THREE UNUSUAL APPROACHES TO MARKETING COLLISION REPAIR FACILITIES
BY ELIZABETH SARGEANT
In the collision repair industry, bold marketing strategies can pay off big time. From hosting community events to promoting customer loyalty initiatives and sending out seasonal newsletters, those in charge of marketing never seem to run out of fresh ideas—though some of these ideas may raise a few eyebrows. In this issue of Bodyworx Professional, we salute the shops that think outside the box by adopting some truly bizarre tactics to get customers in their doors. From tugging on the heartstrings of animal lovers or environmental enthusiasts to putting their company’s reputation in the hands of a customer, these three collision repair shops go the extra mile in their marketing strategy.
1. Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie Rick’s Automotive is located in Muscatine, Iowa — home to the National Pearl Button Museum, a world-renowned butterfly garden and one deceptively death-like dog. Hudson, a two-year-old Husky, is a heavy sleeper. He likes nothing better than taking naps outside of his master’s autobody shop, which is located alongside a very busy road. Hudson’s stiff sleeping position has an unusual side effect — drivers often slow down as they attempt to determine whether the stiff-limbed pooch on the roadside really has shuffled off this mortal coil. Often, they guess incorrectly — stopping and running inside the shop to alert Dustin Trimble, the shop’s owner, that Hudson may have been struck by a vehicle. Trimble is quick to reassure these passing do-gooders that Hudson is perfectly fine, if a bit unusual, and always takes the opportunity to tell them all about his business.
2. Going Green If you want to experience the outdoors while getting your car repaired, look no further than Green Tech Automotive. This repair shop, located in Santa Rosa, Calif., is painted lime green, thus catching the eyes of any passerby — or, really, anyone within 500 metres. As well, a massive and ancient-looking tree grows just outside the shop. This big and bright auto shop is dedicated to restoring vehicles in the most environmentally ethical way possible and continues the celebration of Earth’s natural colours indoors. The lobby is filled with plants, fish tanks and Earth-themed decorations. The eye-catching exterior is a bold marketing technique in its own right, but Green Tech Automotive’s overall dedication to sustainability is what keeps customers coming back. Did I mention the shop provides snacks?
3. Social Media Turns “Shifty” Shop to Celebrity Status When Victory Auto Service, a male-dominated repair shop, enlisted the help of social media-savvy Stephanie Gutierrez, their world flipped upside down. Shop owner Jeff Matt. feeling isolated and struggling with his shop’s reputation of being unreliable, asked Gutierrez, a longtime customer, to help him connect to the community. Boy, did she deliver. In just a few weeks, Gutierrez launched a Youtube channel and established a Facebook community and a Twitter account. She posted wacky quizzes, behind-the-scenes shots and some very flattering pics of the employees. The business since has grown to incorporate three locations, the social media sites attracts thousands of views and the business has an online following that’s more than 60% female. Customers love to take pictures with employees spotted on the street. Thanks to Gutierrez, Victory Auto
Service now has celebrity status.