[Looking into the way back machine....] I suppose we could have entitled this article with many other headline capturing epitaphs that would get your attention like: Businesses Drown; Sales Go Down The Drain For 2013; Market Uncertainties; Just Go Hang Yourself . . . . Well, it would be very easy to have titled this article many different ways, but all we’ll do is give you 10 things that you can do about a tough marketplace. Not all markets in the United States are on the decline. There are some that are on the upswing, especially those whose sales had declined in recent years – they are bouncing back faster.
In recent newsletters we’ve addressed why we’re in the decline we’re in. If we go way back in time, we could ourselves with 21, 22 percent interest rates. We don’t have those today. We were waiting in gas lines at one time; we don’t have that today. Unemployment in double digits doesn’t exist. We found our country, as former President Carter said, “in a malaise with Americans who don’t care”. We don’t have that today.
Americans do care. We now find ourselves in a period of the greatest world peace that we have seen in our lifetime. We don’t have the uncertainties of cold war and what’s going to happen in certain places around the globe and upping our defense spending. We could go on and on about the differences between now and ten years ago but the fact of the matter is things are very different and for the most part, positively so.
One of the biggest reasons people are not buying right at the moment is the long term financing that we got them into three, four, five years ago that has caused the average American to be in their car at 33 months and still be $2500 or more “upside down”. That’s almost criminal. As they approach the fourth year of paying off their car, they’re just starting to break even. As we talked about in one of our more recent newsletters, we do have to put an end to that. It’s ludicrous! Two or three year “no maintenance” leases are one answer to our current problems.
A Marketing Plan
There are many other ways to go for mid-term benefits but the subject of this article is to try to give you some points on how to make it through 2013. The following 10 points will help:
1. Cut through local advertising clutter creatively.
2. Better inventory and management.
3. Keep gimmicks to an absolute minimum.
4. Have you talked to your favorite niche today?
5. Study your past successes. Repeat when right.
6. Make sure every department is running to maximum efficiency, especially your fixed end and used car departments.
7. How’s your competition really doing? Understand them and their problems.
8. Don’t be afraid to go with something new and really different.
9. Leveraged? You’ve got a real problem.
10. Don’t panic. Get tougher and smarter.
Okay, there you have it. Ten ideas from an advertising and marketing point of view. Let’s discuss all ten. . . .
[Epilogue to this post: The original article, "Car Dealers Die" was written in 1990. Yes, 23 years ago! And it still holds true in many ways. We'll analyze it with commentary in a multi-part series.]