Archive for the ‘JG’ Category

Cash For Clunkers Summary Chart

June 19, 2009
Cash For Clunkers Summary Chart

Cash For Clunkers Summary Chart

When Every Door Looks Good: A Primer to Contextual Marketing

July 11, 2008

Contents of this article:

1. See Jane Dream

2. See Jane’s Mind

3. Meet Jane

4. Sell Jane

1. See Jane Dream:

Behind her are six paths to her future. Each path is represented by a non-primary color door. From the look on her face we can see that her imagination is contemplating which door to open. Based on her facial expression, her clasped hands in front, and her upward left looking stare, we can know that she is logically calculating the memory of a positive past experience.

2. See Jane’s Mind:

Eyes don’t lie. Ancient proverbs from many cultures in one way or another acknowledge that the eyes are windows to the soul. A trained body language expert would be able to analyze Jane’s body position and conclude with scientific precision what she is psychologically experiencing “inside her head.” Experts agree that up-left eye-movement indicates the visualization of a “remembered image” or “experience.” Whereas an up-right eye movement indicates the [creative] construction of an idea, image, or concept. Since Jane is looking up-left, we can conclude that although she has many unknown futures through the doors behind her, she finds more comfort and security interpreting those unknown future opportunities in light of her past positive experiences. This is a shocking discovery; a marketing and advertising breakthrough in anthropological research. And until robots become our customers, we need to understand people much better than our current advertising methods indicate.

3. Meet Jane:

Jane is a 28 year old dental assistant that makes $40k/year.  She lives with a roommate and she recently upgraded her wireless plan online to unlimited text messaging, and visited a few dealer sites just to get the flavor of what’s out there in case she ever wanted to trade in her ’04 Matrix.  Many women want to be her and most men want to be with her.  She represent the culture-at-large and guess what, she would rather stay home exfoliating than deal with a car salesman (type). One more fact about Jane, she’ll buy a new car this summer from someone.

Sell Jane:

In order to sell Jane, Jane must feel like she’s buying. In other words, unless she feels that she is self-initiating the buying process; all attempts to advertise to her will simply be ignored and dismissed as irrelevant. The trick here is finding a way to proactively foster enough of an influence on her so that when she responds, she does so in such a way that she considers on her own terms.

If she feels corralled and cornered, she will interpret the situation in light of a positive past experience and you will end up in her mind-space reserved for negative experiences inefficiency and overall ineffectiveness.

In just a few short words, I’d like to debunk the myth of feminine design as well as warn of the long-term dangers. Women are less likely to respond to feminine design, and are more likely to appreciate transparency. If you can get them to appreciate your transparency (i.e. up front price, etc.), then they are most likely to respond. Don’t put the cart before the horse! If they feel like you’re trying to treat them differently because they’re women, that’s a good enough reason for suspicion.

In today’s media, your mailers can’t look like everyone else’s. The same old tired pieces you’ve been running is the same as everyone else, and it no longer works. If you want to be noticed, your mailers have to be fresh, different, and inspiring. That is why Hill Marketing is currently designing 80 brand new, fresh and exciting mailers. Today, we must look different, talk different, think different, and sell different. Since the retail car business (at best) is always about six years behind the times when it comes to trends, technology, and marketing philosophy, Hill Marketing is dedicating to revolutionizing automotive direct mail by creating copy that competes with Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, Vonage, etc. Industry experts have predicted that Hill Marketing will lead the charge in saving the direct mail industry.

The same old thing you have been doing is the same as everybody else, and it no longer works. To be noticed, you’re advertising needs to be fresh and different.

Sarah black and white

Sarah black and white

Sarah Gundry is Creative Coordinator and Research Professional for Hill Marketing Group in Orange, CA. Her experience and background in studying the philosophic turn to postmodernism and its direct relation to contemporary marketing and advertising makes her a valuable contribution to the team at Hill Marketing Group. She is currently participating in the contextual marketing think tank established by John Greenleaf and will be featured as a prominent speaker in upcoming seminars and conferences.

