Thursday, 15 October 2015 18:14

ASA-CO Hosts Learning Circle on Branding and Digital Marketing

On September 21, ASA-CO hosted a Learning Circle on “Planning Your Branding and Digital Marketing Strategy.” The event was presented by Taylor Pickering, a fifth generation in the automotive industry for family-owned Pickering’s Auto Service where she has worked as the Marketing Director and Fleet Manager for the past year.

She explained, “I have worked to develop a marketing strategy and plan to propel our family-owned and operated auto repair shop from where we were when I arrived to where we envision our company being. My efforts, along with the efforts and support of Pickering’s team, have paid off substantially as far as sales and revenue are concerned year-to-date.”

Pickering contacted ASA-CO Executive Director Kari Foster about hosting a marketing session with a third-party company, but she suggested that she present the material as a future shop owner sharing her perspective with her peers.

Pickering’s intentions “for this presentation was to help educate and provide some perspective to these fellow shop owners about marketing from a marketer’s point of view. I felt this was important because, in my experience with similar educational events, automotive marketing classes are often fairly shallow when it comes to resources, strategies and planning. The wonderful thing about association-sponsored events is that they give those that want to further their education, in particular areas, the opportunity to learn and ask questions in an environment that they otherwise would not be exposed to. What sets ASA Colorado apart in particular is that they work to have these events held by auto shop personnel who actually have applicable life experience and have a good understanding of what questions their audience is looking for answers to. This is pertinent to the industry at large in the interest of collectively boosting our knowledge base to keep up with the exponential growth and change of technology.”

Pickering’s presentation offered a substantial amount of information on various topics, including branding, websites, online presence, direct mail marketing, email marketing, customer database integrity, data tracking, collections and reporting, ROI analysis, marketing strategy, marketing planning and spending budget and allocation. Attendees were very receptive to the information shared, asking questions and taking notes throughout the presentation.

According to Pickering, “My goal was to help auto shops to understand the key points of marketing first and then how to successfully apply them to their business model as I have done for Pickering's. I urged them to set goals of where they want to be and strategically plan out how they intend to accomplish those goals with objectives, tactics and training. Before I got to Pickering's there was little data analysis or marketing structure, so we just threw money at marketing to see what stuck. Now we have a budget, a strategy and a plan of how we intend to minimize our cost, increase sales and capitalize on revenue to reach our goals. Most every auto shop has a business plan, but now what they really need to plan in my opinion is how they will strategically market their business to keep that plan alive. The purpose of the event was to inform the audience on how Pickering’s Auto Service has made successful improvements to their marketing and how they can apply the same principles to their own businesses.”

Since implementing these principles at Pickering’s Auto Service, the shop has seen a 15 percent increase in revenue, a 23 percent car count increase and an ARO decrease of -8 percent year-to-date. Their marketing expenses only account for 10 percent of their revenue.

Prior to her presentation, Pickering “researched my audience to see if the material I was covering was relevant to them. I viewed their websites, their digital and mobile presence, analyzed their local search authority and evaluated their online branding. Because all of the shops had a fairly strong online presence, I was worrisome that my presentation may not be of great use to them. However to my surprise, I am confident that each person left the event with at least a few ideas of what areas of their business and marketing they need pay more attention to or improve upon, and information on how to do so. Overall, the event truly exceeded my expectations and I look forward to facilitating many more to come if invited. This event exceed my expectation in both attendance and valuable insights to the world of marketing and how to apply it to an auto shop's business plan. As a presenter, I also took away important information from our discussion and identified key areas of improvement in our own business.”

Pickering believes that association-sponsored events provide an opportunity to facilitate the growth of one’s own shop as well as that of one’s peers. “This is pertinent to the industry at large in the interest of keeping up with the rapid growth of technology and the role it plays in our industry. The event went very smoothly, covering an extensive amount of information in a short amount of time. The presentation was on ‘Planning Your Branding and Digital Marketing Strategy.’ It covered how to successfully plan and implement your marketing strategy in accordance with your business goals for the overall success of your marketing efforts and ultimately your business.”

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