April 2, 2007 – An enhanced connection to a changing industry

The beacons of light shining down on the stage at last summer’s Ducati North America dealer meeting was so bright, so blinding, that the audience became nothing more than a giant white blur.
It was like being beamed to one of those oft-talked about dreams where you see “The Light” and then have to make a decision to walk toward it or turn away from it. Only in my case, if I would have surrendered and walked toward it, I would have ended up sprawled across the front row in some poor dealer’s lap.
So it wasn’t the idea of talking to a crowd of 200 that unnerved me, but the loss of connection with the crowd. The intense white light made any kind of real bonding difficult.
And really, that’s what we’re here to do: bond with you, our readers. At times, it’s done face-to-face at a major event, whether in Salt Lake City at the Ducati event or in Indianapolis at the recent aftermarket show. More often, though, it’s through other means, through our twice-a-week E-newsletter that reaches more than 7,000 of you, or our dealer surveys that touch countless more.
Either way, we’re striving to make that bond with you become stronger, for it to mean more.
Part of reaching that end means broadening Powersports Business to become more than what it was in the past. For almost 10 years, it has been a quality product that has brought business news and analysis, not just product information, to the forefront.
We’ve been diligently working on improvements — some major, some minor — during the past year, and you can expect that to continue.
Last year we brought another commanding voice, Ed Lemco, to the magazine. We also focused on not only sharing what the news is, but what it actually means to you, and we created the industry’s first real snapshot of the retail sales climate, a regional look at dealership same store sales performance. With the help of ADP Lightspeed, we provide a true pulse of the industry’s sales…not just benchmark goals, 20-Group figures or a consultant’s guesstimate, but a real life representation of what is happening across the nation.
A real connection, a real bond to the world of powersports.
But that’s just the start.
This year, we’re making that connection even stronger by continuing to reveal to you not only what the news is, but more important, what it means to you. Rather than merely rewriting a press release from J.D. Power & Associates about its new customer satisfaction survey and putting a “PSB” byline on it, we investigated the real story behind it and its implications and reactions from industry players: What did major manufacturers think about the public viewing the survey’s results for the first time? (See the Jan. 22 edition for the answer.)
Instead of publishing a simple product information brief on a company introducing a nitrogen inflator to dealerships, we asked an important question: Does the dealer principal need to consider such a device? (See the March 12 edition for the answer.)
And again, it’s just the start. While you’ve been preparing for the busy selling season, we’ve been preparing elements that will continue to get you better connected to the current business environment. Consider these must-see features that are running in this edition and in future PSBs:

  • The Aftermarket Watch: Any magazine can tell you what new powersports products are available. It’s the equivalent of reading the back of a cereal box and proclaiming yourself an expert on nutrition. It’s easy to spout off product features. It’s much more difficult to give their impact on the market.
    Starting with this issue, PSB will do just that. We’ve put together a program that allows aftermarket companies and distributors to provide us a list of their top three selling products in terms of overall percentage growth. Now, dealers and manufacturers will be able to look at that list (see page 38) and discover what products have had the biggest market impact during the past six months.

  • A better Focus. The Focus section, our magazine within a magazine, was improved beginning last year and continues to get stronger. The April 25 edition of the Focus section, for example, will feature an in-depth look at how dealerships are taking advantage of an expanding marketplace — the Internet. Plus, watch for upcoming exclusive industry surveys that will be tied to this unique section.
  • A better grasp of the consumer. We’ve put together a four-part series that explores the new bike buyer, information that is detailed in the 2006 J.D. Power & Associates’ customer satisfaction survey. For the first time, the PSB series will reveal the No. 1 reason why consumers choose a particular brand and model. Plus look out for more in our annual Market Data Book.
    It’s all intended to provide you with more than just the news … to give you a better connection, a better bond to the current business climate. An illumination of sorts.
    Forgive us if it’s all a bit too blinding. PSB
    Neil Pascale is editor-in-chief of Powersports Business. He can be reached at npascale@ehlertpublishing.com.

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