Archive for January, 2012

When was the last time you had taken advantage of Direct Mail or did you kick it to the curb like a one night stand? Direct Mail is NOT DEAD it’s just not taken in the proper advantage for the best results.

I always observe my mail within my mailbox and the only direct mails from dealerships are for service. Service this and service that but what really turns me off is the unattractiveness & plainness of the mail piece. I am 32 years old, conservative but also am a wife & mother of 2. Why in the world do I just want a mail piece that is black, blue and white?

With this in mind to answer the question above you will see my point from this article. There are many insights on how you can approach Direct Mail and properly market it to your existing or future customers THE RIGHT WAY!

You are an Automotive Dealership with a DMS / CRM that holds all the valuable information you need. Why not take advantage of every piece of data? IT’S THE GOLDEN KEY to your business!  Within that system you have a large range of information to help you take your first step into creating and distributing Direct Mail to the right crowd the right way!

What information does your DMS / CRM hold?

  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle Purchased
  • Vehicle Traded In
  • Service Records
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Etc

*If your business doesn’t update your DMS / CRM, Hire someone to help you keep it maintained & data updated. Accurate data helps a business succeed in marketing!

AGE & GENDER are very important to the list above. Why? The reason why is that age ranges & gender can tell a lot about that specific individual. Hip, Conservative, Traditional, Family, Professional, Business Owner & the list goes on. Every individual is different however you can break it down by category.

A woman wouldn’t want black, red and white colors however what would be more appealing to them is more neutral colors & if they were 20-30 years old they would be more apt to view the Direct Mail piece if it had more pinks, yellows or even pastel colors. Men in their 20-30’s would be more apt to view the Direct Mail piece if it was Black, Red, Green & or blue. I think you get my point.

By looking deeply into this data you can go off on searching for a Direct Mail Company. Once you compile a list of companies you can start by asking them these very important questions!

  • How do you retrieve the data? (Always read the fine print!) Make sure your data is secured and will not be distributed to any of your competitors.
  • Do they look at the data we discussed at the beginning of this article? This is a good question to be asking them during the demo of which data is being pulled! If they just talk about the name and address you may want to research a few more companies. Never go with the first one and if it is “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE”….. Then it’s not the right company to go with!  Lots of false promises. Just drill them with questions and get a list of testimonials so you can reach out to them directly. Not just the testimonials get a good list of about 25. Yes 25 seems like a lot however you want to ensure your marketing dollars goes to making a profit.
  • How do they target the customers? Many Direct Mail Companies just go off the list by Name & Address! Be careful as you are basically throwing money out the door. Anyone can go off a list that has a name & address! During demos you can tell when they research further into the data and go off the actual customer’s data in depth. Targeting is a great way for business success.  I wouldn’t send a Happy Birthday Card to a Funeral…. (RIP DIRECT MAIL) If there is a more upper class neighborhood you would want to stick with something more eloquent. This goes into my next bullet point.
  • Do all the Direct Mail Pieces look the same? Big NO NO! This is where you get shot in the foot and your precious Direct Mail Piece gets tossed in the big bin “THE TRASH CAN”…! Having the same plane old Direct Mail Piece sent out each and every time let alone being sent to the wrong crowd can again be tossed in “THE TRASH CAN”..!
  • Does the Direct Mail have personal written notes? *Companies can take your actual handwriting and print it on the card) Taking this step, as it may cost just a bit more, can show the customers you had taken the time to personally write up a message for them! Handwritten cards & letters seem to have alleviated over the course of years as the wild Internet, Email & Social Media has taken over.  
  • Do they keep track of the returned Direct Mail or do you? If you do please be sure to have someone within your organization to update the addresses within your DMS / CRM data base. It’s no good if you don’t keep it updated.  Reach out to your BDC Department with the list of returns and call the contact numbers to correct the incorrect mailing address.
  • Do they blast the entire list all at once or certain groups at a time? The reason I mention this is I have seen many dealership blast an entire data base with direct mail which flooded the service department causing angered customers & walk outs. Always be sure to do about 50-100 at a time to help alleviate the tension within the service department. Taking this step will help with the Service Manager & their team to ensure the best service visit experience.   Having a great customer service experience helps with your CSI scores!
  • Do they offer you a list of which customers the Direct Mail pieces were sent too? This is always good no matter if you have the data at your fingertips but having a small list of each group they send it too can be very helpful for you as a manager / business owner or your Service Manager. Keeping track of that data can be beneficial to see if the Direct Mail Company is worth the cost.

