written by Kevin Max
Jay Mason grew up riding motorcycles and ATVs along the pastoral roads of the Napa Valley region of California. While many kids in his area would get wrapped into the area’s predominant wine industry, Mason hit the open road and found an unexpected career move.
As Mason worked his way up in a digital marketing and consulting firm in 2006, he also found a book that reset his mindset. He read The Greatest Salesman in the World, a philosophical, spiritual and practical life guide written by a late insurance salesman and recovering alcoholic, Og Mandino. “It’s about resetting your mind every day and being positive and focused on what you need to do,” Mason said.
He came back to his initial rush and passion of motorsports and founded Dealer Spike in 2008. Dealer Spike is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) digital marketing and advertising company for motorsports dealerships in North America. Dealer Spike helps dealers of powersports (think Harley-Davidson and BMW motorcycles) as well as other industries such as RVs, marine, trucks, heavy equipment, auto, agriculture and lawn and garden.
In many cases, these dealers lacked the promotional mechanics and technological astuteness to capitalize on their market. ose dealers of the past had relied on word of mouth, expensive expos and low-budget local TV commercials with pirate-sounding voiceovers to reach their demographic and market.
The Lake Oswego-based company mixes old and new tech services of building websites and providing search engine optimization, search engine marketing, sales lead management and e-commerce.
Now with more than 2,000 dealerships in its portfolio, Mason’s digital marketing juggernaut is bringing a sharp technological edge. “Our goal is to be the best digital marketing in our business,” said Mason, 40. “We have a ninety-four percent retention rate. The only ones we lose are the ones that go out of business or to a competitor or consolidation.”
Its success in this niche has led to double-digit revenue growth nearly every year, including an estimated forty percent jump this year, according to Mason. “Our sales group is doing an incredible job,” Mason noted, saying the company is adding 100 new clients per month. In the month of May alone, Mason said, he was hiring twenty-five new people.
Dealer Spike has offices in three countries—the United States, Guam and Mexico. The company continues its global expansion into Europe by the end of 2017. “We are excited about the future and growing the business organically while acquiring key competitors,” Mason said.
Incremental growth, however, becomes more difficult as the company matures, both from a percentage basis as well as recruiting against companies, such as Google and Facebook. “We can’t compete with those compensation rates,” Mason said. “We compete in culture, with unlimited food, free breakfast, ping pong tables and basketball courts.”
Dealer Spike’s direct competition in the powersports digital marketing space comes from ARI Network Services in Milwaukie, Wisconsin, and Dominion Enterprises in Norfolk, Virginia. The former is publicly traded and reported $1.07 million in net income on revenue of $40.4 million for the fiscal year ended July 2015. The latter is privately held, has 3,000 employees, 145 offices in thirty-three states and five countries.
While the pace of growth is manic at his company, Mason still finds time to get out on one of his own powersport vehicles—a motorcycle. His favorite ride takes him west on Wilsonville Road through vineyards and to the Oregon Coast.
“I’m just not an owner in a tech company, I’m an avid consumer of the industry,” Mason said.