Four Questions to Ask During Your Marketing Roll-Out

July 9, 2019
Two shop owners share their experiences with finding success through marketing.

Picture this: You’re approached for a marketing opportunity that’s above your budget, but the results—you’ve heard—will allegedly double your car count and pay off. 

Do you take the risk?

Frank Scandura, owner of Frank’s European Service in Las Vegas, often found himself in that same scenario, and he was tired of it, he says. 

Since opening the doors in 2001, the shop has grown into a $2.4 million business with 18 staff members and 15 lifts. Throughout the years, Scandura has ventured into different platforms of marketing, starting with paper ads in newspapers to, more recently, geofencing—a digital location-based targeted marketing tactic.

“A lot of [owners] get drilled into their heads, ‘Measure, measure,’ [and] what’s hard for me to measure is quality, and quality of the customer,” Scandura says.

Like Scandura, Fred Gestwicki Jr., owner of Fix-It With Fred in Canton, Ohio, has ventured into trying new marketing tactics. In November 2018, Gestwicki made a goal to double the shop’s annual revenue by 2019, and has a process for marketing that will create the results and opportunities he wants for the business.

Both Scandura and Gestwicki share some of the questions they often ask in order to determine whether or not a marketing effort was worth it for the business. 

“Do customers know my brand?”

The way your shop is viewed by customers has an immediate impact on your business. When you bring a new marketing tool to the shop, it’s important to consider how the effort will affect brand recognition within your customer base and community as a whole. .

According to Scandura, the business noticed a brand shift in the early ’90s, he says, after the shop connected with a couple of graphic designers. The marketing effort was simple: Customers received a card in the mailing discussing services that a car needed, he says. 

“It never had prices in it, but people really seemed to value when we said, ‘Here’s why we’re the best choice, here’s what we do for you and here’s how we take care of your car,” Scandura recalls. “When we started making it about the motorists, you could just see the quality of customers coming in and the amount of work they were willing to have done to their vehicles.”

“Here we are 18 years later, and ‘Frank’s’ became the brand, not ‘Frank’s European Auto Service Center’—‘Frank’s’ became the brand,” Scandura says. “We see it in our online reviews: ‘The guys at Frank’s,’ [or] ‘The team at Frank’s.’ When it comes to marketing, building your brand is more valuable.”

“Do I hit the target audience?”

Whether you’re established in your business or new to the industry, it’s important to identify who your audience is when it comes to marketing.

“When you market, you’re throwing resources into the world to try to get customers who have never heard of you before,” Gestwicki says.

According to Gestwicki, there are three customer bases that can be reached: 

Group One: customers that need auto repair and know the business. 

Group Two: customers that need repair work done and don’t know the business.

Group Three: those who do not need a repair and are unaware of the business.

“I had to come up with a way to hit all three groups,” Gestwicki recalls.

To reach all three groups, Gestwicki has introduced marketing efforts that redirect the audience back to his shop. One marketing effort that attracts all three customer base groups into the business is the shop’s annual blood drive.

In promoting the event, Gestwicki emails all of his customers, creates both a Facebook and Google event, and ensures that his shop is listed on the Red Cross page. Additionally, those who attend the event are given a voucher for a free oil change. 

“I get about 25–30 people in here in one day for four hours,” Gestwicki says. “That blood drive produced a $475 average repair order through my vouchers.”

“Do I reach my goals with this program?”

It’s critical to track results in order to determine whether or not a marketing tactic is working for the business. When growth is measured, it provides opportunity for users to determine whether or not the process is working, or if it needs to be adjusted.

In October 2018, Scandura decided to implement a marketing approach called geofencing into the business—a three months commitment, he says. Additionally, he ran a postcard campaign around the same time, that had a tracking phone number where the campaign could measure calls.

“Being able to target people while they have vehicle needs is far more effective,” Scandura says. 

Although both efforts were done in two different mediums—print and digital—Scandura says the inability to track consistently with postcards made the marketing approach more difficult for the shop owner. If a new marketing effort will be difficult to track or you don’t have a good rapport with the company, it may not be worth the investment. 

“I didn’t feel that the postcard company did a whole bunch to support,” Scandura recalls.

Scandura felt he was chasing the company for answers—such as how to simply track the phone calls, he explains.

As for his geofencing endeavour, Scandura’s original goal was to create more brand awareness. Through this marketing tactic, he was easily able to track how many times his ad appeared, and how maybe individuals came through his door from the geofencing. He was so happy with his high results, he still continues the form of marketing today.

“Do I see results?”

Since creating a marketing plan in late 2018, Gestwicki says he’s made a goal to increase his car count. In order to keep track of his shop’s various marketing efforts, Gestwicki’s ATI coach suggested purchasing a large, 12-month calendar as a way to file the shop’s progress. 

As a paperless guy, he felt the method might not be as efficient as keeping the shop’s results on file, but later changed his mind, he says.

According to Gestwicki, any marketing effort—whether it’s the shop’s mailer or rebate check—that is not considering “revolving” is put on the wall calendar.

“I write down exactly what I did and then I get the car count,” Gestwicki says. “If I see my car count go down for the week, I can see what I did to get there. Instead of having to run a report, at a glance I can clearly see what [I did] for marketing and what I got for cars.”

The calendar sits on the wall behind his desk and is updated daily. According to Gestwicki, the calendar has been such an eye-opener that he plans to keep utilizing the 2019 calendar next year as a comparison tool for 2020, he says.

"I’m going to build a marketing strategy [from the comparison],” said Gestwicki.

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