Posts Tagged ‘direct mail’

When Will The Credit Freeze End?

October 8, 2008

Many Auto Dealers are hopeful that lenders will loosen up on their restrictions soon and begin making auto loans to their secondary (Sub-Prime) applicants once again. Perhaps they are counting on the $700 Billion Bail Out, or perhaps they have confidence in some of the recent acquisitions made by larger financial institutions.

The hopeful outlook is in stark contrast to the feedback I received from dealers last month after the announcement of HSBC and Triad’s decision to discontinue making loans through auto dealers and focus on other markets. Cindy Savio, spokesperson for HSBC said, “The auto finance business has been under strategic review for some time…Our exit from the business will allow HSBC Finance Corp. to focus on its core businesses – credit cards and mortgage lending.”

Jack Tracey, executive director of the National Automotive Finance Association said, “HSBC’s departure leaves a hole for the dealer community that seeks to finance customers with less-than-perfect credit…That leaves fewer options for dealers in an environment where other lenders who are left are tightening credit.” (source: Automotive News, Aug. 12, 2008)

Many dealers have felt the breeze created by that hole and have had to turn away consumers that they could have easily converted into sales the month before. I noticed a decrease in orders for my bankruptcy mailers which I see as just a ripple-effect of these sub-prime auto lenders pulling out of the auto lending market. Some of my clients have had to actually postpone scheduled mail drops for sub-prime direct mail orders simply because they felt that they would not be able to provide financing for consumers that responded to my aggressive credit offers.

But since HSBC serviced approximately 7,500 auto dealers and Triad serviced about 5,000, when it became public that they informed their dealers that they would no longer provide auto loans, other lenders seized the opportunity and contacted these dealers vowing to fill the sub-prime auto lending hole.

With obvious caution and skepticism, dealers took the wait and see approach and slowly began to submit applications that HSBC and Triad normally would have received. Once they began to see approvals and actually got funded with little or no hassle at all, their confidence began to grow and it is my opinion that this is where their hope is grounded.

I say this to rebut the mass media’s claim that the U.S. automotive industry is severe trouble. I’ll grant that there are many difficulties, but as we saw a major GM dealer close its doors last week we also saw it reopen the next day under new ownership. This is clearly the case of one man’s failure being another man’s opportunity.

Confidence in the U.S. automotive sales industry goes against the media’s scare tactics that are seeping with political overtones (which I’ll not get into here), so it’s no wonder that the general report is one that is “all-bad.” But I am still receiving orders for direct mail, and these orders are substantially larger in volume than they were a few months ago. I believe that I am a good barometer for market conditions because I only exist if auto dealers use my services, and guess what??? They are.

In closing I quote the prolific “Public Enemy” – “Don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype!”

Welcome Automotive Sales & Marketing Newsletter Visitors

September 16, 2008

If you are here because of the link in the latest Hill Marketing Automotive Sales & Marketing Newsletter, then please accept our warm welcome and invitation to browse our site. You will find many informative articles on automotive direct mail, auto sales indutry news, marketing and advertising, sales training, and more.

We only publish quality content related to automotive direct mail that is designed to create traffic at your location so that you can increase your auto sales.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us…

Oversized Key Mailers – One Way to Win Big This Fall

September 4, 2008

Imagine walking into a high-schooler’s bedroom and seeing a poster of their favorite rock star or athlete on the wall. The size of that poster would be about the same size as our giant key mailer. Imagine taking it off the wall, folding it in half, then folding it in half again. Then imagine stuffing it into a 9″X12″ flat magazine envelope like what your Sports-Illustrated-type of magazine is mailed in. Now replace the rock star or athlete image on the poster with the most aggressive double sided auto sales copy and tape a high-quality key to it. The picture in your mind represents the reality that thousands of customers will experience when you sign up for Hill Marketing’s assorted line of giant key mailers!

With low prices and the largest response rates, Hill Marketing’s giant key mailers become one menu item that dealers cannot afford to pass on. Historically, Fall is the best time to run key mailers, and many of dealers will be doing that beginning this month (Sept.). Gas prices are down, Back to School is out of the way, and consumers have finally returned to the market to inquire about purchasing a vehicle. Many will buy on their own. But only a proactive campaign will bring them to your store to buy from you. Get on the phone and set one of these up today. Most importantly, don’t do anything until first checking what Hill Marketing has to offeryou won’t regret it!