Ron Cogan Gives Advice on Quick Ways to Cut Your Gas Bill

May 23, 2008

According to Ron Cogan‘s article “5 Quick Ways to Cut Your Gas Bill” at, he says that many are asking when this [high gas prices] will end.  Cogan adds that some consumers get mad, while others “suck it up and just pay the price, figuring it will go away.”  Cogan bluntly adds, “[i]t wont.”  Then he asks the question: “But what can you do about it?”

I agree with Cogan that the gas price problem won’t go away.  In fact, I’d take it a step further and add that it will get worse.  I’m not trying to paint a bleak and negative financial future, but if experts are correct in predicting $7 per gallon gas prices, then Cogan’s advice should be taken with all seriousness.  Here’s a basic summary of his article’s 5 ways to cut your gas bill: 

  1. Don’t drive as much.
  2. Ease off the pedal.
  3. Resist the need for speed temptation.
  4. Avoid mid-grade or premium fuel unless necessary.
  5. Check tire pressure and maintain recommended PSI.

All of these ways except for #4 result in using less fuel which results in cutting your gas bill.  #4 cuts your bill only if you do not have a high-performance vehicle, or a vehicle that requires a higher octane fuel (i.e. 89, 91, etc.).  But this distinction between #4 and the others speaks volumes to toward solving a deeper issue – the vehicle you drive.

If two separate people followed Cogan’s advice to the tee in exactly the same manner, we would expect to have identical gas bill cuts.  But this would only happen if the two experiments were with identical vehicles, number of passengers, etc.  But if person #1 drove a 1999 Toyota Camry V6LE and the other a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban 2WD, the degree of savings would be affected by the degree of difference in fuel consumption and efficiency of each respective vehicle.  Bottom line, the Suburban would be more expensive to maintain than the Camry because the Suburban gets 12 miles per gallon while the Camry gets 22 (guess-timation).

So to further enhance the wealth of wisdom in Cogan’s excellent article, I would suggest that *if* you drive a “gas hog,” consider trading it in and leasing or purchasing a much more economical and fuel-efficient vehicle.  The intention of this article is not to suggest a make and model, just to suggest that you seriously consider the adjustment of your driving according to Ron Cogan’s advice, and to do so in the most fuel-efficient vehicle you can get into.  After all, if those experts are right, and if gas hits $7 per gallon soon, then many of our lifestyles will require adjustments if we can’t afford to drive anywhere!

Click here to read Ron’s article.

INSIDER’S TIP: Automotive Direct Mail that is Working Right Now

April 21, 2008

Note: This Insider’s Tip is brought to you by John Greenleaf, Director of Marketing and Dealer Support, Hill Marketing Group, Orange CA. 

I just wanted to bring you a quick update from within the automotive direct mail industry.  This insider’s tip is to let you know what is working at this very moment. 

1) Gorilla Saturation! This is the type of direct mail that is used by staffed event companies that guarantee $300k in gross. These pieces have the nature of appealing to the broadest audience possible and can pull close to one thousand ups over a four day weekend. Pricing starts at $0.29 each, making them the most affordable and cost-efficient direct marketing tool available to dealers today! Click here to learn more.

2) Pre-Qualified Credit Offers! These pieces are designed to appeal to the buyer that has less-than-perfect credit. These buyers’ near-prime credit rating give you the advantage of discussing their credit history with them, enabling your staff with the necessary leverage to make great grossing car deals. Most programs come with a 24/7 call center to take incoming calls and set appointments. These programs have recently been reported as generating up to 6% response rates, resulting in 25-30 units delivered per 5000 dropped. Click here to learn more.

3) Title-Swap & Conquest! This is an amazing tool for dealers looking to penetrate an otherwise impossible PMA. The secret is in the mailing list. You can pick who you want your mailer to go to, based on make, model, beginning and ending model year, and zip code. In other words, you can select all 2001 to 2005 Ford Trucks (F150, Ranger, Explorer, Expedition, etc.) within 30 miles of your store (regardless of where it was originally purchased) and send buyback letters, fleet letters, cash assistance offers, etc., all addressed to the owner, including his/her vehicle (Attn: John Doe, Re: your 2003 Ford Explorer). This is like the old DMV list prior to the Shelby Act.  Click here to learn more.

