Turning 50 Hurts So Good!

Posted: April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

50I turn 50 today. The BIG FIVE OH! I am officially now supposed to be the “wise one”.  Why do I still like to scare people,execute the very best practical jokes, and turn my baseball cap around when I putt?

I have invested almost 30 years or my entire adult life serving our country’s automotive dealerships. After visiting, working with thousands of dealerships and traveling to most of our beautiful 50 states (the first time), I knew this is what I want to do.

Nothing against those who took the extended education route to earn big money, but the car business is filled with people who earn the big money but have something a little extra. Stories! This is an industry of self-made millionaires who did it the old fashion way. I don’t think most people would even believe some of the stories of success that have come out of the car business. I need to write a book.

Anyway, I can still remember my first meeting with a car dealer. I was in my early twenties and nervous as heck. I had been calling on dealerships via telephone since I was 15 (working for my dad and Jackie B Cooper) but this was different. This was “face to face”.  First stop after leaving the hotel was the hospital. I wasn’t sick. I was driving by it and saw a doctor walking to work. I stopped, got out of my rental and asked him if he would please help me tie this tie. My dad taught me but for some reason, it just wasn’t working out. He laughed and said “sure young man”. I looked the part but boy did I have work to do!

It’s kind of funny. I still hear car dealers tell me that “direct mail doesn’t work around here”. I call the dealer across the street and they say “we tried it a few times with not much luck but sure we will give it another shot.” They end up having the best weekend in years. That happens still every month to this day. In fairness, not all campaigns are successful. But if a dealership trust me to set it up right, and prepares correctly, odds on, they will ROCK more times than not. That I can promise!

Fast forward to today. Now, some of the dealership managers I talk and work with were in diapers when I first started selling automotive training and even direct mail. That can make a guy feel old. I mean “wise”.  Generation differences or not, people still buy cars and still buy from someone they like and trust.

Watching the automotive business transition from “old school” to the “Internet age” has been just incredible.  I welcome the change. The Internet has done nothing but enhance and improve rounding up those car buyers! Some folks who sell traditional advertising and marketing fear the Internet. That is only because they didn’t embrace change. Nothing stays the same.

We have learned to transition from one channel like direct mail to multichannel that includes direct mail, email, Personal URL’s, QR Codes, Landing pages, Mobile, and more. With so many different car buyers getting information from different sources and the ever changing landscape, you have to have your head on a swivel.

The automotive business, before and after 2007-09 is like something out of a “Terminator Movie”. You know, life is here, there is an explosion, and now there is not, and we need to rebuild. So many good friends and customers lost their dealership or had some other tragedy.  But many of them are also at the same dealership for 25 plus years and we still do business.

Thank you Automotive Industry. Thank you for almost 30 years of nothing but excitement. You can write copy, design and produce direct mail campaigns all you want but if they don’t work, you are out of this business fast. After hundreds of millions of pieces of mail and thousands of successful campaigns, I am still here making it happen.

God Bless all the risk takers and hardworking automotive managers and dealers! 

Todd Vowell







About the author:

Todd Vowell has been a business owner since 1994. Took 3 start up companies from zero to over $30 million dollars with over 140 employees including 52 salespeople. Over 2,000 people have been hired, trained, motivated, and educated by Mr. Vowell in the art of successful automotive digital/direct marketing, sales training, and social media.

5,000 Car Dealers have executed over 400 million pieces of mail with his events. Since 1987, dealers have invested over $125 Million Dollars in his custom exclusive events and sold over 600,000 vehicles. Promotions like The Butterball Bonanza, The Auto Loan Alert, The Decoy, Certification Test Market, Drive Back to America, and Dept of Vehicle Acquisitions.

Mr. Vowell is proud to have worked with Jackie B Cooper, Jim Rohn, and his mentor, best friend, and dad, Dean Vowell.

Specialties: Creates the path, never follow it. He combines digital and complex variable data direct marketing, strategy, and enthusiasm for automotive direct mail marketing events worth a repeat performance!


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