Customers (people who’ve never bought from them before) and had 14x’s the response rate. The only thing that changed was the message and that proved to be all the difference. They generated 85 new & used unit leads with 357 total responses and a final response rate of 14.28%. Not to mention the 86 P&A Leads, 72 Clothing Leads & 26 Service Opportunities:


Remember, we’re not selling a necessity like cars or washing machines. We’re selling fun! We’re a Passion-Based-Industry. People don’t need a $15,000 toy. They want it. They can’t live without it. It helps define them as a person. So what get’s these folks excited? A reason to ride. An opportunity to be around other folks to share their passion to ride. A party. Live music. Good food. Charity events. Organized rides. New models (also known as crack). FREE demo rides (crack with a side of BBQ Ribs). Giveaways. These are things your buying base craves! They don’t care how long you’ve been in business. They do value professionalism and good customer service. But, they also understand you have the same finance and rebate options as every other dealer in the market. These things do nothing for them. 


Show them a good time. Do it often and have fun with them when they show up. I guarantee it will increase frequency of visits from past and present customers, build loyalty, increase repeat and referral business, hold higher margin (because you’re not discounting), give your sales people more opportunities to sell units, create more excitement with your staff, and on and on and on. 


For more information on how the Sharp Shooter Program delivers just the Right Message or to get started today, call me on my direct line 877-242-4472 ext: 112 or chat us up at Party on.