Kicking-off 2012 by celebrating the Grand Opening of their new state-of-the-art store, Subaru of Keene ended 2011 with a bang – selling 135 new vehicles, beating their previous December 2010 sales by 50 new vehicles.
A member of the Fenton Family of dealerships serving the greater New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine markets, Subaru of Keene saw a steady increase in sales for 2011, averaging an 8 percent increase over 2010, and as much as a 25 percent increase for the month of May alone, while Subaru was up one percent nationally for the year.
A shift in their marketing strategy early in 2011 brought steady improvement to Keene’s sales and service departments throughout 2011 and has enabled them to attract, sell, service and retain more customers for less cost while positively affecting all their profit centers: new, used, finance, service and parts.
Like many dealers, Subaru of Keene faced the ongoing challenge of how to reach the right customers with the right message, bring those customers into their showroom and service bays, and keep them coming back again and again. Dealers often struggle to deliver an affordable consistent message to their primary marketing area without also having to spend a lot of money soliciting the greater population who are not in the market for the vehicles they sell. Thus, Keene’s unique multi-market New England region prompted them to reevaluate and more clearly define their primary marketing area.
Keene began with a comprehensive five-year historical analysis of their sales and service transactions to determine customer trends. Those findings were then compared to leading thirdparty and industry data to establish consumer patterns within the local market. The results enabled Keene to identify vehicle owners with the greatest probability of buying or servicing with their dealership, as well as identify samebrand owners who had never visited Subaru of Keene, and off-brand owners with a historical pattern of crossing over to Subaru.
“Instead of spending advertising dollars to reach everyone throughout the New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine markets we serve, we can now target ready Subaru buyers and speak to them consistently,” says Mike Perry, General Manager for Subaru of Keene. “Not only is this more effective marketing to the customer, it’s also more cost effective for us.”
“Not only is this more effective marketing to the customer, it’s also more cost effective for us.” – Mike Perry, General Manager Subaru of Keene
After defining their ideal market, Keene implemented a comprehensive targeted and digital marketing strategy using variable direct mail and email campaigns that consistently speak to customers throughout the 60-month life cycle of their vehicle with custom messaging that includes a thank you and welcome message for recent purchasers, maintenance reminders for newer vehicles not yet in-equity but that may be due for recommended maintenance, and ongoing targeted mail and email sales communications to customers in an equity position. Using highend creative campaigns, Keene promotes its best sales offers with combination messaging that always includes relevant service offers that reflect the status of the customer’s vehicle with the dealership. For example, active service customers who routinely come in for service receive a $19.95 oil change coupon, but customers who are categorized as lost, or who do not regularly service with Keene, receive a coupon for a $14.95 oil change to encourage them to come back.
“We’ve serviced 510 more vehicles this year than in 2010,” says Perry. “We have reduced our reliance on the manufacturer’s service program and use our combination sales and service marketing strategy to target the right customers – it seems to be working. Our active customer database has increased by 322 customers since we started on the program.”
“Active customers are the lifeline of any dealership. Active customers are loyal and frequent and active customers are seven times more likely to buy with the dealership they service with,” says Budd Blackburn, owner of www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com, the targeted and digital marketing company that Subaru of Keene uses for their marketing strategy.
Healthier trade patterns have also emerged as a result of their steady trade-in promotions like their Express Trade Program and BuyBack Vehicle Purchase Program. Previously, Keene’s top trades were older models. Today their dominant trade-ins are 2008, 2007 and 2006 models, helping their used car department and providing a much better return on resale – plus they buy fewer vehicles at auction which saves them money.
In-store merchandising is also an important component of Keene’s strategy. Each month the store displays point-of-sale materials throughout the dealership that reflects their current monthly campaign. If a customer happens to walk in without having received anything via mail or email, they are immediately aware that there is an event taking place at the dealership and that they came to the right place at the right time.
“The consistency of this strategy is very effective. Everything ties together, it’s professional, it builds our brand – it just makes sense,” says Mark Carey, Internet Manager for the Subaru of Keene store. “There’s no more confusion over what programs and promotions are running each month. From the mail, email and in-store merchandising – the customers know what they’re getting and that’s important,” adds Carey.
Subaru of Keene ends 2011 with record-breaking sales month, and outpaces Subaru nationally by 7% for the year.
What They Do:
1. Conduct comprehensive market research to determine their perfect primary marketing area and identify ready in-market consumers with the greatest statistical probability of purchasing or servicing with their store.
2. Implement a targeted and digital marketing strategy using variable direct mail and email that contain custom sales and service messaging relevant to a vehicle’s service status with the dealership. 3. Consistently speak to in-market same-brand prospects, and consumers who drive offbrands with a historical trend of crossing over to the brands they sell.
4. Successfully attract, sell, service and retain more customers for less cost while positively promoting all their profit centers: new, used, finance, service and parts.
Resources They Use:
1. DMS: ADP (www.adpdealerservices.com)
2. Targeted Marketing Company: Team Velocity Marketing (www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com)
1. Research and identify the best possible in-market customers with the highest probability of purchasing or servicing with your dealership.
2. Create a cohesive marketing system, using both targeted and digital marketing, across multiple advertising mediums to positively promote all your profit centers: new, used, finance, service and parts.
3. Identify and consistently target in-market same-brand prospects, and consumers who drive off-brands with a historical trend of crossing over to the brands you sell – to get them in your store.
4. Attract, sell, service and retain more customers for less cost while positively promoting all your profit centers: new, used, finance, service and parts by implementing a cohesive targeted marketing system.
“The consistency of this strategy is very effective. Everything ties together, it’s professional, it builds our brand – it just makes sense.” – Mark Carey, Internet Manager Subaru of Keene “Not only is this more effective marketing to the customer, it’s also more cost effective for us.” – Mike Perry, General Manager Subaru of Keene