Finding a company that can work with data to help target your marketing efforts by Direct Mail is a chore however it will be worth every penny spent!

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only: Jennifer Schrader


Are you currently seeking employment or plan on doing so in the future? Many of us don’t realize the education a job seeker needs to ensure they are going to land a secure job let alone landing a Bad Boss! You will find some tall tale signs of reading your future boss and how they are going to be if you get the job.

Preparing yourself beforehand can help you achieve a solid career or employment. Bad Boss’s are a nightmare within its own category!

You get the call from the company you have had your hopes up for! You go through the routine of fantasizing how the work place is, putting your game face on, pulling out the finest clothes, double checking your resume for any grammatical errors! YOU’RE READY TO WIN THIS INTERVIEW…..! Until you walk out that door!

But……………! Take a moment and review the 5 Tall Tale Signs of a Bad Boss!

EYE CONTACT: Hello I am over here! This reminds me of speaking with a child and trying to get them to lock eyes with you so you can explain something to them. Having eye contact ensures that the child got the point when told or explained the first time.  Having an adult not make eye contact creates a non-interest in his position, insecure of his/her position, lack of confidence or guilty. You need to ask yourself “If my future employer can’t make eye contact how does his client(s) react to this?” This Tall Tale sign is a red flag for when an issue happens, someone will be hiding in that office and it surely is not going to be you!

FIRE HAPPY: Uh…. Interview please! If the interviewer is Fire Happy this is a major warning sign of how he/she is going to talk about you. I personally experienced this myself.  I walk into the interview and everything is going well, too darn well however I should have noticed the warning sign of the individual getting amped up about “Firing this person” “Firing that person”………! This person was not shy about diminishing their character. I soon realized that anger can take over someone’s judgment; this is why these unfortunate characters including myself, fell victim to a Fire Happy Boss! If they are proud to shout about it, you are not clarified as a value to the company!

DESK EXPLOSION: Is there a body in there? Remember the saying “A first impression is always the best impression”. Yes I know that bosses get busy and caught up with so many things causing an unorganized desk and/or office. If you watch your boss getting caught up with the paperwork on this desk, can’t find anything which causes frustration…. Think “If I need something how will they find it?” This is very scary! Just imagine you sending in a vacation request and it was lost in the pile? Guess you will have to work through your vacation!

PROCRASTINATOR: This was to be done a week ago! I highly doubt you are going to be able to get the honest answer from the interviewer / owner to give you the answer however you can do this: call any of their existing clients and just tell them you are searching the company & you would like to discuss further on their current customer service experience. If they have negative feedback, something can be seriously wrong internally that you may not want to get involved with.  If you constantly hear them say “They always say it will get done but never does”, “We’ve been waiting for weeks”, “There are still a bunch of glitches”, “They never answer their phone”, “Over promised under delivered” etc.  If you have a company that cannot keep up with the clients’ needs, technical issues and such; why in the world would you want to push that product on to future clients or even your clients that follow you? YIKES….! Bad Boss’s love to procrastinate over their company to make it look good, which is how they get their hooks into you! Pushing a bad product is pushing a bad business.

CLIENTS! CLIENTS! Are you done asking? If you repeatedly hear from the interviewer, future boss or manager constantly ask you about your clients…… BEWARE! This is a major red flag! They are more interested in getting their hot fingers on your client list and your contacts. Be cautious on uploading your information as these are clients you worked hard on to build relationships with for your future growth. You know them better than anyone else and you know when to approach them with the product if you take on the position you are interviewing for.  I consider this “Old dogs up to their old tricks again!” I still see this happen more than I would like to see.  For instance I was on an interview with a very well known company recently, once we get further into the call they started getting in their comfort zone and started asking me several times of my connections within the auto industry & dealer groups. After the 3rd time, I had to get them back on track of my experience and what I can do for them. It never stopped! Just be careful on supplying your customer relationships from the past into future employments as this can place you in a tuff spot when choosing your clients best interest over your Bad Boss’s Bad Habits!

