Service Providers

It’s a game of ‘niches’

A real customer scenario: A customer purchases a new major unit – a snowmobile – from his favorite dealer. As part of the purchase he also spent $1,500 in performance parts, $900 in service work to install them and $500 on a new jacket to match his sled. His total expenditure is more than $15,000.

This customer has previously purchased new snowmobiles from this dealer in 2000, 2005 and 2007 as well. During the years between major unit purchases an average of $1,500 was spent on snowmobile performance parts and service work at this dealership as well. Outside of a “Thank you for your purchase” letter and a call from the salesperson when the sled arrived, this customer hasn’t been followed up with by the dealer.

What now? This customer needs to feel the love from his favorite dealer or he will start spending his dollars elsewhere. Thanking him for his purchase is important, however recognizing and appealing to his specific interest in snowmobiling and performance work is what is really needed here.

Identifying and appealing to your customer’s particular niche interest is quickly becoming a requirement in the powersports industry. Receiving a winter bike storage special offer is irreverent and may even annoy a snowmobile customer. Where as a “Sled Head Service Special” offering a discount on a pre-season inspection would have has just the opposite effect. The same is true for touring class riders, sport bike riders, motocrossers and ATV riders as well.  The point is the better job you do at identifying your customer’s niche interest and targeting him, the stronger the customer’s connection with your dealership will be.

Identifying niches and the customers who occupy them can be as simple as following the money. Customer purchase history, as in this example, will tell you what you need to know about where your customer’s interest lays. This information is contained in your dealer management system. It can be accessed using various methods including standard DMS reports, digital marketing tools in popular CRM applications, or through third party vendors providing datamining or database marketing services.

What was learned? As football is a game of inches, the powersports business is quickly becoming a game of niches. Regular customer follow up is a must, especially with your best customers. However, a thank you card and a regular e-newsletter blast to your database are no longer sufficient to drive business to your store.

Niche marketing is not only highly effective, it is also an efficient use of your dealership’s marketing dollars. As Dr. Ivan Delman concluded in his recent publication studying “Niche Marketing vs. Mass Marketing,” targeting groups of customers based on shared niche interests will deliver far better results than mass market appeals as it is much easier to attract the attention of a smaller crowd that you have identified as being interested in what you are offering.

Succeeding in today’s game of niches means moving beyond traditional dealership marketing practices. Good luck with your efforts.

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One Comment

  1. Its time to care and take care of the customers you have…This is what sets you apart from the competition.

    Nice article and all retailers, don’t forget that these details make a BIG diffrence to your customers.

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