Who is your typical customer? Do you know? Grab a piece of paper and write down the answers to the following questions about your “typical” customer. What is their gender? What is their average age? What is their favorite radio station?

Got it? Now, next to that I want you to write your gender, your age and your favorite radio station. Do the two look anything alike? If you are like most owners or managers, your typical customer is simply a reflection of you! The same is true if you were to ask any other employee in your dealership to describe the typical customer; most likely you will get a description of that employee.

You might be thinking, “As long as my customer gets great service, what does it matter that we have the correct view of who our typical customer is?”

It does matter! And as you probably know, here at BCI, we like to measure everything by numbers -- so, let’s do that. Our rule of thumb is this:
• 5% of your projected gross revenue should go toward marketing if you have been in business for 5 years or less.
• 3% of your gross revenue should go toward marketing if you have been in business for 5 years or more.
(It’s also important to note, our goal is to get half of the marketing budget co-oped. You should reach out to your manufacturer’s rep to find out what is available. For those in BCI’s Dealer Success Groups ©, your BCI Advisor can provide direction and guidance regarding where you might best use your marketing funds.)

As an example, if you have been in business for over five years and produced $1,000,000 of gross revenue, you would set aside $30,000 for marketing or roughly what an entry level employee would cost you. Is your marketing producing enough impact to justify it as an employee?

Recently, we visited with a dealer who mentioned that he had been doing ads on the local country station. But, upon realizing that his typical customer didn’t listen to the country station, he changed where he was spending his money and saw a substantial increase in sales.

How do you determine who your typical customer is? Well, it’s easier than you think. Next to your point of sale, simply have a sheet where your employees can write down key information such as the customers gender, age (over 40 or under 40) and their favorite radio station. That’s it. You might want to ask a few different questions to help narrow in on where you might best market such as, “Do you subscribe / read the local paper?” or “How often do you drive down Highway 71?” Find out where they spend their time and what they are interested in. Once you understand who your customer is, you can start doing a better job marketing to them.

Understanding your typical customer gives you confirmation that your marketing budget is going where it should go, but also allows you to serve your customers all the better!

Sara Hey

About Sara Hey

Sara Hey is the Vice President of Operations and Development for Bob Clements International. She has spoken at conferences across the country educating dealers on the internal aspects of their business. She graduated from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois, and has been a contributing writer for BCI for 3 years.