Posts Tagged ‘direct marketing tips’

February Temperatures Heat Up As Auto Dealers Capitalize on Toyota’s Woes

February 4, 2010

As a direct marketing professional, I keep track of the causes behind the peaks and valleys of the automotive industry. For example, since my livelihood depends on the advertising dollars dealers spend on a monthly basis, I generally “feel” the impact in a personal and unique way. When the economy began to spiral downward, I noticed a sharp decrease in my orders for credit-related mailers. Dealers complained that their lenders were turning down many of the sub-prime loan applications they normally would approve, and because of that they were not able to justify paying me to send credit offers to bankruptcy lists, low credit score lists, etc. Well, in a similar way, I “feel” it when things turn the other way too!

Most recently, in light of the national negative publicity Toyota has received, many auto dealers (non-Toyota) have seized on their opportunity to capitalize and are winning as their gamble is paying high dividends. Here’s what’s going on:

Non-Toyota dealers are ordering all of the Toyota owners in their market from our Title List. They are sending them buyback letters and other offers, and local Toyota owners are flocking in to trade out of their Toyotas because they no longer want to drive them! In fact, just yesterday (2/3/10) Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood uttered the non nationally-broadcasted statement that received the highest level of media blitz:

At a congressional hearing, LaHood said his advice to an owner of a recalled Toyota would be to “stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.” His comments prompted new questions and rattled Toyota stockholders, causing shares to plunge 8 percent before they recovered, declining 6 percent for the day.

Then, just this morning (2/4/10), a suspected problem with the brakes on the Toyota Prius (not included in original recall) has led to a national recall too! My intention is not to kick a man when he’s down, but do you realize the potential this brings to ANY non-Toyota store?

If you are intelligent enough to put two and two together, then let’s get rollin’ and put together a serious mailer and send it to all the Toyota owners in your market. You may not ever have another chance at this type of business again. It’s literally a plug-n-play market right now – mail them your offer and they’ll come in and buy. It doesn’t get any simpler!

Use our contact form, call, or email me at

And please, non-Toyota franchised dealers only. Thanks.

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!



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

Discussion: Mass Media or Direct Mail?

August 4, 2008

Augustin Gohil, managing partner of Hill Marketing, has an interesting and informative post on his blog discussing direct mail vs. mass media. In fact, that’s the title of his post which can be read here.

He discusses how “media fragmentation reduces the coverage for individual stations and press,” and how that leads media owners to increase their prices in order to protect revenue. This behind the scenes competition raises the price on mass media while the mass media audience decreases. He shows how direct mail is unique because it does not operate in this way.

He asks, then answers the question: “How is direct mail different?”

Click here to read his article. Although it is not designed for the automotive industry per se, he discusses “shared principles” that are not industry specific. He also allows comments if you have any questions or input. I might jump in to the discussion myself. (SG)

From the Desk of John Greenleaf…

August 16, 2007

The biggest challenge that I face in direct mail is getting the recipient to open the envelope and read the offer.  For instance, if I signed up a car dealership to do a 10,000 piece mailer with a 50% discount on everything in stock, this weekend only, and only a handful of customers showed up, I could reasonably conclude that the mailer either had a really weak open rate or the offer wasn’t aggressive enough.   

I could also reasonably conclude that if the offer had nearly a 100% open rate (if almost all the 10,000 were opened and read) that the dealership would have been flooded with thousands of shoppers looking for the 50% discount! 

In most cases, the problem isn’t the offer – it’s the packaging. 

I’ve done some lengthy research as to why good automotive direct mail pieces don’t seem to draw the crowds it used to.  I’ve narrowed it down to a few factors that I’ll post about later, but today I want to tell you what I see as the numero uno problema (number one problem). 

If everyone else is remotely close to the way I am when I look at my mail, then they subconsciously split their mail into two major categories: Important and Junk.   

Important includes: bills (utilities, mortgage, credit cards, car loans etc.), and personal (birthday cards, Netflix, family, church, etc.).  There’s more, but I think you get the point. 

Junk includes: not bills or personal (Important), furniture store ads, cable ads, unsolicited advertising (mortgage, auto, and the new Chinese restaurant down the road), carpet cleaners and things of the like.   

There is certainly a division of mail into these two categories with two different reactions.  One I open and read, and the other I don’t (at least not immediately). 

So, the trick is to get automotive direct mail offers out of the Junk category and into the Important category.  If I can accomplish that, then I can provide my dealers with direct mail pieces that are certainly worth the money they’ll pay me for it!  

 Packaging counts, because most folks like me give the mail a quick visual scan and judge in a split second which category it falls into.  I think that knowing this and solving this is the reason that we rock so hard with the dealers we work with.