Sharon Silke Carty of USA Today wrote this interesting article on Orphan customers.
If they’re not on your mind they should be. Here’s an excerpt from her article.
Auto sales are expected to rise slightly in 2010, up to around 11 million, compared with fewer than 10 million sold in 2009. But dealers are still expected to close at a faster rate than usual, because GM isn’t done closing outlets.
GM is killing the Pontiac, Saab and Saturn brands. Its Hummer brand will likely be sold to a Chinese company. That leaves Pontiac, Saab and Saturn customers needing a new place to service their cars.
If GM can’t hang on to these customers, it risks losing sales to other brands.
“GM desperately needs those sales and that market share,” says Michelle Krebs, senior analyst and editor at consumer website Edmunds.com’s AutoObserver publication.
Whether your a GM dealer or not these customers are in play. Never before have we had so many orphan customers. Get your automotive ad agency on this right away.
Here are several ideas on how you can drive some of this traffic to your dealership!
1) Plan a monthly email to Saturn and Pontiac owners. It’s an inexpensive way to stay in front of these orphans. Remember, to be in the right place at the right time you have to be there all the time. These lists can now be filter to product specific owners.
2) Offer additional trade-in value to any Saturn or Pontiac customer. A special finance package is also a good idea.
3) On your blog you need to start talking about the challenges these owners will have and what their options are. Warranty work, trade value, lease returns etc.
4) Have a special invitation sale for Pontiac and Saturn owners. Offer an oil change as an event gift.
5) Place a generic post on Craig’s list offering additional trade-in value for Pontiac’s and Saturn’s.
6) Put a special button on your web site for information on what to do if you own a brand that has gone out of business. Have it linked to a special landing page that walks through the options these owners have.
7) Get your team together and build a plan of attack. Put your stake into the ground that this opportunity is important to you.
These orphan customers are great opportunity. Let me know any ideas you are trying or have tried.