Like many small, hometown dealerships Matt Saxe Chevrolet in Belle Plaine, MN, he has a wall dedicated to the pictures of the dealership over the last century! I love looking back at the old pictures, seeing how the towns have changed, the people in the pictures, the pride of the local car dealer... but one picture in particular caught my eye. The date on the picture was August 1959. It showed the dealership proudly displaying 8 beautiful Chevrolets outside and a large sign that said Inventory Clearance Event!
Here we are 50 plus year later and we still use the same marketing. Sure, the inventory for most of these dealers would be 10 times that amount now and this “event” would have also feature, TV, Radio internet and a direct marketing campaign, but all that said, we are still putting a simply putting up an “Inventory Clearance Event” sign and hoping our customers stop long enough to see it.
I am not suggesting that these campaigns do not have their place; there has to be a reason we have been running this same campaign in August for over 50 years! That said, I believe that these messages merely “interrupt” the consumer as opposed to creating a dialog. When that picture was taken in 1959 the Keup Brothers were running the dealership and the entire town (as well as the small towns around it) considered that dealership to be “their dealership” and they likely considered the town to be “their customers.” Now, we must earn that right, we must communicate to our customers and we must do it in a meaningful way, a way that holds the customers interest equal to our own - The right message, at the right time, with the right media (or media’s).