P.S. An amazing lead-generating, vehicle selling tool is our newest line of bankruptcy products. If you can finance fresh bankruptcies then you need to do this. Ridiculous results are being reported at this very moment!

Why Some Auto Dealers Survive While Others Go Out of Business

August 20, 2008

We’re halfway through Q3 and we are approaching the final stages of planning Q4. Certain industry factors have left some craters in the wake, but the moon-walking automotive direct marketer feels at home in such conditions. Let me explain.

Soaring fuel prices and economic uncertainty led to a sharp decline in U.S. auto sales in general, but truck and SUV sales in particular suffered the most. At this point there’s no need to recap this summer’s auto sales woes, but add in the stricter lending guidelines and loss of lease business, and we can say with assurance that the “car business” is hurting right now.

But from our perspective, our interaction with U.S. auto dealerships and what is being reported in the national media do not necessarily match up. For example, earlier this month a Hyundai dealer in Tennessee did a 5,000 piece targeted direct mailer, and from the first half (2,500) they got 36 responses (1.44%), which isn’t bad. It’s above industry average, and it yielded double digit sales. But there’s nothing too special about that (our direct mail has been called the best in the business, and over 90% of our programs have performed in this manner for over three straight years!).

The amazing thing is that with a tweak in the data for the remaining 2,500 pieces, the dealer got 175 responses (6.99%) and is still selling units to this day from the mailer we sent out! In the end, the dealer will probably end up with 30 or 40 retail deliveries. This is in addition to the traffic produced by other advertising mediums and daily walk-ins. This dealer will gross over $100k from a dinky little 5,000 piece Hill Marketing mailer; just one of the reasons our clients love us so much!

On the other end of the spectrum is a Dodge dealer in NC. Only the man that has been hiding under a rock in a dark cave isn’t aware of the ultra-suffering and hemorrhaging that Dodge dealers have had to endure this summer. But as a Hill Marketing client, this Dodge dealer has had a steady flow of quality traffic from our mailers. We got a call at the beginning of the month and the dealer “TRIPLED” their normal amount of direct mail (they run with us every month).

Now, why would a Dodge dealer triple their amount of direct mail? Our answer: because our mailers out-perform anything else on the market! This Dodge dealer is enjoying over 3% response rates and is not firing salespeople, rather, hiring more! Try to tell this Dodge dealer that the market is soft and he’ll laugh at you. His salespeople and F & I team will average over $10k on this month’s paycheck – because they’re selling units with good grosses.

Another example would be a GM dealer in Louisiana that runs our mailer religiously. In the midst of all the trepidation they are laughing all the way to the bank enjoying a 3.74% response rate from Hill Marketing direct mail.

Then there’s a Texas dealer that can’t stop putting in orders for our direct mail. He’s a Chevy store, and he uses us multiple times per month (anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 pieces). For over a year we have been providing direct mail for this dealer, and in his eyes, we’re his hero.

So it is with a major San Antonio dealer (tough market). We’re the ace in the hole for them because we’re the only direct mail provider that can get 5.34% response rates! To a bunch of savvy car people, leads are of essential importance. That is why the GM down there picks up the phone and calls Hill Marketing and orders direct mail from us – every month.

Anyone can say anything online. That’s just the way it is. So if you’re a dealer reading this and are considering doing direct mail but think I’m lying, do like they did at one point and call me and ask for references. The above referenced real life cases have been informed of this article and are willing to take reference inquiries. Nothing beats a real life testimonial from a peer, and now is your chance to check things out. Q4 will be here soon, and there’s still time to book Q3 events.

It’s either that or you’ll just keep reading about other’s success!

Sincerely,

 

John Greenleaf

Marketing Director

Hill Marketing Group

(866) 572-4861 ext. 4127

Automotive Direct Mail Firing On All Cylinders

August 6, 2008

Since most automotive direct mail campaigns have a “hit-n-miss” component that sneaks up and appears when it’s least expected, a celebratory boasting is warranted whenever a solid run emerges. This latest string of successful automotive direct mail campaigns stretches back to the middle of March (of this year). The few minor adjustments we’ve made have resulted in a major impact in the overall volume of new and pre-owned sales for the dealers we’ve serviced.

