Taking Care of Business
High-School football games, ladies’ night events, service specials, fairs, Facebook and more… they all keep the marketing department hopping at Sydenstricker – a John Deere dealership with 11 stores in Missouri.
Then there’s the planning and evaluation of marketing programs to determine the most effective approaches to reaching Sydenstricker’s agricultural, residential and construction equipment customers. Leading the multi-store dealership’s marketing department is Lee Ann Sydenstricker, whose grandfather, Ralph Sydenstricker, launched the dealership in 1944 in Paris, Missouri.
Prior to joining the dealership nine years ago, Lee Ann Sydenstricker worked in sales and marketing in the television industry. She earned a degree in communications and media studies from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
As vice president of marketing, Sydenstricker oversees the marketing program for the dealership’s 11 stores, which serve customers in 41 of Missouri’s counties. The company serves agricultural equipment and residential equipment customers in small towns around north central and eastern Missouri. That includes small-property owners in St. Louis and surrounding suburbs.
Different markets – different strategies
Those different market segments require a variety of marketing strategies, Sydenstricker said. “We have a wide variety of customers with different property and equipment needs,” Sydenstricker said.
Just a few of the many approaches designed to keep Sydenstricker top of mind with customers and prospects are:
- Donating John Deere Gator utility vehicles or other equipment for high-school sports activities, tractor pulls, county fairs, craft shows, and other community events
- Digital advertising targeting urban customers shopping on the Internet
- Hosting ladies’ nights at four locations during holiday time, offering food and drink while shoppers can take advantage of specials on toys, tools and other merchandise
- Hosting a day with Santa Claus at all 11 Sydenstricker stores. Some multi-generation families have made Sydenstricker “Santa Day” an annual tradition
- Refreshing the dealership’s Facebook page at least five times per week with interesting posts. The Facebook page features harvest photographs, customer photographs, inspirational quotes, employee news, service specials, videos and more
- Regularly updating sydenstrickers.com, promoting equipment, service and parts specials as well as posting a blog
- Promoting products using YouTube and Instagram
The immediate results and affordability of Facebook make the social-media site one of the most cost-effective marketing approaches, Sydenstricker said.
“You can immediately see who is responding and interested in an event or promotion on Facebook,” she said.
From the “app” store
The dealership also was one of the first equipment dealers to have a customized “Sydenstricker app” that customers can use to schedule a service appointment, view used equipment or see special promotions at their closest dealership on either Android or iPhone.
Sydenstricker regularly meets with the dealership’s store managers to develop sales, parts or service specials, or to plan new-product promotions. They work together, planning and scheduling events throughout the year to increase equipment sales.
The marketing vice-president also regularly participates in calls about new John Deere promotions, and utilizes opportunities for cooperative advertising with the manufacturer.
“We’ll piggyback on Deere’s national advertising campaign during high-profile events like the Final Four basketball championship or Kentucky Derby, and promote national campaigns on a local basis,” she said.
The Sydenstricker marketing department also develops a quarterly package of marketing materials that the dealership’s 70 sales representatives can implement across the company’s 11 locations.
Sydenstricker said that the dealership has had especially good customer response to its annual customer-support guide, which is published each November. The book includes information on equipment, parts and service specials, store events, and contact information.
“The greatest reward of my job is planning a successful event that our customers enjoy and that helps our bottom line,” Sydenstricker said.
Locations: Mexico (main office), Macon, Rocheport, Kirksville, Chillicothe, Palmyra, Moscow Mills, Curryville, Tipton, Hermann, Dutzow
CEO: Eddie Sydenstricker
Major line: John Deere agricultural, residential and construction
Other lines: Hagie, Honda Power Equipment, Stihl
Article written by Lynn Grooms
LYNN GROOMS is an agricultural journalist living in Mt. Horeb, WI