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Make two very important decisions this riding season

Neil Pascale, Columnist
May 15, 2013
Filed under Columns

In your mind, picture your consumer. Not just the guy who plunders your coffee machine and stalks your clearance counter, but the consumer. You know, the guy who buys a new touring ride every two years. The UTV enthusiast who can’t wait for the newest product addition. That guy.

Now picture him in a marketing sense. How are you reaching him? How are you communicating with him?

If you didn’t say through email — if that didn’t immediately pop into your mind — then you’re in fact not reaching him. You could have the perfect product for him, the right OEM promotion, a willing lender and still, you’ve got nothing. You don’t have that guy. You’re not connecting with him because you’re speaking another language.

That’s ridiculous, you say. We want to talk to guys on the phone, not over email. Great, I’ll respond. Now ask yourself, how many calls a day do you take vs. the volume of email you read?

Or how about this? How often — as a consumer — are you willing to answer a call once you’ve spied who’s calling you? And how does that compare to the number of times you’re willing to click on an email simply because it has an intriguing subject line. One (the email) is easy to do and has almost zero time commitment. If there’s nothing in the email that immediately piques your interest, you’re gone. The phone call, on the other hand, is a commitment. It’s time out of your day. It’s a clear-cut decision that most of the time comes down to a simple resolution: Let your voicemail handle it.

Is there any wonder why email has infinitely more retail impact on today’s mobile users, i.e., our consumers? And this isn’t just me making an argument. This is proven. More than 70 percent of consumers said their mobile purchasing decisions were swayed by emails from retailers, according to a 2013 study of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers by Adobe Systems Inc.

That was the No. 2 influence on mobile buyers. The first? Their friends.

And how did their friends let them know? Email!

Don’t believe me? The same consumer study finds an incredibly interesting consumer dynamic — a higher percentage of people use their smartphones to read emails than to make calls.

Seriously!

We as consumers are email crazy. And yet we as industry retailers are struggling with buying that notion, like we’re waiting for somebody to convince us of that fact. I’ve asked different dealer groups at OEM and state association meetings over the past six months the simple question of, “How many of you have regular e-newsletters or regular e-communication to your consumers?” Sometimes, half the audience raises their hand. Sometimes, less than a quarter of you do.

That’s not good. In fact, that’s downright scary in a time when disposable income is … well … not very disposable.

Make two very important decisions this riding season: Embrace the most effective retail communication channel — email. And do so on a regular basis. Our No. 1 buying demographic — ages 35-54 or thereabouts — is memory-deficient. Those of us who fit that demographic, including yours truly, can’t remember what we had for dinner three nights ago, much less what you emailed us three weeks ago. If you’re only sending out email marketing once a month, you’re not talking with the touring guy or the UTV enthusiast. You’re wasting your time.

Seventy percent of us buy something off our smartphones because you email us intriguing offers. But probably more than 70 percent of us can’t remember when we’re supposed to pick up the kids … this evening?

Stop looking at regular email as a reason for a consumer to suddenly despise your place of business. It’s a communication, one with the potential to pique my curiosity. To take my mind off, just for an instant or two, the 10 things that I have to do, not the 10 things I want to think about.

Too many of us view regular email an intrusion, like it’s a reminder from the dentist for that root canal you scheduled two months ago. It’s not. It’s an opportunity to view the latest model or newest bike review with a single click.

A click that can mean so much to your business, but only if you give it the time it deserves. Don’t have the time? Then consult your website provider, who often has programs that provide such services in manageable packages.

Want to reach that guy? That guy who bought the new touring bike last year and is suddenly getting the craving again? He’s not buying if you’re not communicating — in his language. Email.

Neil Pascale is the business development manager for Dominion Powersports Solutions, a dealer service provider that includes PowerSports Network, CycleTrader.com, Traffic Log Pro, Ziios and Dominion Insights. He can be reached at neil.pascale@dominionpowersports.com.

 

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