El Campo Cycle Center has been a premier motorcycle and ATV retailer in South Texas for 50 years.
By the mid-2010s, El Campo Cycle Center began to notice that their traditional marketing tactics were losing effectiveness. Sales were waning while newer competitor dealers were emerging and carving out their piece of the regional market share.
It was also becoming apparent that their target audiences were no longer primarily consuming traditional media (i.e. cable television, print publications, radio broadcasts), and as a result, were growing less exposed to ECC’s marketing efforts.
With other Powersports retailers in the area threatening to increase their market-share, ECC recognized early on that they needed to radically alter their approach to marketing if they were to remain the leading South Texas motorcycle and ATV retailer.
A Multifaceted Solution
El Campo Cycle Center partnered with the local marketing experts at ThriveFuel in order to assess and revitalize their marketing strategy. An approach that would place primary emphasis on digital tactics.
- The starting point for ThriveFuel was to assess the state of the El Campo Cycle Center website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
- An initial SEO audit revealed that ECC’s website was lacking any significant market advantage.
- Many critical, most-searched keywords and tags were missing.
- Realizing this foundational crutch, ThriveFuel quickly worked with El Campo Cycle Center to edit their website content to include the many relevant and crucial SEO keywords, which would significantly improve ECC’s website organic search engine rankings.
- ThriveFuel also began to repurpose ECC’s traditional television ad spots for digital media deliveries, such as targeted pre-roll, over-the-top media (OTT) and YouTube.
- Together, El Campo Cycle Center and ThriveFuel compiled an email database of ECC’s customers and utilized that list to build out an on-going email marketing campaign, a tactic meant to not only keep their customers informed of sales and promotional events but to also foster continued after-the-sale engagement between ECC and their consumers.
- With subsequent digital campaign tactics, this email list also came to include potential consumers beyond their active customer base.
- The final tactic was an easy transition from traditional media to digitally-targeted digital marketing solutions.
- As a motorcycle and ATV retailer, ECC had long taken advantage of co-op advertising dollars provided by their Powersports vendors such as Suzuki, Honda and Polaris. ThriveFuel was able to help El Campo Cycle Center redirect those co-op dollars and repurpose the same assets for digital display ads that were now being delivered to a hyper-targeted audience.
Almost immediately, El Campo Cycle Center experienced an increase in traffic and sales as a result of their digital shift.
- The first year of ECC’s digital transition saw a significant spike in sales:
- 16% year-over-year (YOY) increase in units sold
- 26% YOY increase in sales revenue
However, in the subsequent years, sales began to taper back down to pre-digital transition levels causing El Campo Cycle Center and ThriveFuel to re-evaluate the overall marketing strategy.
New Challenges Arise
Although El Campo Cycle Center was the first retailer in its region to fully transition to a digitally-centric marketing strategy, their competition soon followed suit.
ECC certainly held a major advantage on the market-share considering the headstart they had over their competitors in reaching digital audiences. However, in analyzing the specifics of their digital marketing campaign, ThriveFuel and ECC discovered a glaring issue: the vendor-curated and product-focused display graphics were not unique to El Campo Cycle Center and were, in fact, being utilized by other Powersports retailers participating in those vendor co-op advertising programs.
ThriveFuel and ECC quickly responded to this dilemma by completely scraping templated display ads and instead composed wholly new and refreshed creative messaging and display banners that would be unique to El Campo Cycle Center.
This shift also coincided with the sudden COVID-19 pandemic that caused rampant economic hardships for businesses small and large.
The new messaging, rather than promoting specific motorcycle and ATV models, would now focus on establishing a brand voice and attempt to connect with audience emotions with a campaign focused on nature and outdoor therapy.
The shift in messaging, despite the hardships brought on by the COVID pandemic, resulted in an almost immediate surge in both consumer interest and sales revenue:
8% increase in followers across monitored social media channels (Facebook, Instagram)
32% YOY increase in vehicle sales
39% YOY increase in sales revenue
15,000% estimated increase in ROI
While the early transition to a digital-centric marketing campaign strategy gave El Campo Cycle Center a head start against their regional Powersports competitors on delivering to an online audience, it also provided the necessary framework to then tailor campaign messaging and tactics to ever-changing economic circumstances.
By making the decision to also shift brand messaging from an explicit focus on motorcycle and ATV products to one that appeals to consumers’ emotions, El Campo Cycle Center continues to adapt its marketing strategies and remain a step ahead of its competition.
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