Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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98 n Performance & Hotrod Business n May 2014 BUSINESS Affordable Options Let's take a quick look at the options that are available from your friendly manufacturing partner. Catalogs: Catalogs are still the number-one source of marketing for many companies. A well laid-out catalog can tell a story better than any salesperson. They show a company's full line and tell why their products are better than the competition. I recommend that catalogs be left out in a place in your shop where your customers can flip through them. Chances are your customer will discover a product they want that they didn't know existed before they walked into your shop. Banners: No speed shop is complete without its walls being blanketed in banners. Banners are a must-have marketing item for any respectable performance business. Most manufacturers freely distribute their banners. After all, they are cheap and a great way to market their products in your shop. They are made from a variety of materials, including com- posites, plastic and vinyl, and range in size from 2-feet-wide, up to 10-feet-wide or bigger. What better way to show your walk-in customer the different brands you carry? Look at all the TV shows being filmed in hot rod shops for inspiration. I bet you can't watch one episode of your favorite without seeing some manufacturer's banner in the background. Posters: Similar to banners, posters are usually made of paper. They usually include much higher-quality pictures and graphics. Posters are generally smaller in size than a banner and don't hold up well to weather or direct sunlight. They are also fairly inexpensive to produce when compared to a banner. Posters range in subject from simple pictures with a company's logo, up to fairly elaborate charts and diagrams. Quality posters will send a message to your customer to buy, now! A well-designed poster is almost like having another salesman in the building. P.O.P.s: Point of Purchase displays can range from simple to complex. They are made of a wide variety of materials, including plastic, cardboard or steel. Some come equipped with real products, while others come equipped with a miniature version of the real product (this is usually the case when the product itself is too big to display, or too costly). P.O.P. displays are the top of the food chain when it comes to marketing. They are also the most expensive for a manufacturer to produce. Some of them cost hundreds of dollars to build. Top- quality P.O.P.s can go a long way in helping you market your shop and the products you sell. It allows the customer to touch the product and see and feel firsthand the fine details. Decals: Almost every manufacturer prints and distributes decals. I can guarantee you that any car fan will love a free decal. Decals are not limited in type or size. Many manufacturers offer special large decals that are meant to be displayed on the door of your shop, letting customers know you are an elite or special dealer for that manufacturer. When a large decal is placed on your front door, it's the first thing your customer will see when they come to visit. Apparel: Some of the coolest (and most desirable) marketing material comes in the form of apparel: baseball cap, T-shirts, sweatshirts and jack- ets. Customers and countermen alike love them. They wear them proudly, spreading the message so boldly displayed on them. Be Co-Op Wise While not directly considered manu- facturers' marketing material by many (but I strongly consider it to be so), co-op funds are usually controlled by the manu- facturer's marketing department, and are meant as a way for you to advertise the manufacturer's items at their expense. To qualify for a manufacturer's co-op plan, you usually have to have a direct account with them. If you buy your prod- ucts mainly through a two-step system, such as a WD, don't expect to qualify for these funds. Most manufacturers will have very strict guidelines that you must meet to qualify for their co-op plan, including a minimum purchase amount over a given timeframe. Don't expect a manufacturer to offer you co-op dollars outright, and don't be afraid to ask for them, either. Sometimes co-op is paid directly as a discount per invoice; other times it is accumulated over a yearly or quarterly time interval. Co-op percentages range anywhere from 1 to 4 percent, with the majority of them coming in at 2 percent of your total purchase. You can imagine how quickly these funds add up, especially on well-moving lines. If you play your cards right, your entire marketing budget could be covered by co-op funds. It used to be that you were given your co-op dollars and were free to spend them in any way you chose (or in many cases, chose not to spend and instead put into your pocket). Manufacturers have started to get wise to this abuse of co-op funds, and are now requiring that your co-op funds be used under strict guidelines and only with their written approval. Examples of some widely accepted (and approved) co-op uses include magazine ads, pages in your catalog, banner and poster printing, show costs, decals, radio and TV ads, website ads, forum ads and sponsorships, and pay-per-click advertis- ing (i.e.; Google Adwords). Here is a great example of a high-end POP display. This type of P.O.P. display goes a long way in helping you market manufac- turer's products to your customers. PHBMAY.indd 98 4/2/14 2:01 PM

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