Moon Motorsports of Monticello, Minnesota, is about 30 minutes outside of Minneapolis and the largest dealership in the area, carrying 11 major lines. After meeting the marketing manager at the AIMExpo tradeshow, Powersports Business visited the dealership during a recent trip to EPG Media’s home office in Minneapolis.
Based on the showroom floor, the dealership has no shortage of inventory. “Volume wise, it’s hard to measure, but in terms of the scale of product, no other dealer has as many major manufacturers as we do,” says Alix Del Toro, marketing manager of Moon Motorsports. “That’s something I try to research and position as a unique selling proposition; what we carry and the amount of diversity in our inventory.”
Because the dealership sells a vast array of brands, Del Toro has been instrumental to the inception and growth of the dealership’s marketing team. An in-house marketing team is crucial to ensure advertisements promote the dealership and brands; promoting the dealership aids sustained growth projections, while a specific brand’s performance may fluctuate.
Dealers who participate in co-op advertising invest in the same advertisements as other dealerships down the road, Del Toro explains. “So, the return investment isn’t that great. Even if the co-op is 50/50, fifty percent of your investment is going towards an advertising exercise that could benefit your competition.” His prerogative is to, “utilize our in-house abilities to create engaging content that builds and fosters brand appreciation where we’re going to remain top of mind and have a personality that exists beyond our OEMs.”
Del Toro started working at Moon Motorsports three years ago as the dealership’s first marketing manager. “I don’t take it for granted,” he says. “There’s a lot of appreciation for [owners Kyle and Joel Erickson] being open-minded, recognizing opportunity and including me in what they created.”
The Erickson brothers have overseen the construction of the dealership’s current facility, and its expansion from four to 11 major lines. The dealership is a third-generation family-operated business, opened by Milo Moon in 1955. It was originally an automotive dealership until he took on Honda in the early ’60s. Moon sold the dealership to Denton Erickson in 1970, and his grandsons, Kyle and Joel Erickson, own the business today. They assumed ownership after graduating high school and while in college after their father, Jeff Erickson, unexpectedly passed away in 2003.
Kyle Erickson, part of the sales management team, is a recognizable face to many Moon customers. “I go to a lot of events and a lot of people ask about Kyle. They recognize our dealership, and they associate the dealership with the personality of Kyle,” Del Toro explains.
Customers also associate the dealership with Earl Moon. “BMW riders, they want to talk about Earl Moon, the grandson of the founder,” Del Toro says. Earl Moon has over 40 years of experience working in the service department.
“As someone who goes to most of these events, it’s exciting because people see your brand and they have an association,” Del Toro says. “If I had to say who the face of the dealership is, there’s a legacy affiliation with both Kyle and Earl. In terms of how visible we are, I tend to be the one who’s probably in and around the community the most.”
Del Toro has ridden as far as Springfield, Missouri to represent the dealership at the National BMW Rally. Arriving after a nine hour ride, one of the first bikers he saw was a longtime Moon Motorsports supporter. “I looked over and we both got excited to see each other. And the first person I saw when I walked into the building was a guy wearing a Moon Motorsports hat.”
Connecting with the dealership’s customers two states away assured him that the long ride south was impactful. “Dealerships have forgotten about the rider,” he says. “In the last couple of years, they haven’t had the inclination to go out into the community because they’ve been able to sell units without much of an effort. The supply chain hurdles really put the advantage towards the dealership. That, to me, goes against everything the riding community is about. For these two people to look over and see a guy dripping in sweat, having made the ride and camping outside with everyone else, it proves that each rider we sell to is far above and beyond the transactional element of the deal.”
The dealership will take part in 62 events this year, and one of Del Toro’s favorite rides is the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR). He explains it as one of the most visually appealing rides because of the rider’s vintage bikes and dapper attire.
“It’s exciting because we’re a part of something that is a big part of ridership and it’s also a ride that is compelling and gaining interest of people who may not ride. It’s definitely a ride that connects you with your community.”
“If there is one takeaway from our conversation,” Del Toro says, “it is to invest in the community. We’re riders first, and we’re always putting the rider first. We want to build relationships authentically – more than just giving someone a deal. Beyond the initial transaction, we want to continue to offer support, answer questions about ridership, provide great service and help them build relationships with other riders.”
Click on the image below to read more from the May edition of our magazine: