The Scope: Marketing At Work: Local Toyota Dealership

bijoy - June 24, 2013

marketing at work local toyota dealership

Today’s featured business: Local Toyota Dealership

The last blog post I wrote was very much focused on a large, nationally recognized brand. However, in this post I’d like to shift my attention to a more localized business. Yes, it carries the brand name of Toyota, but this particular dealership would certainly be considered a small business, trying to make it just like anyone else.

The Mystery Envelope

A few days ago I received an envelope in the mail. It was 5×7 envelope with no return address on it—just the address to my office. Now, I’d like to add that the person it was addressed to was a previous tenant of this office space, so technically it wasn’t addressed to me or my company. However, that’s a whole different discussion.

Nonetheless, I opened the card, and found a postcard with this specific Toyota dealership’s name on it and a short, hand-written note expressing interest in buying my 2007 Toyota 4Runner. It also mentioned that they had an aggressive offer for me, that no purchase was necessary and that I should contact them. It was signed by one of the agents with a phone number.

What Worked?

A couple of things: First of all, I don’t own (nor have I ever owned) a 2007 Toyota 4Runner, so clearly I wasn’t the intended recipient. Secondly, the data they were using to create this postcard was not updated. However, in spite of the shortcomings, what I liked about it was its simplicity in presentation, the urgency of the text and the handwritten font style that made it more personal. Also, the fact that the envelope itself offered no indication of who was sending me this and what I could expect created a curiosity that ultimately led to me opening it.

Unrealized Potential

I will never discount the effectiveness of traditional marketing like direct mail, but in this day and age, that traditional channel needs to utilize some digital integration. A personalized URL or custom phone number, for example, could help enhance this piece for better conversion tracking and lead generation. Also, this direct mailer should be the first step in capturing some contact information for a deeper content strategy. Once you have someone even remotely interested in what you have to say, find new ways to continue to engage them with quality content like videos, downloads and email newsletters.


Direct mail is not necessarily a dying art, but it is one that needs to be modified to stay relevant in a digital age. Your direct mail concept should function as a platform to ultimately migrate the recipient toward interacting with your brand online. Let the direct mail piece be a catalyst that opens the door for a deeper relationship. Without an ability to track, measure or convert, your direct mail strategy doesn’t live up to its full potential. And of course, regularly refine and clean up your data. You’re wasting money if you’re sending information to the wrong person—even if they do open the envelope.  

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