Effective Automotive Direct Mail Key to Building Customer Relationships

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Direct mail can accomplish something that newspaper, TV and radio cannot: one-to-one marketing. One of the best ways to create a successful mailer is through the use of “variable printing” techniques. The more the market can be segmented using direct mail techniques, the higher the rate of return on marketing costs.

It is estimated that today’s consumer is exposed to over three thousand advertising messages in the average day. Of that three thousand, research shows that only twelve messages are retained, and two out of the twelve will be remembered negatively. Many dealers in today’s market place simply cannot afford to put out enough advertising to break through the clutter, and their message goes unnoticed.

However, there is a solution: direct mail.

Even in an “electronic age,” direct mail is still an essential component of customer development for the retail automotive business. A well-designed direct mail piece can instantly pull customer interest in the dealer’s direction for staffed events and other promotions. Getting a clear and compelling message in front of the right audience is a complex task, but one that can bring big results.

The challenge lies in setting clear objectives for the campaign to achieve. Whether the goal is to bring customers into the store, get them to a staffed event, or drive them to a website, direct mail is the best way to control who receives the message and how it influences them. The dealer’s mail must quickly distinguish itself from “junk mail,” and hold the customer’s interest and attention long enough to deliver the message and motivate the customer to action.

Direct mail can accomplish something that newspaper, TV and radio cannot: one-to-one marketing. One of the best ways to create a successful mailer is through the use of “variable printing” techniques. Variable printed mailers reach thousands of prospective customers, but with individualized messages that vary from customer to customer. Building personal information into the message engages the customer immediately. An effectively written direct mail piece shows that the dealer knows customer preferences and needs, and is eager to satisfy them.

Other printing techniques that have proven successful involve the use of “scratch-off” promotions and similar devices that lead the recipient to “interact” with the mail. The longer the piece is in their hands, the higher the interest level, and the more likely they will respond. Everyone loves to play games, and a “scratch-off” feeds that desire, invoking a higher percentage of positive responses to staffed events and other strategies for attracting customer attention.

Direct mail can also drive traffic to a promotional website, where the user can enter additional personal information. Collecting valuable information such as the consumer’s email address can prove very rewarding for follow-up campaigns. Tracking demographics, preferences, and purchase decisions enables a dealer to further customize direct mail. The more the market can be segmented, the higher the rate of return on marketing costs.

Designing and deploying direct mail effectively requires complex technology, as well as design and marketing expertise. For instance, Sales360, the leading provider of staffed event, advertising and marketing services to auto dealerships, dedicates a 20,000 square foot facility to the production and fulfillment functions a successful direct mail campaign requires. Using proprietary targeting software, a sophisticated research approach, and variable printing strategies, Sales360 guarantees the quality of prospective customers that a direct mail piece will reach and attract to the dealership, particularly for Sales360 staffed events.

Variable printing capabilities utilized by a knowledgeable and experienced marketing team can make all the difference in direct mail campaigns, where precious advertising dollars need to produce maximum results.

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Mike Paine
Sales360
504-831-4135
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