From the Desk of Lynn Woolf: July 2, 2013

This highway seller offers reminders about basic marketing practices that work.
This highway seller offers reminders about basic marketing practices that work.

This equipment lineup on a busy state highway caught my attention. I had to admire the seller’s marketing tactics. For instance, he offered a variety of equipment, from ditch culverts to balers to trailers to boats. The posted prices, from $20 to $2,500, encouraged those driving by to take a closer look. Who doesn’t have $20 in their wallet? And his location at the main intersection of a small town offers potential customers a good place to stop.

I’m not sure how many people buy equipment from the equivalent of a roadside produce stand. However, his bare-bones approach is a good reminder about tried and true sales and marketing tactics. Reminders like this are especially important in a world where dealers are bombarded with marketing choices.

Not too long ago, your marketing dollars were mostly divided between newspaper, TV or radio advertising and direct mail. Today’s digital world has exploded the possibilities, adding online and mobile marketing opportunities. It’s also left many feeling unsure over the best value for their marketing dollars and overwhelmed by how to take on new media and which direction will bring the most sales.

Consider this your pep talk. The reason your doors are still open is that you’re doing lots of things right. Don’t get hung up on the tactics. There will always be experts who can help you navigate traditional and new media marketing. You need to continue focusing on the basics, regardless of whether your advertising is high-tech, such as a mobile application, or low-tech, such as your outdoor display. Always be sure you’re sharing answers to these questions:

  • What do I have that no one else has? This could be equipment, service expertise or even location.
  • What will engage my customers? This could be special events, newsletters or social media for example. Fit the possibilities to your customer base and your dealership expertise.
  • What will make them buy? Good prices are a given, but leverage incentives or loyalty programs.

Be sure to factor in how your dealership addresses these typical consumer attitudes:

  • I want choices, but I hate making a decision.
  • I want a good deal, but I don’t want cheaply made equipment.
  • I want someone to call when I have a problem.

It doesn’t hurt to add in a little self-affirmation: You’re the expert and you offer great products that can make the rural lifestyle all it can be. Trust what you know and keep it simple.

Lynn Woolf,
Managing Editor
Rural Lifestyle Dealer