These three angles are helping dealers all across the country weather the storm of an unstable economy.  If you are currently experiencing the effects of a declining market and want to do something about it, I suggest that you at least look into these three options.

King Ghidorah: Three-Headed Monster

February 19, 2008


Talk about solid, I put a custom BK mailer together for one of my Chevy stores, and it blew the doors off the joint!  A sickening 4.24% response rate put a huge smile on the dealer’s face, and put about half his pre-owned inventory on the road.  Usually, this dealer rolls 25-30 per 5,000 dropped, but my BK mailer flattened him out this time.  I mean, they literally ran him over.  Such a stampede makes me feel good about my work, mainly because most mail is crowned heavyweight champion if it pulls more than 1% – I’m bringing 2-3% in my sleep.

Oh well, this BK mailer gave me an idea.  How would you feel if I synthesized the best of all three worlds?  Remember King Ghidorah, the three-headed monster from Godzilla?  See picture above (the one behing Mothra).  Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Taking my world class credit card shell with the plastic card enclosed;
  • Rolling in the CRM with 24/7 IVR, appointment setting, and premium lead forwarding;
  • Sending this beast to a BK list, not just any BK list – to my secret VIP list.

OK, the card by itself gets 2-3% response all day long as you already know.  Because of the 24/7 IVR, none of the leads are lost, rather, converted into real appointments at a very high percentage.  But the kicker is sending it to this VIP BK list that is dripping with ugly!  Yuck, it’s nasty!  I’d be willing to guess that this monstrosity would pull 3.5% if it tanked.  But with tax refunds in customer bank accounts, decent pre-owned inventory, and an F&I team that didn’t work at MacDonald’s last year, you know – real, authentic carfolk, grosses should be up; four-pounders at least.

What do you think?  Should I bust out with something like this?  I would call it the King Gidorah promo just for fun.  I’d probably sell it for about $6,500 or so.  What I’d do is put a retail price of $8,500 or so, and just let ‘em go like pigeons at $6,500.  ROI would be sick.  Probably looking at grossing at least $100k min.  What is that, 1500% ROI?  That’s disgusting.  I’m probably not charging enough.  Maybe $10k or so.  I don’t know, it’s just a thought. 

Anyhow, take a look at the new video I posted today.  It’s Jay Leno at the NADA Convention last week.  Be warned, it’s pretty raw, not for everyone.  Remember, his audience was the car business, not the local PTA.  So watch with caution and make sure your computer speakers are at low volume, and frequently check over your shoulder.  There’s a funny Obama/Clinton/Michael Jackson joke that sets the tone in the beginning.  Enjoy!

Because Sometimes: Timing Is Everything!

February 18, 2008
Trapeze Acrobats 

Sometimes, the slightest error can result in disaster.  Look at the picture above.  If the female acrobat left the platform too early, she would not have been within reach for the male acrobat to grab.  If she didn’t carefully gauge the swing-pace of the male acrobat and skillfully perform her timed jump with precision, her only hope would be the safety net, if one at all.

In the automotive sales industry, marketing strategies should be developed for, and executed at, the right time.  This isn’t a novel idea, just a healthy reminder that in many cases, auto dealers don’t have the luxury of an acrobat’s safety net.  Sometimes, all that awaits a plummeting descent caused by a simple timing error is the concrete – ouch.

So you may ask, “John Greenleaf, why are you telling me this?”

We have to put our ears to the ground and listen very carefully to the soft vibrations too minor to be detected by the Richter scale.  From our masterful, super-intelligent observation, we can be tipped-off to developing trends not visible to the naked eye and accurately predict which marketing product will be best-suited and most importantly, most effective. 

Here’s some secret insider information: We have valid reasons to believe that in the next 30-45 days, there will be an immense amount of direct mail of the “saturation” ilk.  These are going to be a blitz of “leaders” that will be designed to generate a large volume of “anybody” traffic.  “Anybody” traffic simply means that since the mail will be sent to anybody, anybody will respond.  Whenever this happens, “anybody” shows up, “anybody” test-drives, “anybody” fills out a credit application, and “anybody” is approved.

