ASA working to attract new members

Jan. 1, 2020
Ron Pyle, president of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), says his group is working through new initiatives to make sure its membership draws in today's shop owners.
Ron Pyle Automotive Service Association ASA automotive aftermarket automotive parts

Motor Age: What is ASA doing to attract new members, form alliances and work smarter?

Pyle: The initiatives we're engaging in to move the association forward and to continue to look for opportunities for growth and relevance have to do with taking into account the assessment we did a couple of years ago that told us the members' expectations are changing.

So one, for example, is taking into account our particular membership demographic is aging and we need to be very proactive about seeking opportunities to bring in younger members, members who are earlier in the business cycle than what our current demographic demonstrates. To do that, we know that we have to communicate effectively with a younger demographic, which includes adopting more social media and networking opportunities...and recognizing that folks may not be responding to our current marketing and membership efforts because it's not visible to them. We're not in the right places, we're not saying the right things, we're not sending the right messages.

Beyond that, we're taking a real hard look at all of those benefits, services and activities that associations typically produce on behalf of their members and rationalizing each and every one of them. A good example of that rationalization is the recognition and realization that a number of benefits and services were redundant in the marketplace to the degree that they are no longer meaningful. Our thought is that we should look at it from the standpoint of what is being used, what is available from any other number of sources and how we could avoid replication and be more strategic in our thinking. I think we are making some progress in that area, because we are pursuing a strong opportunity through a national benefits program we now are putting in front of the membership called the ASA Marketplace.

Motor Age: How are plans progressing for the new ASRW in October this year?

Pyle: We had a strong belief that an Automotive Service and Repair Week made sense combining the disciplines under one roof for efficiency and cost containment. We recognized there is a blurring of the lines in some cases. For example, more and more collision shops are doing mechanical, electronic diagnosis. So it made sense that they would want to avail themselves of some of the vendors that...have typically come to CARS.

And there's a number of opportunities going forward to offer new ideas. We're going to have some forums, one mechanical and one collision, at ASRW this year that I think will be very timely and the content will have the kind of compelling discussion that folks are looking for at an industry event of this type. We're also going to host and help facilitate, but not direct, an independent service and repair association summit. We're really going to ask leadership of the many independent service and repair organizations, regional, state, affiliate groups to talk about the industry and what we can do to enhance its professionalism.

Ron Pyle: Automotive Service Association (ASA) president

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