Suzuki Extends Digital-Only Effort to Drive Leads to Dealerships

Suzuki is combining a big digital spend with a $1,000 coupon to clear out inventory at its dealerships nationwide. Since February 15, the brand has been running a bevy of banner placements and sprinkling in Google and Facebook ads to sell pre-2011 motorcycle stock. The campaign – consisting of no TV, radio, or print buys – was originally supposed to end on March 31, but it’s been prolonged through May 31.

“The initial results went beyond our expectations, which is why we decided to extend the program,” Steve Bortolamedi, a Suzuki spokesperson, told ClickZ. “[We are] dedicated to driving customers to our retail dealerships by having them actually print out the $1,000 off coupon.”

suzukibodyimageJohn Howell, account director at Questus, Suzuki’s digital agency in San Francisco, characterized the media plan’s budget as significant for the brand. “The actual sales figures we’ve seen across dealerships nationwide have been great,” he said. “Their inventory counts have quickly dropped because of this offer.”

Display ads for the coupon have been appearing on various kinds of consumer sites, with an emphasis on motorcycle-themed publications. They’ve included CycleNews.com, CycleWorld.com, RacerXOnline.com, RoadracingWorld.com, and MotorCycleUSA.com.

“We’ve had a big retargeting effort behind this one,” Howell said. “We have been tracking people who have seen this ad and retargeting them across the web…. We basically blanketed the ‘power sports’ market with digital advertising.”

His team’s efforts have entailed both contextual and search ads via Google’s platform. Some of the search terms purchased are “motorcycles,” “2010 motorcycles,” “inexpensive motorcycles,” “cheap motorcycles,” “Suzuki,” and “motorcycle credit.” In concerns to the last example, the campaign’s offer includes a 1.99 annual percentage rate for financing. Howell and his marketing team are employing copy about the coupon and credit on Google and Facebook, as well as house ads on Suzukicycles.com and the aforementioned banners.

suzukiFor Facebook, the marketing team performed an A/B split test on creative at the campaign’s onset before quickly deciding on a winning ad (see image above). The paid promos have been broadly targeted on the social site, the account director said.

Suzuki has been building a digital marketing culture for the last several years, Howell explained. He addressed the challenges of orchestrating national campaigns that actually drive sales leads into dealerships. Automotive companies like Suzuki must create marketing strategies that simultaneously consider the national brand image, regional directors, and individual dealers.

For Suzuki, the $1,000 offer marks the first time the brand has tested a cash discount online. Its motorcycles typically retail between $7,000 and $15,000.

“Outside of promotions that appeared within the dealerships, everything has been done digitally,” Howell said. “Now we really have metrics that show if you have good creative, a good offer, and a big media buy behind it, you can actually move the needle.”

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