Even those who think marketing is taking a trip to the grocery store couldn't miss this opportunity. Well, maybe they could, so that's why I'm writing this editorial.
The opportunity that I'm referring to is an article in the October issue of Consumer Reports that can be used as a marketing tool to support your sales efforts.
What is a ready-made advertisement for your purposes comes from one of America's most credible magazines. The content in this article will not be questioned. It will be taken as gospel. The magazine was founded on and continues to practice objectivity. They have no axes to grind, no agendas to push. They don't accept advertising or take money from lobbyists. They buy all of the products they test rather than accept the car manufacturers' "press vehicles" that are carefully screened for bugs, rattles and other annoying imperfections.
This long-winded explanation of Consumer Reports may sound like some sort of advertisement itself. Sorry if it did, but I just want to drive home the significance of the source in this age of blogs and renegade reporting.
Back to the article and the opportunity. In short, it says that if motorists keep their vehicles for 200,000 miles or more, they literally will save thousands of dollars by doing so. And, if they take the money they save and invest it, all the better.
Consumer Reports bases its report on a survey in which almost 7,000 motorists driving vehicles with 200,000 miles or more responded. To arrive at their conclusions, the editors calculated all of the major costs of owning a vehicle ranging from purchase price to insurance coverage over a 15-year period against the same costs for purchasing the same model every five years.
This report takes on even more importance in light of the subprime housing debacle. Lending institutions have tightened their criteria for loans of all kinds, including vehicle loans. In many cases, subprime vehicle buyers are faced with significantly higher interest rates. So those who can least afford a vehicle will be charged more, making the likelihood of them buying even more remote. Faced with these types of odds, motorists are likely to hold on to their present vehicles, especially if given a little factual encouragement. The good news, of course, is that motorists will save money.
And not to sound insensitive or selfish, but the aftermarket also will benefit from them holding on to their vehicles.
While we're on the subject of keeping motorists in their present vehicles, I would be remiss not to point out that you have another sensible solution to offer your customers. If they are going to buy a vehicle, encourage them to buy a certified used vehicle rather than a new one. They'll get a good vehicle — which will wind up in the aftermarket a lot sooner.
So get a copy of the Consumer Reports article and post it in your store, pass it on to your professional customers and encourage them to post it, and run a direct mail program with the 200,000-mile message.
Above all, review this article with your employees and make sure they mention it to all customers. You'll be doing your customers and yourself a favor.
Larry Silvey, Editor-in-Chief/Group Editorial Director [email protected]