A Q&A with Lauren Fix, the Car Coach®
What type of marketing strategies work best in the automotive aftermarket? Does it vary by region, population or gender?We are all aware that women make a big impact on the automotive industry. Many companies have made great strides in getting their attention. When companies offer to make life easier on consumers — especially busy women — everyone wins. One of the best service/marketing strategies is the free replacement service for wiper blades, batteries and air filters. The customer pays for the part and the counter person installs it while they wait. These are the types of marketing strategies that are advertised and then continue to spread by word-of mouth. This can also apply to service facilities. To make drivers lives easier by creating a loyalty that can't be bought.
If the above factors do indeed warrant different marketing strategies, what works best for a particular population?
Woman need to be talked to —not at — and if replacement parts are needed, technicians need to take the time to show them the bad parts and explain why they need to be replaced. We would do this for our home, why not our car? Advertising has to redirect their efforts to speak to the busy households. Ads like the VW add about selling safety hit home and created an impact. The impact has to leave a positive impression that the aftermarket is here to help drivers get the job done quickly.
Are brands still important in the aftermarket? More or less so? Why?
Quality is still important, and name brands create a comfort that consumers can trust. Sadly, price will always be a factor. So it's important that the aftermarket create a loyalty through brands while explaining what people are getting for their money and why name brands bring quality.
Is playing up "OEM quality" a good marketing strategy for aftermarket manufacturers? Or, or we only playing up to the strength of the OES?
The average driver doesn't know the three-letter acronym of OEM. I'm asked that all the time. So we need to always promote factory quality or better. Consumers respond to this if it's explained in the form of the old saying, "parts is parts."