A core dictum of direct marketing is to improve your offer when you want to improve response. And while Joe Spadaro, co-owner of Winterville, N.C., used car dealership Saturn of Greenville, embraced this proven advice when his campaigns’ performance started to slip, he also trained a critical eye on his media choices.
“For me, traditional advertising wasn’t working. Newspaper—not working. It used to be that we’d put an ad in the newspaper and, as long as you had competitive prices and a product someone wanted to buy, they would show up with the newspaper in their hand … People don’t do that anymore. [Another] big part of our advertising has been radio and television, and that’s not getting us much of a push,” he explains.
He also was frustrated with the quality of mailing address and phone number data he was getting for his direct mail campaigns, making it difficult for his sales team to follow up on mail drops effectively.
To address these challenges, Saturn of Greenville recently tested an integrated mail-Web marketing solution from New Orleans firm Dukky. A 15,000-piece campaign mailed to residents in the dealership’s local market offered a $1,000 discount on a used car purchase and the chance to win $25,000. The mailing leveraged variable data printing of both personalized URLs (PURLs) and name-based personalization to entice recipients to visit an online interface hosted by Dukky, where they could learn more about Saturn of Greenville and share the offer with their networks through social media tools.
When recipients reached their landing pages, the login forms were pre-populated with their first names, last names and e-mail addresses, says Renee Hall, spokesperson for Dukky; Saturn of Greenville asked a few additional qualifying questions, such as which type of vehicle interested them and what best described their current credit profile, and also solicited visitors’ phone numbers. The dealership then used this information to customize its follow-up to each respondent.
Via a reporting dashboard, Saturn of Greenville was able to track recipients’ engagement with the campaign beyond logins and dealer visits. For example, nearly 5 percent of response was driven by the target audience sharing the offer via social media tools integrated into the personalized landing pages. In particular, Facebook outperformed Twitter, text message and e-mail when it came to both the primary source for sharing as well as number of pass-along prospects visiting the site. Hall notes that for every one Saturn of Greenville offer shared on Facebook, about five new people visited the promotional site.
This feature is a key benefit for Spadaro. “I love the fact that I can watch people share [offers] with family and friends. Last month, we probably sold four vehicles to people we did not mail to … They went online, logged in and they ended up coming to the dealership. We sold them cars. Where else is that going to happen?”
The overall campaign results included 1,070 leads generated and 24 cars sold in a space of four days—a number that’s just five shy of the dealership’s average monthly sales.
Since its first PURL-based campaign, Saturn of Greenville has gone on to launch a few more efforts using Dukky’s solution, with Spadaro spreading his mail quantity out into weekly drops. A campaign that landed in prospects’ mailboxes Monday already is producing results that are music to Spadaro’s ears. “We sold three cars off of it already, which is unusual for the first day in-house. And [the sales team] has several appointments for the week,” he reports.