Before jumping into a breakdown of each media’s pros and cons, I’ll lay down a foundation. First, let’s look at the actual definition of Media: The means of communication that reaches or influences people.
Notice there is an emphasis on reaching people, and also influencing them. There is a big difference between these two.
In terms of reaching people, the first step is determining who you want to reach. What defines your audience? For the powersports industry, too many dealerships, OEMs and marketing companies focus excessively on psychographics and demographics. They determine who their average rider is; let’s say it’s a white male between the ages of 25 and 55 with an annual household income greater than $55,000. This data then leads to two erroneous approaches to marketing.
1. Marketing that focuses on males between the ages of 25 and 55 with an annual household income that’s greater than $55,000.
2. Marketing that’s excessively focused on segments of psychographics and demographics that are NOT the average rider. So, marketing that concentrates on Women, Hispanics, African Americans, Millennials, etc.
Why is each one erroneous?
1. Just because you’re a male between the ages of 25 and 55 with an annual household income greater than $55,000 doesn’t mean you’ll buy a powersports vehicle. In fact, most people that fit within this group, the vast majority of them, will NEVER ride what you sell.
2. It’s a waste of money to implement marketing based on race, age, or sex. Again, most people that fit within any psychographic and/or demographic segment, the vast majority of any grouping, will NEVER ride what you sell.
So, who is your audience? Powersports enthusiasts. When you market to powersports enthusiasts, the vast majority of them ride what you sell and have a high likelihood of responding to your marketing and ultimately buying something from you.
Then what about new riders, Tory?! We need new blood!
Fact: People don’t start riding because of marketing… first time riders do so because of the influence of friends and family. Therefore, the best approach to getting new riders is marketing monthly events and asking (or even incentivizing) customers & prospects to bring their non-rider friends and family. This is single handedly the best way to grow new riders. Be sure you’re inviting all non-rider visitors to take part in your new rider training if you have one.
I cover the new-rider subject in detail in last issue’s Ask Tory article. You can find it in the ‘Articles’ section at www.PowersportsMarketing.com.
Now that we know who we need to reach, let’s shift our attention to different media’s ability to reach and influence them.
Radio & TV: You’re paying to reach 100% of the population. Only 4%-6% of the population rides, so you’re wasting more than 90% of your budget. It can be expensive to produce. There are now HUNDREDS of stations which decreases the likelihood of a viewer/listener being on your station when your ad is playing. The addition of DVRs, satellite radio and Bluetooth also decrease the likelihood of someone seeing/hearing your ad. As far as influencing folks, TV and radio don’t do a good job of swaying folks to respond and/or make a major purchase. It’s an obvious “no” on Radio & TV for me, but if you must do it, do it sparingly and only when you get an incredible buy.
Billboards: Doesn’t target riders. You’re paying to reach 100% of cars that drive by it. Directional billboards work for restaurants targeting travelers. 100% of people eat, and vacationers use billboards to find an exit to make a stop. Directional billboards might make sense for a dealership that’s hard to navigate to, but this will be extremely rare. They do a terrible job of influencing people to stop at a dealership.
Newspaper – This is an older media that’s slowly dying. You can’t reach/target riders. The only success I’ve heard from a couple of dealers is with classifieds, but even these results are dilapidated. Newspaper is not very influential on the marketing side, and I don’t recommend it.
Direct Mail: You can target riders extremely well… both your customer list, and conquest prospects as well. Conquest prospects are those that ride what you sell, live in your back yard, but they’ve never purchased from you. Direct mail is the best way to target them, and it’s a no brainer to do so. Direct Mail is influential. In fact, it’s one of the only media (if not the only one) that you’re guaranteed face time. A person has to look at it and decide what to do with it. If your message is good, you can get great results.
Email: Obviously, you can target riders, and can be very influential.
SEM/PPC & Online Ads: With this media, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, which is only if they’re interested in what you offer (like 100% commission). Highly targetable, quantifiable and engaging.
Local Print: This media typically isn’t targetable or influencing. However, if you run a classified in a Thrifty Nickel type of publication and it gets you calls, do it (but don’t count on getting any calls). I don’t recommend this media.
Texting: This media focuses on the right audience (customers) and can influence them. Consider this… while folks don’t mind texting during the research & purchase process for any department, most people don’t want to be marketed to via text.
SEO: This is not a media, but I wanted to throw it in the mix. In industries where website content is lacking, i.e. HVAC, restaurant, and many other businesses with 4 pages on their website, SEO/content services may be necessary. In the powersports industry, your website is loaded with content, and consistently updated with your inventory and showroom feed. If you’re paying for SEO services, stop it!
Whichever media you use, be sure your message has a call-to-action, telling prospects what you want them to do. This enables you to quantify if it’s working. If it’s working (reaching and influencing people), keep doing it. If it’s not, stop wasting your money and move on.