Creative thinking and how you promote a business are obviously key elements to long term success. Many companies are constantly promoting and marketing themselves in order that they never fall out of the nation’s consciousness, like for example GoCompare or Compare the Market.
Not only is their line of business highly competitive it is also very lucrative and because of the advertising overdose it is highly likely that most of us would use one of these companies when researching our next insurance purchase.
However if marketing spend pockets are not quite so deep companies will tend to use the resource more strategically and base a campaign around certain seasons of the year, or when buyers are traditionally looking for good deals on masse, like the New Year for example.
In this business there are often some good marketing ploys and special promotions with genuinely great offers and of course in franchised dealers these offers are becoming increasingly bolted on as standard with the car purchase. Therefore, in an effort to keep reminding potential customers that a particular car dealership or brand of car should be on their mind when considering their next purchase, we will often be bombarded with regular mail shots promoting the latest offers.
This can often though lead to overegging the pudding with the message becoming diluted as customers switch off because of the overkill.
In the car trade it seems there is not as much creativity as in other industries and the default position seems to be mail shot, winter sale, summer sale etc.
I was recently in a meeting where this topic was hot on the agenda and one of the ladies in the discussion produced something that she had been sent by her local restaurant which seemed simple but highly effective and could certainly work in our business.
I am always intrigued as to just why there are a lack of ideas on how to promote the aftersales aspect of the car business when we see the likes of Kwik Fit and Halfords working really hard to acquire a large slice of the aftersales pie. There’s no doubt that car dealers have been slow, or in some cases, reluctant to respond even though they may often be in a position to offer a better package at a better price. Anyway the idea the restaurant utilized would appear to me to be one which could help with creating many more opportunities.
The envelope was sealed but on the front it listed 3 offers; a free meal for two, a free bottle of wine or half price starters which all seems totally normal, however because the envelope is sealed the customer can only claim their offer once they have had their meal at the restaurant and had it verified by the manager. Simple and it may not be re-inventing the wheel but if you were thinking of going for a meal anyway it certainly may prompt you to consider this offer and at very low cost to the restaurant because the quid pro quo would be that the customer has already bought a meal.
In transferring this thinking to cars and aftersales it could be that you would get your next service FOC or 30% off all accessories next time your car is in for servicing or a free MOT for life and so on. The catch is that a customer has to buy before they receive and if the offers are tantalising enough for the customer to wonder what offer they may qualify for they may just consider that business over a competitor.
Certainly food for thought.