So, if a sudden surge in sales is what you’re looking for, now would be a good time to call. Free consultations are offered between 8am and 4pm (PST). To reserve a free consultation, fill out our contact form completely and you’ll be contacted a.s.a.p. Media Kits with samples, pricing, etc., are available upon request.

No obligation

No purchase necessary

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.

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.

JG

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: WordPress.com.  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 WordPress.com or WordPress.org 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!

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2008

crystal ball

Last year was a great year, and we hope that this year will be even better.  To stay a step ahead of the game, a look into the old crystal ball is in order.  What do we see?  We see thousands of potential customers with a sudden increase in their bank account.  Wait, the fog is clearing; it is a surge in deposits.  These potential customers are all depositing checks that look very similar.  We see three or four – no, it’s three letters.  They all have an “I” and an “R” and an “S.”  That’s it!  They all have IRS tax refunds.

Okay, this means that some healthy car-deals are possible because they have down-payment.  This means that we need to get these customers into your store before they buy from someone else.  Why don’t we do this; let’s send them some direct mail from Hill Marketing Group, giving them a reason to visit – so you can close them!  The crystal ball reveals that they will buy from *somewhere* soon, but there’s too much fog to read the plate frames.  It could be you, or it could be one of the other dealers near you.  The only way to tell is to ask yourself: what do I have planned for then?  Have you planned the necessary marketing strategy that would result in your name on the freshly-delivered unit’s plate-frame?

If not, then give us a call or send us an email to find out what your options are.  We are fully-stocked with the perfect combination of mailers, data, and affordable pricing.  Our *well-thought-out* marketing programs are turn-key, so all you have to do is order and we do all the rest (except the test-drive, write-up, desking, F&I, and delivery)!  It doesn’t get any easier than this.  We even provide your sales staff and managers a training conference call just to make sure that everyone is extra-sharp and on point!

Remember, they will buy from somewhere.  What you do between now and the time they leave their house to buy will determine whether or not they include you as an option.  Why not send them a neat credit card offer with an insured cash prize that’s only available at your store?  That’ll get ‘em in.  Or how about a buyback letter that informs them that you’ll pay most for their trade?  Or what about a special-finance mailer using credit data from Experian, Trans-Union, or Equifax?  Postcards?  Saturation?  Let’s talk!

Auto Dealers: Strong Finish to 2007

November 5, 2007

Q_Mark 

This blog post is intended for automotive retail dealers only. 

I am excited to announce that our end-of-the-year mailer is just about ready for release.  This piece that I’m talking about will work in any market because of the fresh and unique approach and design.  This year’s piece does not use credit data, which will allow many more dealers to participate.  We have joined forces with one of the top-rated cutting edge design firms in the world, and as a result, your next mailer will be received with the highest honors, resulting in many great grossing deliveries!

 

We will not be including samples on our blog anymore.  Too many copycats are visiting our blog and ripping us off.  We are beginning to see our ideas on our competitor’s websites.  Although we are flattered that we have such an influence on our competition, we are not in the business of providing creativity for our competitors. 

 

Dealers Only!  To receive samples, click on the “Buy Our Stuff” tab above our logo and request samples.  What you will receive is a sneak-preview of how we are going to shake things up in 2008, and become your first choice when it comes to direct-response marketing.  Dealers that are added to our core-group in November will gain a ridiculous competitive advantage in their markets because we will be shooting over pre-release samples by email about two months before the rest of the world sees it.

 

Being seen first in your own market is the key to the mystery of direct mail.  So, join our core group today by requesting samples by email and you will be added to the private email list that will receive pre-release samples two months ahead of time, plenty of time for you to view it, and respond back with a yes or a no.

 

There are over 20,000 dealerships in the U.S. and we only have about 1100 or so in our core group.  That means that there are thousands of dealers that do not receive our updates.  Join today by following the instructions here.  There is no cost or commitment to join.  Even if you never decide to run with us, at least you’ll know what’s going on out there.

John Greenleaf

Dealer Support Manager

Hill Marketing Group