Wait, that doesn’t follow – “anybody” is approved?  If you follow the chain of logic from the first anybody to the last, there is a critical break in the continuity, affecting the most important aspect of the car deal: does the buyer even qualify?  Strike one: a logical fallacy.  Why?  The “anybody” mailing list has no bearing on whether or not “anybody” can buy – or qualify for financing in this case.  This is normal and acknowledged whenever the “let’s just see what we get” approach is taken with saturation mailers.

Back to the acrobats. 

How does this trivial nonsense help?  You, the dealer, are hanging upside down swinging back and forth on a trapeze.  Me, the highly-skilled, superb direct-marketer, is cautiously perched on the platform waiting for the right time to jump.  Since my platform is located at the center of thousands of swinging dealers, there are many directions in which I can jump.  I am about to take the leap, not of blind faith but an anchored faith based on fact.  What I have been waiting for are the right conditions because from where I am, timing is everything.  Hmm, where have I heard that before?

What I see is a multitude of prospects that desire to purchase but do not qualify and have been turned down at other dealerships.  But since I have connections with lenders that are set-up to finance other banks declines, I am confident that the time to jump is a few split-seconds away.  All I need is a hand signal from swinging dealers, motioning to me that if I jump, I’ll be caught.  The title of this post is “Because Sometimes: Timing Is Everything.”  The reason I included “sometimes” is because sometimes, trust is everything.  What you need is someone you can trust, and so do I.  Let’s do this, let’s both check our Rolodex’s and count how many trustworthy trapeze partners we know.  I’ll go first, I’ll contact mine and then you contact yours.  Wouldn’t that be a strange coincidence if we both contacted each other?

Gotta make some calls.  Later!

Like Gang Busters

February 1, 2008

Gang Busters 1

Within less than a full month of business days in the New Year, the two direct mail programs that we have focused on has gone off “like Gang Busters.”  But what does “like Gang Busters” mean?

Gang Busters 2

History: Gang Busters was originally a radio program said to be “the only national program that brings you authentic police case histories.”  It premiered as “G-Men,” and was sponsored by Chevrolet on July 20, 1935.

On January 15, 1936, the title of the show was changed to “Gang Busters,” and had a strong run for 21 years until November 20, 1957.

Gang Busters 3

But how does that tie in to Hill Marketing Group’s strong 2008 start?

When the show aired on radio, the broadcast began with loud and blaring sound effects such as loud sirens, guns firing, and screeching tires.  This intrusive introduction led to the popular catch phrase and title of this blog entry “came on like Gang Busters!”

Just like the loud and blaring introduction of the old time radio show, we have all of a sudden exploded onto the scene as the direct mail company that is making lots of noise – coming on like Gang Busters!

Here’s what I’m hearing so far.  Dealers call me and pay me a one-time fee to do a mailer for them.  I get everything lined up; dealer does virtually nothing.  Within a relatively short period of time, the dealer begins to get a sudden surge of auto buyers all traced back to my mailer.  Dealer has access to a website that records and stores all of the incoming calls to the toll-free number that I assign to each campaign.  From the website, Dealers can see for themselves that the mailer I dropped is performing at an astronomical rate.  Dealers sit back and watch their staff roll high-grossing deal after high-grossing deal, laughing all the way to the bank!  This is the car business, and it’s alive and kicking!  If you know John Greenleaf, that is.

I guess dealers are dropping matches and setting fires during 20 group meetings or something, because I’m getting referrals every day from happy dealers and establishing new relationships with dealers that I’ve never even talked to.  In fact, I just got a call from a dealer who got my name and number from another dealer who heard from another dealer that I did a 5000 piece MasterCard mailer that got a 3.46% response.  The referred dealer immediately jumped on board and I’m dropping a mailer for him next Wednesday.  The dealer that referred the other dealer is also going to do one for the end of February, and the first dealer that referred the dealer that referred the “next Wednesday” dealer is re-signing for a 15000 piece MasterCard mailer that he depends on to make his February one to remember!

