coffee cups lotsIt only took 27 years, 39,420 cups of coffee, 486,000 phone conversations with dealership owners/managers, and 41,732 successful direct mail marketing events to learn this. The biggest mistake MOST (not all) dealers make is utilizing the direct mail marketing event as a “last-minute Hail Mary” solution to a bad month, when it should be used as the most valuable weekend of the month or quarter (depending on frequency). The event should be well thought out, with a blueprint that is detailed, evaluated, adjusted, practiced, drilled, and rehearsed over and over. It may be a lot of work, but would you do it to earn $100,000 – $350,000 gross profit over the weekend AND KEEP IT ALL?

Again, 41,732 direct mail events created, sold, written, and produced, specifically for automotive dealerships. That is important because there might be some doubters. Don’t misunderstand this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with tapping direct mail last-minute to pull a month out. Just don’t make a habit out of it, and make sure you use a company that has been there, done that. Vet them well.

Why is this the biggest mistake? First, bad things usually happen when you try to rush something with an almost impossible deadline. Looking back on all those events, at least 90% of the mistakes took place with last-minute jobs, no question. The zip codes were rushed through or the letter was not properly proofed, so quality control was not able to catch mistakes that usually would have been caught by the first pair of eye balls. (things like phone number, dealership address, zip, or dealership name) It should be noted that the most common challenge is actually with the Post Office and late mail.  The Post Office makes sure last-minute promos also are late. It’s in their DNA sometimes… (Over a few decades, you get to know what Post Office Entry Units are good, and which ones are bad news…)

When mistakes do happen in the direct mail business (and it is NOT very often), they are expensive ones. If a car dealership does a 20,000 piece mailer, and there is a mistake, it could cost anywhere from $10,000 to over $20,000. That’s just the direct mail piece. Add in food, prize insurance, drinks, entertainment, hiring extra help, other advertising, and it can reach $250,000 in a hurry!

With todays automotive business and the growth of the Internet, digital marketing and social media, there are even more key reasons not to rush the direct mail marketing event. If you set your event up SocialMediaMessXLcorrectly and leave plenty of time, you can promote your event unlike ever before in the history of advertising and marketing. When you add Social Media and digital to your direct mail marketing event, you are essentially feeding Popeye a can of spinach (If you have allowed yourself time).

The BIG EVENT can be promoted with video, Email blast, Text, Blogs, Personal URL, Landing (or Squeeze) Pages, Networking, Podcast, Banners, Facebook, etc.  All this takes time to be created, edited, uploaded, and indexed by the search engines. Then you let viewership have its day!  Ladies and gentlemen, get ready and brace your self for the biggest weekend ever! People laugh when we say that but YOU GOT TO BELIEVE IN THE BIGGEST WEEKEND EVER with ever fiber of the dealership, from the receptionist to the owner, everyone must be on the same page. Good luck, believe, and great selling!


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