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Wasting Marketing Dollars or Maybe it is Just Me

I am writing this article in the third quarter of 2013.  Last week I received a poster sized mailer (24”X34”) from a used car dealer in El Cajon.  They are advertising an “offsite tent event” in Oceanside where we live.  As I write this, I see the event was this past weekend.  To top that, the advertisement included a “key” to unlock a used 2008 BMW.  It was offered as their first prize.

Everyone gets rid of a used car for a reason.  I have had many cars over the years (last count was 19.)  I never got rid of a car because “It was too good.”  The 2014 cars are being offered currently, so this 2008 BMW is six years old.  Sure, they are marketing to the “used car market,” so those in the market for a used car would agree that they have met one of the criteria in Marketing 101, market to your target.

One of the glaring mistakes is that this is a dealer that is off my radar. Marketing 101 teaches us that we need to have six to eight repeats with an advertising campaign before consumers will buy. This company is 47 miles from Oceanside.  Truth be told that in May of 2013, we bought a new car in Irvine, which is 44 miles from Oceanside.  However, it was the make, color, and model we could only get at that dealer at that time.  With the advent of the Internet more people are buying (or make selections) electronically.  Now, if I were looking for a used 2008 BMW, the first place I would go is the Internet.  There I can check private sellers as well as dealers.  Maybe I am different.

My point is that if you are going to use direct mail, offer me something new that I can use, like an I- Pad.  The good news is the used car dealer did that.  They did offer:

  • $500 per week Scratcher Card for life
  • 65” Flat Screen TV
  • $2500 Wal-Mart Gift Card

What was interesting about the new offers was that, rather than make it their lead, they placed them at the bottom of the page.  As you opened the flyer there are pictures of other used cars for sale, the dates/times for viewing, even a credit application offering to win $50,000 in cash.  You had to be present to win. The drawings were held at 6:00 PM every day.  I wonder how many people showed up at 6:00 PM every day.

Also inside the flyer was an offer for $100 Wal-Mart gift card for a test drive. Now I can see $100 Wal-Mart gift card attracting used car buyers.  It should have been part of the lead on the front cover of the flyer.

In addition, there were separate pictures of 40 different cars.  Some had prices that ranged from $4,000 to $16,000 and some said, “CALL FOR PRICING.”  Now if a buyer was actually interested in one of the pictured cars, I can see how saying “CALL FOR PRICING” could create a lead.  I wonder how many used car buyers would pick up the phone to call from an advertisement they received in the mail.

I feel like Andy Rooney when he was the critic on CBS’s 60 Minutes.  Who am I to critique a marketing piece that must have cost five to six figures to make and mail?  The answer is simple.  My goal in writing this is to emphasize some of the mistakes I see clients make when doing direct mail/marketing campaigns:

  • Be sure your marketing pieces are designed for your market match
  • Use the least expensive/most effective medium to market (Internet, direct mail)
  • Avoid the fluff, bigger is not better (too many car pictures, 24”x34” first time flyer)
  • Lead with the offer that is going to get your market match to your door. Offering $100 for a test drive is a very inexpensive way to get people to stop by.

Gerry Rose runs INTEGRITY Networking Solutions in Oceanside, CA.  He works with people in business who want to attract the right prospects and generate more referrals.  More than 10,000 businesses have been presented the INTEGRITY Networking Solutions system in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties.

Gerry’s stimulating presentation Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals is ideally suited for small business owners, home-based businesses, and independent professionals who want clearer direction and want to attract more prospects, develop dynamic systems, and strengthen their companies’ accountability.  Gerry does one on one consulting, conducts a range of keynote speeches from thirty minutes to full-day education workshops.  His book series, Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, are available on the website,

Gerry has more than 20 years’ experience directing business owners how to grow their businesses.  He is a networking dynamo.  Those who know him will assure you that he does a great job of bringing people together—which is why he started INTEGRITY.

Involved with networking organizations since 1984, Gerry is a Distinguished Toastmaster, a member of Toastmaster International, and has chaired numerous chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations.

Are you truly committed to attracting the right prospects and generate more referrals?  If so then contact INTEGRITY Networking Solutions for availability and information.  You can contact Gerry by mail at 1610 Quiet Hills Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056.  Direct dial (760) 439-4623; e-mail to  For more information, go to


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