We all remember the 1980s classic film “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner. You know, the movie that coined the phrase: “If you build it, he will come.” The meaning was two-fold, that if Costner's character built a baseball field on the property that ghosts would come back and play on his field — one of the ghosts being his late father. Second, it meant that if he built it, spectators would come and pay admission to watch them play and bring him income. It is quite a great story on the outside. However, it seems apparent that perhaps far too many motorcycle dealerships are such big fans of this movie, since they have adopted the “If you build it, they will come” philosophy.
So, let's just think about this for one second. Companies like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Bass Pro Shops, Macys, etc. spend billions of dollars every year to persuade customers to come shop their stores. Billions to advertise the latest sales, trends, hot new products and value their stores can offer consumers. These companies understand that if you don’t tell consumers about your brand they will not shop your store. These companies understand the power of advertising. They follow advertising trends employing highly skilled and knowledgeable people to manage their advertising strategies. They absolutely do not rely on the “If you build it, they will come” philosophy.
Billions of dollars spent every year, yet powersports dealers are sitting idle. For many it is already February and they are just now planning their 2017. Do you realize that huge retailers have been planning 2017 since Q2 of 2016? Do you ever stop and think that maybe these huge retailers might be onto something worthwhile? Many powersports dealers have adopted the “If you build it, they will come” mindset. Why?
Being an enthusiast myself, I get it. You do this because it is your life, your passion, it has been in your blood since the day you were born. But why are you getting beat and not doing everything in your power to bring more customers in your door? Is it hard, absolutely it is. But we are all winners, we are all competitors, we all love our businesses, and nobody’s business is more important than the business we run.
Dealers complain that it is not the heyday of powersports in the mid- 2000s, and that bike sales plummeted in 2017. You complain about your vendor’s policies. You complain about the supply chain. You complain about the internet beating you. You complain about the discount dealer kicking your butt in sales. Well, I say stop it. Take responsibility for where your business is. If you want to win, if you want to grow, if you want to sell more bikes, then go after it. Have great sales and promotions, throw great events at your store that get people excited to visit, run great advertising campaigns that convince people that you are the best in powersports. Tell people about your business! Most importantly use that passion for this industry and that drive to win .. and go do just that — win. No longer can you simply “Build it, and they will come”
It is 2017, you have to “Advertise it, and they will come."
Ryan Brown is vice president of powersports at Big Time Advertising, a digital advertising agency focused solely on the powersports industry. Ryan has over 15 years of experience in the powersports industry as a rep and GM of a national top 10 multi-line dealership. He uses his knowledge of the powersports industry and digital advertising to put together winning advertising plans that deliver more leads to dealerships across the country.