The automotive industry, according to Peter Mandelson, is “in the frontline of the economic downturn” having fallen “faster and further than any other sector since the summer.”
The media doesn’t help, playing up every market downturn and spewing continual negativity and uncertainty into the collective consciousness just to fill airtime. Uncertainty delays decisions and creates confusion around business.
However, research shows that businesses that are pro-active and continue to advertise and increase their market share reap the rewards when the market bounces back.
McGraw- Hill research, analysing 600 companies between 1980-85, found that after the ’81-’82 recession, companies that had kept advertising saw sales rise 256% over those who had not.
My own experience is backing this up with many of our customers reporting record sales months. G-Forces have many delighted Directors and Dealer Principles enthusing about the Christmas period and the start to 2009.
This is national, too: a well-known Scottish dealer recording their best Christmas ever, a Midlands-based car supermarket breaking all-time sales records and many of our South East clients amazed by how good business is.
So what differentiates them from their competitors and is responsible for such stellar performance in this economy? To my mind it’s their attitude and the way they run their companies. It’s no coincidence that G-Forces is employed by some of the most forward-thinking and progressive main dealers in the UK. It’s this attitude, combined with their belief in embracing every sales and marketing avenue available and delivering premium service levels to customers that continually drives innovation throughout their businesses.
Peter Vardy views his website as his fifth dealership. This philosophy has meant a commitment to building a quality service around the internet.
His internet team are very knowledgeable about the website, monitor everything and are proactive in improving their web presence. They treat their website as a critical part of their marketing armoury by complementing print and other offline marketing with their online activities. The internet means they can counteract a diminishing local market by reaching further afield.
Advertising Age recently stated that “recessions offer unprecedented opportunities to market in an environment of relatively less noise as others around you are cutting back”. Whilst risk is ever apparent in business and spending on marketing is the last thing most businesses want to do right now, if you aren’t moving forward, you’re sinking.
Markets expand and contract over time for many reasons; be they economic, political, social or technological. The Automotive industry is currently contracting yet everybody I talk to is looking past the recession to brighter times ahead. This demonstrates belief in the long-term viability of the automotive market from business owners.
Logic dictates that if you don’t believe you can make money out of it, you’ll exit the market and go and sell something else… like websites, iphones or wind turbines. Establish a commitment to the market then back it up. Generate sales, continue to improve your business and gain market share. This means performing the same basic business functions even though times are tougher. If you don’t someone else will.