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Is direct marketing at charities a good idea?

Discussion in 'Inventory Software Support & Best Practices' started by Koton, Aug 29, 2017.

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  1. Koton

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    Hello Refreshers, I was wondering how well you guys have done with marketing at charity events. I was thinking of proposing to my boss that we put some money towards the St. Jude Walk against childhood cancer in our area, and get a couple demo cars out there and hand out business cards. Have you found this works at all for you in bringing in business?
     
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  3. Jeff Kershner

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    @Koton@Koton you need to be careful with being too salesy at Charity events. It tends to rub some people the wrong way. You may want to look into Charity-base marketing instead. Think ..Subaru.

    Maybe @Ryan Leslie@Ryan Leslie can chime in and offer some pointers.
     
  4. BenAdler

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    One dealer group in my area donates to two dozen charities, many of them local...

    CEO of the group, Andy Crews, is known in the community and is a past winner of the TIME Dealer of the Year Award.

    upload_2017-8-29_15-11-42.png
     
    #3 BenAdler, Aug 29, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
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  5. Ed Brooks

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    For many of my years at 'Big Orange' we sponsored charity golf outings for dealers with St. Jude's being the primary beneficiary. I've had the opportunity to tour the facility in Memphis twice and I've been blown away by the great work they do. @Koton@Koton , doing good in and for your community will raise awareness and good feelings for your brand... BUT don't expect sales as a direct result of your participation. It's a long term investment in community relations, not an advertisement per se.
    And It has the added benefit of doing some real good.
     
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  6. Koton

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    @Ed Brooks@Ed Brooks My main goal is actually helping the charity, but I am trying to think of the best way to pitch it to my GM and the Owner. I am actually on the committee for St. Jude walk in my area, and have been for the past year. I have only been at my job for a couple months and am now just comfortable suggesting it to them. Anybody have tips on how to go about it? Since my best thought was the demo cars and having both saying it may bring in sales as I said in my original post. I don't want to rub people the wrong way as Jeff said it might though.
     
  7. Ryan Leslie

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    I completely agree with Ed.

    I've given a lot of thought to this and had the opportunity to talk to some incredible people in our industry in preparation for a session at Digital Dealer next month. The title of the session is "The Case for a Cause." I'd love to meet any Refreshers that are going to be there. Here are a couple things to think through.

    Charitable giving and Cause marketing are not the same thing. It doesn't typically go well for the marketer when they confuse the two. The proposition of donating a little money so you can sling business cards is not going to generate the kind of ROI your dealer will be looking for if you pitch him on the idea that way. Ed's absolutely right, the chance of tying a car deal back to that expense is a long shot at best, but that doesn't mean that there is no ROI to be found with cause marketing. Have you considered sponsoring a team for the walk, buying some shirts, inviting your employees and customers to join you, offering a free shuttle to the starting point, maybe breakfast or lunch after with a bouncy house for the kids, using your social channels to promote that you are participating with the community before the event and showing all of the pictures afterwards? Those are just some ideas, but you see the difference I'm sure. Charitable giving is giving with no expectation; Cause marketing is an investment (See the next point on ROI.)

    Redefining ROI. Cause marketing requires a different investment and generates a different return. I could write you a novel on this bullet alone if I shared all of the stories I've heard of dealers doing great work investing in their communities. The investment in cause marketing is often checks, but it is ALWAYS checks and balances. You have to have a clear vision of why you are doing what you are doing, and you have to accept that selling a car today is not the primary return. Cause marketing is an internal and external community building effort. Don't miss the importance of "internal community building" as it relates to a changing employee mindset. That could be another novel.

    Be Passionate. Most dealers that pull back from cause marketing do so because they fear looking like they are just doing it to sell a car. It feels gimmicky. The dealers that I've talked to that see a monetary return on their efforts truly don't do it for that reason. It is an ancillary benefit. They align with causes because they are passionate about that cause and they are genuinely terrific people that have the ability to help and CHOOSE to do so. (See the quote from Socrates in my signature.)

    Last thoughts. I absolutely hope that you participate in some way in the St. Jude's walk, and I really hope I didn't discourage you @Koton@Koton . Those that know me here know that this cause is intensely personal to me. Pediatric cancer is a monster and it is going to take far more than the Federal government allocates to research to find a cure. I do hope you'll get involved in the fight. If I can help you in any way, please don't hesitate to reach out.
     
  8. Koton

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    @Ryan Leslie@Ryan Leslie Oh I am participating regardless, as I have been helping organize it over the past year in my area, even before started working at a dealership.

    I do appreciate your thought process behind this, I am just trying to think of the best way to present it to management. Part of me just wants to show them post from this thread and see what they say, haha. I am just unsure if many salespeople would give up a Saturday of selling to do the walk so we could make a team.
     
    #7 Koton, Aug 30, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  9. Ryan Leslie

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    @Koton@Koton, how did you get involved with St. Jude? What made you passionate enough about the cause to give your time to help organize the walk?
     
  10. Koton

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    @Ryan Leslie@Ryan Leslie My Fiance and I just like volunteering for good causes as a passion of ours. She works with kids in her line of work to get young children with autism ready to integrate into public schools, and heard about the walk.

    So last year we volunteered to help with setup online for their walk even though we hadn't met anybody. They were impressed with our work effort at showing up 4 am as and as we were leaving the lead person stopped us and said "you guys did more work setting up than most of our setup committee, thank you so much for showing up". About a week later she contacted us asking us to be on the general committee.

    P.S. Sorry if the quote sounds like bragging, haha. It was really nice of her to say, but I think she may have over-rated at least me. I was just setting up stuff heavy and technical stuff, while my Fiance was trying to help keep volunteers on task with their projects while doing her own which i think was more impressive..
     
    #9 Koton, Aug 30, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  11. Ryan Gerardi

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    @Jeff Kershner@Jeff Kershner brought up this thread in last week's Refresh Friday and we both agree there is more to discuss on the subject. Here is a link to the FB Live video - http://dlrfr.sh/2eq7tWC

    @Ryan Leslie@Ryan Leslie would you be able to join us this Friday to continue the conversation on Refresh Friday? I'm doing a podcast this week with Jeff Clark from DealerOn and we will be talking about their initiative with Dealers United using Cause Network Foundation.
     

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