Man, I’m pumped-up!  But as I mentioned earlier in this post, two programs were in focus, not just the MasterCard.  For some really strange and odd reason, I’ve been getting requests for the Live-Check mailer.  I have no idea why.  We aren’t pitching it, nor are we even depending on it for anything.  As many of you may remember, the Live-Check was our bread and butter product about three years ago up until about a year ago.  But all of a sudden, with hardly any marketing effort at all, it has mysteriously resurrected itself and is literally flying off the shelf.  BTW, if anyone wants in on the Live-Check mailer, just contact me, and I’ll get one going for you in time to roll lots of February metal.  It’s quick, easy, inexpensive, and most importantly – extremely effective.  We have many speculative theories as top why this sudden spike in interest for the Live-Check mailer has emerged, but we’re not big on speculation since it doesn’t deal with certainty, only probability, and we prefer certainty!

I hope my last post on the sales training was helpful.  Feel free to use it in any way you can, except in bars.  Imagine: “If I were to buy you a drink, and if we got to know each other over the next couple of hours, and if we discovered that we were a match made in heaven, would you come home with me – tonight?”  You’d probably get smacked up-side the head, or popped in the nose by her husband.  So, rather than taking the risk, stick to applying it in the showroom, not the bar.

Well, gotta sign off now.  I have a few conference calls to handle before I bail outta here in a few hours.  Have a GREAT weekend!  L8.


P.S. to listen to classic episodes of “Gang Busters” click here.  Enjoy!

Gang Busters 4

Why I Love Blogging On WordPress

January 31, 2008

 OK, I’m in the automotive direct marketing world, and you’re in the automotive sales business.  We need each other in order to accomplish our goals (me – selling direct mail, you – selling vehicles).  But there is another “silent” partner that I want to acknowledge:  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, WordPress is the blogging software and hosting that I use in order to get these words that I’m typing onto your computer screen (or iphone, blackberry, etc.) so you can read them.  Here’s a link for more info.

My point is that WordPress is so easy to use that literally anyone can do what I do here on the Hill Marketing Group blog.  I’ve been following the discussion regarding auto dealers jumping on the blogging bandwagon.  The marketing benefits of a blog is something that many dealers are considering (See Jeff Kershner’s blog “Dealer Refresh” for cutting edge internet marketing articles and ideas).  So I wanted to take the time to recommend considering WordPress for your blogging needs.

WordPress is simple and basic.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s limited.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite!  WordPress offers much to the user, so much that it can be viewed as too much.  But it’s like the saying in the insurance business, “It’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have!”  I love those kinds of maxims.  And in this case it’s true.  If you have an ISM or web-person at your dealership that is considering starting a blog for your dealership, have them check out or for the finest blogging software and hosting out there.

As soon as you set up your blog, email me the link and I’ll check it out, and if I like it, I’ll feature it here by including a link!  Gotta get back to work now, so until then, best of selling!

Tax Refund Season is NOW!

January 18, 2008

Tax Refund Down Payment

They will all have cash soon!  Tax Refunds are coming.  Use the season to your advantage and run a tax refund season mailer with Hill Marketing Group!  We have the pieces that pull the biggest response rates, that means you will have more customers to work.  With down payments from tax refunds, you should be able to make many sweet deals.  Automotive Direct Mail thrives in these conditions, so call or email today to get yours!

Automotive Direct Mail and Tax Returns

January 7, 2008

Tax Return Mailer by Hill Marketing Group Dealers, this is the time of the year to begin planning your marketing strategies to coincide with tax season.  We have the piece to draw the largest response and it’s perfectly worded so that you can maximize every aspect of every car deal.  We will not post samples on this blog for now.  If you would like more information, then simply send an email to and we’ll go from there. 

Attention sub-prime and secondary specialists: Are you ready to make some nasty car deals?  Are you ready to have them lining up outside of your office waiting to sign?  If you’re that kind of player, then at least check this out.  With several years of secondary credit mailer experience, we know what works and what doesn’t.  More importantly, we know what works and when, as well as what doesn’t and when.  That means that when you roll with HMG for sub prime automotive direct mail, you know that we’ll hook you up with the right piece at the right time.  Just check it out!

Gotta get back to work now, see you soon!

Currently I’m pushing this: HMG_Card_Mailers