I surely hoped you can take these Tall Tale Signs for Bad Boss’s to your advantage. All that is listed above is from past personal experiences.  Be sure you are educated before you educate them!

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only: Jennifer Schrader

Everywhere we look online we see websites. Full of colors, different varieties of products & information; which can be comparable to 52 Card Pick Up. Too many choices & all of them are waiting for you to click on them. But how do you make the most out of your website and make it work for your personal self or business?

Looking at your website each and every day can be an issue from the start. You know what it looks like and you can be overlooking simple things that you may not be aware of.  Reaching out to friends, family & co-workers can be a benefit to your marketing efforts online. Having an outside view can help with catching spelling errors, lack of information, confusing layout & much more. Don’t be offended by their critical feedback as some can’t handle it very well.  Yes we all know that you worked hard on setting the website up and it is your pride & joy however you can only be looking at the benefits of yourself without the consumer in mind.

The consumer is your main target, you want to provide them with the utmost information, content & have what they are looking for. Here are some questions you will want to ask yourself when reviewing your website.

Why buy from me? Do you have content that offers the reason why they should buy from you? Consumers are interested in learning about you & your business offerings.  It’s human nature. The more the consumer knows of you & about you; the more likely they are going to purchase from you!

Creative colors; are you matching what your wearing? Maybe your business is all about “Going Green” or “Nature Preserves”; would you have Yellow & Red colors dressed up on your website? The consumer will get scared as they are expecting Green, Neutral & Warm Colors not a Fast Food Restaurant. Being relevant with colors to your business will help the consumer be more inclined to view further into your website and not close out the window to move on to another website.

What deals do you have? Depending on your business structure you may provide discounts, special offers and such but where are they? As this is a common mistake for many companies marketing online is not having any offerings posted on their website. Consumers are coming to you for a deal, why isn’t there any around?

Providing your phone number as the largest text item on your header, footer and throughout each and every page can also be a benefit to your consumer for a quick reach of contact to you and your business.  Consumers are different when it comes to online shopping or researching product & having that contact number at their fingertips will be more inclined to reach out to you.

Having quick response time is very helpful for many online consumers. Answering their request via phone or email will show the consumer your credibility and your business is at full attention to their wants and needs. Ensure your contact forms and email are being forwarded to your cell phone as you then can monitor the incoming leads or contact us forms.  Consumers get excited by your quick action. Remember it’s your business and they are the consumer.

Be educational! As mentioned earlier that consumers want to learn and know more about you. By educating them of your process & how you do it they are more inclined to take on your services. Body shops are a great example; consumers will drop their vehicle off to get repaired then return to their vehicle and it looks like brand new! What happens during that process and how did they make it that way? Having photos of before, during & after are a great piece of education for the consumer on what actually goes on behind those doors at the paint booth. Giving them the information on what particular paints are used, tools, processes etc can create a great educational tool for the consumers.

Can they find you? By creating rich content & proper keywords for your website will help with search results within the search engines and help your Search Engine Optimization.  By having the proper keywords that are relevant to your business & products will help you be more recognized to Search Engines.  If you are a flower shop within a specific town you want to use terms that are relevant to your product and location.  You would not want to have the keyword “Tire Repair” for your “Glass Repair” shop.  The content would then be irrelevant and wouldn’t make sense to the consumer and of course the Search Engines.  Having an “About Us” page you want to ensure that all the content is about you or your business along with Service Specials you want to ensure also that the content matches to that specific page.

With these tools in mind, take a step back to review the results and take all and any feedback as a compliment to help you achieve your goals and that is Your Business and the Consumer.

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only. Jennifer Schrader

(231) 360-0730