Hit the Bullseye With Your 3rd Quarter Marketing
Some experts are saying we’re currently in an economic boom like no other in American history. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 50 years, the stock market is strong, and we’re not experiencing the high inflation of previous era’s growing economies. I’ve been spending most of my weekends at the motocross track with family, and the races have been absolutely packed. And this is a different crowd than I experienced back in the 80’s and 90’s. Back then you had dirt bikes in the back of pick-up trucks and the occasional 3-railed trailers. The modern-day races are full of campers, RV’s, Totorhomes (yes, that is a real thing), enclosed trailers, plus UTV’s and golf carts because you have to navigate the pits in style. And, all the racers have multiple bikes instead of just one. It’s all remarkable to me, considering that land scarcity, liability and exposure, and other factors make the barrier to entry for off-road riding seemingly more difficult.
According to the most recent Powersports Business, major unit sales are up 8.3% from January to April of 2019 compared to the same period last year. It’s obvious to me that business is good and consumers are spending money right now. In particular, I notice the blue-collar crowd really has that expendable income from the economy being in a good place. Builders, welders, oil rig workers, plumbers, HVAC guys, etc. They have the money and are spending it.
It is reminiscent of an era from 1994 through 2006 when our industry experienced 14 years of consecutive growth, 13 of which were double-digit. That’s nearly the exact window I was a dealer of multiple stores in the Atlanta area.
At Dealership University™ our target audience was obviously powersports dealerships and at that time there were roughly 7,500 franchised dealers that we felt were qualified prospects. Well… as old Murphy would have it, within a handful of years the dealer network shrunk down to nearly half of that number. Dealers were disappearing left and right as the market was correcting itself.
We were fortunate that we developed several OEM clients that were key in our ability to navigate through these troubled waters. But something else was happening. The internet had busted onto the scene and was totally disrupting all previously held beliefs on what effective marketing was for a motorcycle dealer. We immediately went ‘all in’ with our studies of internet marketing and how best practices could be applied to our clients so that we could build the best training possible.
With only 3% to 6% of the population being motorcycle enthusiast and therefore a viable target audience for our clients, trying to create effective marketing programs that don’t include paying for a lot of waste can be tricky. But we did it, and our clients liked the best practices we developed so much that they asked us to do it for them. Hence, the birth of Powersports Marketing™.
One of my big takeaways from the great recession was that in good times it’s easy to get sloppy and have “good business” hide a plethora of operating and marketing sins. In some ways we were fortunate that the thinning of the herd that occurred left us with a smaller group of dealers to work with, but they were, and many still are, the gritty operators who changed with the times.
What has made us different than industry outsiders all these years, is we stand for zero-waste marketing. We don’t believe in ‘spray and pray’, branding type advertising; we focus on the most targeted viable prospects in your back yard that are most likely to do business with you. And if I wouldn’t spend my own money on it, we don’t sell it.
My spidey senses are tingling a little as I’m once again starting to see many dealers doing some really sloppy and wasteful advertising. With the election talk already heating up I can’t help but to get paranoid that we’re going to see a dip in consumer confidence in the near future and all be forced to tighten our belts.