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PERSONAL bests

June 2005
Jay Pontiac-Buick—Dealership Service Offers

[The Business Objective]

Jay Pontiac-Buick is an automobile dealership located on the Bedford AutoMile in Bedford, OH. They have been serving the community for more than 45 years.

Ron Richnavsky, service manager at Jay Pontiac-Buick, considers himself very aggressive in the promotion of his business. For years he had been investing in direct marketing and personalized mailing activities with a specific vendor. His vendor spoke about personalization, but failed to deliver any but the most basic levels of direct marketing activity.

Prompt Recovery is a variable data and one-to-one marketing firm—specializing in design, printing, data management and consulting services—that has served the automotive dealership community for more than 10 years.

When Jeff Scott, CIO of Prompt Recovery (known at the time as CAResources), called on Richnavsky to pitch his company's approach, Richnavsky challenged Prompt Recovery to do a better job of meeting his needs than his existing supplier. He told Scott, "If you can deliver on the needs I outline for you, the contract is yours."

Working from this challenge, Prompt Recovery devised a program to use the information the dealership has concerning customer vehicle, repair history, driving habits and time or mileage lapses between visits, to convey a customized message to each vehicle owner recommending specific services their cars need.

[The Proposed Solution]

The decision was made to focus on owners of GM vehicles with model years of 1993 or newer, and to target vehicle owners who are current customers of the dealership that had been in at least once for "customer pay" (non-warranty) service. To reach this audience, personalized mailers were planned to remind customers when service was needed and to provide them with special offers on selected services.

Based on prior experience with automotive dealerships, the Prompt Recovery team pitched a concept that would allow the service manager to:

* Improve data management.

* Develop very specific targeting of promotions.

* Generate higher response rates to promotions.

* Lower costs by very targeted promotional activity.

* Track utilization of promotion materials (specifically coupons).

[How it Was Done]

Within the first week after the pitch, the Prompt Recovery staff went through an analysis that laid the foundation for the campaign. Extracting customer and vehicle histories from the Jay service database allowed them to create their own data structures for reporting and analysis. These data structures would provide business intelligence for the dealership, but would also be the input for rule-driven personalization of mailing pieces.
 

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