The aftermarket is a golden opportunity for an innovative and disruptive dealer.

I remember the old days when I was either at my mother’s dealership or shopping with my grandparents and we were forced to drive to another dealership to ask for a part. Those were good times as they created face-time with large ag consumers who had to come into your dealership to do business. You don’t necessarily get these interactions in today’s world of online shopping.

We are losing the aftermarket customers due to smartphones. It’s that simple. These days, it is all about instant gratification for the consumer. Even the manufacturer portals that are “coming to the rescue” don’t realize their platforms don’t work in a smartphone environment. They only work on the desktop. That’s too bad since 80% of all “manufacturer parts” searches occur on smartphones. The consumers are in the field looking at the problem. They are not going to pull out their laptop or wait to get home to look it up. Instead, they expect instant gratification — like scanning the part number they need on an e-commerce site and having the part delivered to them.

So, how do we fix this and get them in the door of your dealership? Do you all build e-commerce sites and hire staff to carry out the execution of an “Amazon”-style delivery ecosystem? I don’t believe we have the capital to do that with our current economic conditions.

You heard it right — I, a tech disruptor, am asking you to hold off on e-commerce sites. Why? The manufacturer will figure it out, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. But the manufacturer needs to reach out to people, like us, who understand the importance and the absolute dire need for smartphone readiness.

In the equipment industry, we know that the aftermarket game is a game of decay. Starting when a piece of equipment is no longer under warranty, and continuing  to when it is 10-20 years old, equipment dealers may no longer see those customers because they choose to order their parts online and fix their equipment themselves. However, we also know this is a multi-billion dollar industry ready for the taking.

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In June 2019, we asked 21 dealers questions on how they achieve success in the aftermarket arena. To our surprise, they didn’t really have a strategy.

That’s why we decided to invent “Retention Ramp” and provide a mapped-out plan for equipment dealers to target the aftermarket potential.

Approximately 95% of our respondents said the aftermarket is an important sector of their business goals and yet the feedback we received was most of them use “direct mail.”

Direct mail is not your only vehicle for targeting your customers. It is just one tool in your toolbox.

You, the dealer, have so much valuable data that you don’t even realize you have. The same systems that have been in your service, parts and sales departments have been collecting information for years. That information is not irrelevant. Do not throw away the databases that are over 5-years-old because you want to delete old files. Those files are the most important.

Here is why your first-party data is important.

What if I told you that your first-party data with physical addresses can serve more than just delivering a piece of direct mail to the consumer?

Our goal here is simple: to communicate with video and animated display graphics inside of the consumers’ homes that your products are most likely cheaper than Amazon and/or other aftermarket e-commerce sites. Let me introduce you to Retention Ramp.

Within Retention Ramp is an opportunity to leverage personalization. Let’s say some of your consumers have a 2-5 year old piece of equipment. With Retention Ramp, you have the ability to target only those people with display, video, social media and email marketing campaigns. If they have owned a piece of equipment for 10-20 years, only those people will see a different message through your display, video, social media and email marketing campaigns.

Think of this as drip marketing, a term you may have already heard.

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Established in 2010, Team SI is a data-driven marketing firm where designers, strategists, and data specialists create unique customer experiences for clients using digital and social media platforms. Team SI developed its own proprietary system called Doppio, which pairs the most sophisticated, aggregated and automated data-analytics platforms available with the insights and instincts of its certified professional staff to optimize campaign effectiveness. They're best known for coining the term "TraDigital": the art of blending traditional and digital marketing. Learn more…

By providing these meaningful and personalized experiences, both offline and online, you can maximize customer lifetime value, procure new business through referrals and boost customer retention. Just like you target people for new equipment sales, you can implement a similar strategy with your current customers. To do this, you have to know and understand the relationship between customer behavior and data mining. Without the ability to properly extract and process information, the ability to understand customer behavior will be flawed online. It is all about hitting the right people at the right time using the right frequency. Not everyone needs to see the same message about your equipment, especially in the aftermarket world.

Retention Ramp gives your dealership a way to communicate to the end user the ways you are different from your competitors, Amazon and other e-commerce sites. It also gives you the ability to talk about your service technicians who can come to them. Most of them don’t know you offer this service. In a research study, less than 30% of the people who have a piece of equipment older than 10 years had no idea you can service them in the field. Think about the opportunity that equates in profit.

Sometimes being a disruptor and an inventor does not mean that you offer something that costs more than what was previously used. It usually means the direct opposite.