Just as soon as the holiday season is over, those of us in the automotive direct mail arena face a new year and an old challenge: the snowbirds. Folks who move to warmer climates (generally to the Southeast and Southwest in the continental US) during wintertime to dodge the flying snowflakes. These non-permanent residents actually affect our sales and sending strategies year-round – there are plenty of city dwellers who flock to summer homes in resort towns as well.
In fact, non-permanent addresses account for nearly a million of what the USPS deems as “seasonal” recipients.
Of course, these seasonal dwellers are potential auto buyers – and in the case of some higher-end dealerships on Nantucket or in South Beach, they might even be more apt to buy than traditional addressees. So, just how do we work to target them with automotive direct mail?
If the area you’re marketing to includes resort towns that expand during certain seasons and contract in others, you probably already know a great deal about managing your marketing efforts to those zip codes. There are some neighborhoods that have residents in them year-round and others that only have residents a few months out of the year (ie: apartments/rentals in touristy seaside areas). It’s generally pretty easy to suss these trends out.
The second piece of the puzzle is about timing. Fortunately, many vacation homes shut down their mail when they leave their residences vacant – cutting down on unnecessary sending. It’s not a solid strategy to send auto direct mail to vacation homes in the off-season – so make sure you have an up to date list that’s as fully vetted as possible before you start paying for postage.