From understanding the big-picture of strategy to making sure your marketing tactics jive with your customers, there’s a lot to consider when planning for 2017. Next year promises to be huge for our industry, and in today’s Automotive Aftermarket Masterclass, Chris Rhoad outlines how to craft a truly remarkable strategy to help you sail through 2017.

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Video Transcription

In this class I want to talk about something that many of you have asked me about and something I’ve been wanting to talk about for quite some time now. That is strategy. By strategy, I don’t mean specific strategy or tactics around social media or email marketing. I mean high level macro-strategy.

Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - PRI and SEMA Show

To give you a little bit of a back story, this is something that I’ve seen, heard and had conversations about in the halls of SEMA and PRI. Most of these shows have classes or conferences built within them. They’ll teach you how to do social media and all these other tactics, which is fantastic.  But what I’m seeing is that a lot of people will go into these these classes, and whoever is teaching that class will ultimately tell the ‘student’ they need to do everything. They need to do e-mail marketing, social media, Snapchat, direct, one-on-one, inbound, Hubspot. They need to do all of it. That influence leads to two outcomes.

Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - analysis paralysis

Analysis Paralysis

Let’s talk about analysis paralysis first. Analysis paralysis, in the context of this conversation, is that there’s to many options. You have all those tactics that you’ve been told you need to do, but you can’t decide on where to start first. So you don’t start at all. You say, ‘Screw it. I’m done. I don’t have time for that. I can’t decide. I’ll think about it later. I’m out.’ Nothing happens. You end up in the exact same spot you were before you went into the class; just a little bit more pumped up.

Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - opportunity syndrome

Opportunity Syndrome

On the flip side of that, you have opportunity syndrome. You see all these tactics that you’ve been told to do and you get really, really excited. You want to do all of them. It seemed like Snapchat was the way to go or e-mail marketing was the way to go. You’re hearing great things about Facebook Dark Posts. So you try them. You go out and you try all of them. You know that you need to try all of them, yet you’re not quite sure which one is going to work.

From there, you put a little bit of resources, manpower and money behind each of them only for them to fail because you couldn’t put enough resources into one particular initiative. Rather than focusing on just e-mail marketing or Facebook, you took all of your resources and spread them too thin. Because you spread them too thin, they didn’t have the push they needed, so they ended up failing. Then the conversation becomes, “I tried Snapchat. I tried e-mail marketing. I tried Facebook Dark Posts. They didn’t work. I tried everything the teacher told me to do and it didn’t work so I’m going back to what I know.”


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From there we could go into a conversation about “It’s not the tool, it’s the operator.” I’ll save that for a different class. That’s more specific to individual social media platforms and tactics in particular.

For now, I just want to stick with the topic, strategy. Here’s how strategy plays into this. All of those tactics, everything that you learned map to one goal, the customer. If you can reverse engineer the customer’s needs and desires then you can design and strategize your initiatives and what you should build-out moving forward. It removes the guessing and the speculation. But you need a system and a framework to do that.

That’s what I’m going to touch on briefly here.


Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands. - strategy sections

Break up your strategy into three sections:

  • Define the customer
  • Prioritize their needs
  • Define Tactics
Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - define the customer

1 Define The Customer

How do we define the customer? For this example we’re going to come up with two different customers. We’re going to set up personas or profile for two different customers. The first of which is your customers that you have now. That means a specific demographic of the customer that you have now. For example, the customer of a certain age, geolocation, income level, which makes up the majority of your current sales. That’s going to be Persona One. Persona two is going to be your desired customer. If you’re targeting a particular income level or geolocation, that’s going to be your desired customer.

Keep in mind, as your company gets bigger or you are currently a large company, you can break up these personas in multiple different ways. You can create profiles for as many different personas as you want. For this, we’re just going to focus on two.


Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - demographics

  • Demographics:
    Here’s how you do that. First we’re going to name their demographics. We will give them a fake name. Although this is going to be a fake person we still need to give them a name. Now a type. Are they a banker, an accountant, a shop owner, whatever the case is give them a type. Whatever that main customer is that you currently have, again, the one that makes up the majority of your sales. If the majority of them are say, students then put ‘student’ as their type. Next, give them a general age range. My recommendation is be as specific as you can here in all of this stuff. Don’t be too broad. Again, this is a persona, you want it to be as detailed as you possibly can. Gender, profession and then income level.


Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - customer needs

  • Customer Backstory / Painpoints:
    Next, we’re going to talk about his or her’s backstory; their problems. What are their pain points and challenges that they’re currently having in relation to what you provide. If that particular customer is say, a bracket racer, and keeps breaking parts, that’s a problem.Now get really intimate with this backstory. Are they married? Did they just buy a house? Do they have kids? Are they having some struggles financially? Are they well off? Do they have extra expendable cash that they can spend. Write all of this down. This all plays into the story that is going to start to develop.


Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - customer needs

2 Prioritize Customer Need

Next, we’re going to write down what his needs are and why. Based on the problems and the pain points that we’ve already written down. What can he obtain or gather that will solve those problems. Once you’ve figured out what those are, write down why he needs them. Get into the details as to why he needs them. For example, maybe he is a business owner and racing is his outlet. That’s how he gets away. Although he may be competitive, he’s not there to break any records. He just wants to go out, have fun and enjoy the car.

Next, let’s talk about how you can exceed those needs. If he’s just a weekend warrior, all he wants to do is get away from the stresses of work, right? Chances are he’s not going to want to spend a whole lot of money and buy top shelf parts. He wants just enough to be competitive and to have fun. What he may value more and what you can possibly do to exceed those needs and solve his pain points at the same time, is maybe have that one-on-one communication with him or comradery; the customer service. He may value that more so than everything else. That’s part of it. That’s part of this four tier solution and write-up of the persona.


Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - exceed customer need

For each one of these four tiers, write as many examples as you can based on the story that you’re playing out for this particular persona. Essentially create a story. Create this person’s biography. Now you can take that same structure and apply it to the other customer persona you want to write out; the desired customer.

At this point you have at least one customer persona and you have a list of needs that they require or pain points. Now, you’re going to take all of those pain points and you’re going to prioritize them. You’re going to determine, based on this story, this biography, and your personal experience which pain point you feel needs the most attention. You’re going to pick the top three in this case. The top three pain points that need the most attention for this particular customer.


Two marketing approaches for Auto Aftermarket brands - define tactics

2 Define Tactics

Here’s where it gets fun. Within the context of this conversation, we can’t get too granular on how we approach this so you’re going to have to kind of work this out for yourself. You’re going to use what you have just determined based on needs and how you exceed them, on how you move forward on what assets you build out.

For example, if this particular persona is searching for education or they need to learn more about a particular product or service that you provide, then you’re not going to end up on Snapchat just yet. You will eventually but not just yet. For this particular persona, your objective is to create content that educates them. That’s either blogs or video. You also need to reverse engineer where that particular customer is. Are they on forums still? Are they on Facebook groups? Are they on Instagram? Are they on Snapchat? Don’t rule it out. Find out where they are then reverse engineer and create content for that platform.

That my friends is how you avoid analysis paralysis and opportunity syndrome. Reverse engineer it. Now you have the strategy or at least the foundation of a strategy. Go out there, take over the world. Thanks for joining me. I will catch you next time.

What would you like to learn more about? Let us know via email or commenting on this post.

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