Marketing Alliance program designed to introduce shops to brand
Tires are a key sales piece to the PG&A department in many dealerships. So what if dealerships could get a bonus every time they brought more in stock?
Avon Tyres’ Marketing Alliance Program offers just that for its members. Dealers can earn rewards if they buy a minimum number of tires each quarter. The program was launched in March 2010 but was more recently expanded to include the Venom R and Storm 2 Ultra custom, power touring and sport touring tires.
The program works as such: dealers who order 12 tires per quarter, with an annual commitment of 48 tires, receive a quarterly reward of $3 per tire. Those who buy 30 tires per quarter, or 120 annually, earn $5 per tire, and those who purchase 60 per quarter, or 240 annually, receive $7 per tire. For dealers who choose one level but purchase tires to qualify them for another, the rewards will fluctuate up or down at the end of the year.
Each quarter, rewards are loaded onto an Avon-branded MasterCard debit card, which dealers can spend on anything.
“Some of the most successful dealers with our program are rewarding their staff with a spiff of some type, be it $5, $10, $20. It’s up to the dealer how he wants to use the tool,” David Alari, Avon account manager and administrator of the alliance program, told Powersports Business at the V-Twin Expo.
Signing up for the program is simple. Dealers complete a form and choose their qualifying distributor that will fill the order. Next, dealers choose their commitment level and order six tires to start.
“With that six tire buy-in, they get the tire shoes, a set of display tires and some inserts. They can display those things well, and then of course, we send them a data book and fitment guide. We also provide webinar training for all of their staff,” Alari said. A metal tire stand, two mini banners, a vinyl banner and an aluminum tacker sign are also included.
The data book and fitment guide divides the tires into eight categories, making it easy for a dealer to understand Avon’s range. The back of the book also lists the appropriate model and size tire, plus recommended air pressure for each bike listed by manufacturer, model and year.
“Our technical department has literally tested that set of tires on that bike and approved it, so that speaks volumes, and it helps the dealer avoid any miscues,” Alari explained.
Marketing Alliance Program members are also treated to a webinar when they sign up. The webinar starts with what Alari calls Tires 2.0. It teaches attendees, which may include staff from several dealerships as well as distributor reps, about load-carrying capacity, speed ratings, compounds, tread design, construction and tire pressure. The second half of the webinar digs deeper into Avon’s complete line.
“The unique thing about it is there’s a lot of interaction,” Alari said. “It’s not just a cookie-cutter. I like to get a lot of feedback from all the experience that’s in the room, so to speak.”
Another benefit to the Alliance Program is an annual e-newsletter, which explains customer rebates for the year. When each program is launched, Avon sends dealers information on the program and its dates, as well as three posters to promote the rebate. One such deal, for example, gives customers a $50 rebate when they buy two Avon tires. Once the tires are sold, the customer uses the receipt along with an online form to receive the rebate.
“The dealer’s job is done once they sell a tire. They don’t need to fill out the claim form, but in the day of service and adding quality and value, if I were a dealer, I would download the claim form right in front of them, fill it out, say, ‘Hey, I got a stamp; I’ll mail it in for you.’ That really kind of closes the loop, and makes sure the guy’s going to get his money back,” Alari suggested.
Dealers are also privy to their own monthly promotions, which switch between buying and selling programs. In March, for example, dealers were able to quadruple their regular rewards, so a dealer buying 12 or more tires during the quarter received $12 per tire bought in March. Other rewards may include gift cards to popular retail outlets, adventure trips, track days, apparel and more. Alliance participants also are listed as preferred dealers in Avon’s online dealer locator.
There is no penalty for dealers who join the program and don’t reach their goals, and dealers who miss the minimum in one quarter can still be rewarded later in the year.
“If a dealer doesn’t buy a lot in a quarter, he just doesn’t make the money. No pain; no nasty phone call. If he outperforms in another quarter, fine, great, good job. It’s really a simple program,” Alari said.
The Marketing Alliance Program was originally started as a way to increase Avon’s sport tire sales.
“When they first rolled it out on the sport bike side, it increased sales about 300 percent. Now to be fair, we weren’t selling hundreds of thousands of those tires. How could you do 300 percent? But at the same time, it activated a category. The program works,” Alari said.
It works as a bridge between Avon, the distributors and the dealers. It educates reps about the product and helps them sell more Avon tires, while also allowing Avon to have better interaction directly with the dealers.
“It’s been a nice tool, so that we have a relationship with the dealer as he’s selling our product,” Alari reported. “Each quarter I make phone calls. I’m the administrator of the program, so I literally call each guy or email him, and I hear good news, bad news, challenges, problems, success stories, so it really becomes a valuable tool for us to interact with the dealer, so they have more success for their brand.”
The Marketing Alliance has already spurred some dealers to ramp up their tire sales, and it has encouraged others to consider the Avon brand, when they may not have in the past.
“We don’t have the placement I think that the brand deserves, and there’s no villain. It’s difficult to get placement when the dealer has a lot of other products in stock, or when a dealer hasn’t tried our brand. This really is trying to take some of the sting out of giving a new product a shot,” Alari said.
The Marketing Alliance program stirred up so much interest at both the V-Twin Expo and Dealer Expo that Avon nearly doubled its member count in February.
“We had our best sign ups at both shows this year,” Alari reported.
The program applies to Avon’s 3D Ultra, Storm 2 Ultra, Cobra and Venom tires.