New technologies help you market better

Jan. 1, 2020
You have the tools to fix vehicles and order parts in your shop. But there are new tools available that make marketing your business easier and nearly automated.
You have the tools to fix vehicles and order parts in your shop. But there are new tools available that make marketing your business easier and nearly automated.

“For years independent dealers, independent shops have lost part of the market share to large tire and service chains, large corporate groups and dealerships because they don’t have the marketing resources that they need to compete with them,” says Joe Gibson, director of Channel Development, CustomerLink Systems. “The reason for that is again is they don’t have the marketing resources that the larger players have. There’s technology available today that helps level that playing field that’s affordable, automated, easy to use and can give them the competitive advantage that they need to stop losing business share to the dealerships and large business chains.

Gibson highlighted these options in “New marketing Technologies” to CARS attendees on Friday. The main changes he says are the advent of Internet technologies and how they relate to marketing, such as word of mouth.

The reality is in the old day, word of mouth was a one to one type situation, maybe a one to two or one to three. Today’s word of mouth is all digital,” he notes. “Word of mouth today is a customer going online and posting a review and that review going out to hundreds or thousands of people in that shop’s service area. The same goes for social networking, allowing people to share information with up to thousands of people with the click of a button. Gibson walked through these marketing options including the social networking, customer reviews and consumer segmentation technology, as well as search engine optimization and search engine marketing. What might have surprised many attendees is that while much of the focus Gibson shared was on the Internet, he also touched on direct mail, whose response rates actually are going up.

“The reality is that direct mail marketers are getting smarter about how they market. They are able to use things like consumer segmentation technology, they’re able to use dynamic data,” Gibson states. “Direct mail marketing has really changed with technology as well. It’s kind of interesting that as we talk about technology that you would see email response rates dipping and direct mail response rates increasing. But from several reports that I’ve looked at, that seems to be exactly what’s happening.”

To make all of his points possible, Gibson suggests shops find a single-source program that can handle as much of their marketing for them as possible.

“You might not be able to get one single source to do everything, but the real point there is don’t have five different people handling your marketing,” he says. “If you can limit your spread on resources and have one group put together as many quality programs together for you as possible, it’s just going to free up more time for the shop owner to focus on what’s important to him and that’s the actual day-to-day operations of his business.”

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