A Dangerous Trend Emerging in the New Year

Rod Stuckey | 01/26/2016

Welcome to 2016 and issue 79 of the Ultra Marketing Machine newsletter, a.k.a. the Yellow Paper. Happy New Year!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been mailing this for over 6 years straight, and I’m proud to say we have no plans of using the trendy reason of going green as an excuse to cut costs, and turn this into a digital publication. Right here, right now, if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, I resolve to keep this newsletter in real print, on real paper, bringing you the best real world dealership marketing best practices in real ink for another 6 years and beyond. 


I do realize that 10 or 20 years from now, the decision makers in dealerships may prefer digital consumption of this content. But today, the Dealer Principals, GM’s, and readers I speak with appreciate the tangible product. And these are the primary folks we aim to please. I bring this up because I see a dangerous marketing trend emerging with dealer marketing. 

It seems that many of the OEM’s are so busy trying to attract the next generation of customers who currently have low income, no credit, and a limited desire for the product, that they’re ignorantly unaware they are beginning to repel their existing customers, who by the way, have solid income, great credit, and high desire for the product. 


If 90% of my client base is made up of baby boomers and Generation X’ers who appreciate this newsletter in print, and 10% are millennials who feel we should deliver this via Snap Chat, I’d be pretty unwise to focus a disproportionate amount of resources on the 10% rather than on the 90%, wouldn’t I?



Here at Powersports Marketing we’ve long championed the proven data that clearly states the number one way we grow this industry and create new riders is through the influence of friends and family. Somewhere along the way, the big dumb ad agencies hired by the OEM’s have convinced their clients that spending millions of dollars marketing to Non-Riders, Minorities, and Millennials is going to grow this industry and set them up for success 20 years from now. Then in a trickledown effect, the OEM’s push programs on you, the dealer, persuading you to advertise to these segments. I say hogwash. 


Motorcycle riders are passion based enthusiasts. My wife and daughters love horses, my father loves airplanes, my good friend Chris loves deep sea fishing, many of my colleagues here at the office love golfing, and Tory and Brad love Muscle Cars. All of the previous mentioned have two things in common. One, they are passionate about their hobbies, and two, their involvement in their chosen hobby is a result of the influence of friends and family, not the result of an advertisement. 


If you want consistent growth for the New Year and beyond, I strongly urge you to market with laser precision to your buying base. Your buying base is made up of two groups. One, your existing customer list. Those who have given you money in the past are the most likely to give you money again in the future. Did you know 68% of lost customers discontinue shopping with a business because of indifference. We call these lost customers “quiet migrators,” they just drift off, because they really aren’t given a compelling reason to hang around. Over time they develop a feeling of apathy, as if the business doesn’t really care about them. 


When you send one-to-one, relationship driven, compelling marketing messages to your customers and ‘touch’ them 52 to 104 times per year, and then back that up with a consistent and positive in-dealership experience (greeting customers by name, etc.), you begin to create raving fans who share their experience online with reviews and offline with friends and family. 


The second group, or part of your buying base, are customers who ride what you sell, or a competitor’s product, live in your backyard, but have never done business with you. We call these conquest customers. 

These are the two ways you increase your customer retention and grow new market share.


Unfortunately, ad agencies, and many OEM’s don’t understand that dealerships have a limited budget to spend on marketing, and that limited budget must be spent in the most impactful and effective ways possible. Spending a significant portion of your limited budget going after minorities and non-riders is futile.  


My motive for creating awareness over this dangerous trend is not all self-serving. As a former Dealer Principal, I speak from experience. I wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on mass media trying to convert non-riders into riders. It was an expensive lesson and one that I’ll never forget. I’m in no way opposed to looking into the future and strategizing over the best methods for keeping our industry strong for decades to come, but not at the expense of what is best for feeding my family today. Enjoy the rest of this issue!


For more information on how Powersports Marketing can help you grow your buying base in 2016 contact us at 877-242-4472 or visit us online at




PSM Marketing

825 Highway 74 South
Peachtree City, GA 30269
Tel: (877) 242-4472
Int: (770) 692-1750
Text: (770) 692-1750