October '17

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10 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2017 a friend before shop- ping online or in your store. Where is the out- reach you're making to address them, and how can the manufacturers and consumers that you interact with at events help? "We need to make compelling content and events," says Matt Martelli, CEO of The Mint 400 off-road race. "Part of the problem is we, the automotive community, have failed to inspire multiple generations to love cars. That is our fault for assuming nothing would ever compete with their mindshare and the need for freedom. This is just straight-up laziness on the part of the automotive industry." WHAT MANUFACTURERS CAN DO If you're a product manufacturer, once the event is over, it's up to you to arm your dealers with the tools they need to keep the momentum going back at their store, and for enthusiasts to use to influence their peers. Suppliers should provide them with things they can do to drive engagement numbers upward—from participation in local events at a grassroots level, to sponsoring blogs and websites young adults frequent. Make sure the information is hard-hitting, inspirational and filled with takeaways they can use to make a difference. Also, ensure your product is doing what it promises. Youngsters can find informa- tion anywhere, and they are asking for feedback from peers all the time. For them, it is all about price and quality. Are you offering something valuable, or are you merely selling products? What action items and to-do lists can you send home with your sales force or advocates? The faster you react, the more likely you are to build a bond with them through conversations. The more you communicate with each other, the better you'll under- stand each other and the more you'll learn. It shows them that you're listening and that you care. Their world is rapidly changing, so getting out and talking with them is the most successful way for keeping up with their views. Martelli observes, "We need to combine experiential with racing and auto shows to create super events that are designed to convert young people into automotive enthusiasts. We need larger automotive national events to capture their attention. Whether you're a shop or a manufacturer, portraying a cool image that captures people's attention helps promote the industry as a whole. EVENT MARKETING WITH A CAUSE Cool display vehicles, give- aways and swag all help engage Generations X and Y. Give- aways build a crowd, and awareness grows sales, as Anthem Off-Road can attest.

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