October '17

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12 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2017 EVENT MARKETING WITH A CAUSE Our outreach also needs to be much deeper. We need auto shops in high schools that are connected back to our culture." If you're a shop owner, it pays to seek out proactive suppliers to partner with. ANCHOR IT WITH SOLID RESEARCH To drive event participation around a mis- sion statement, compelling data is a good place to start. The issue of autonomous vehicles and the problems they will cause in our industry may serve to incite and motivate enthusiasts year-round, not to mention those whose livelihood depends on enthusiasts who modify their vehicles and enjoy driving themselves. Data from recent studies that indicate young adults aren't sold on autonomous vehicles is a powerful public relations and awareness generator. What can you take from that and relate to your event mission? According to Erik Harbour, marketing director for Powerbass, "We are doing what many in car audio are doing: focusing on things out of the car such as powersports and marine. The current car-buying youth either doesn't even care if they have a car right away, or just wants to connect their phone and be good to go. Yes, there are still those that do custom upgrades, etc., but it's the same group of people that were doing upgrades 10 years ago that are still into it, but with more disposable income available as they get older to do what they wanted to do when they were younger." Compelling messages are also a way to attract the attention of tomorrow's car buyers, Martelli adds. "We need to create content that wows people. We've got to make them feel some- thing. As I kid, I was inspired by films like Climb Dance; ABC's Wide World of Sports and its coverage of auto racing; Le Mans, the movie starring Steve McQueen; and Bullitt, also with McQueen. We are creating original content around The Mint 400 as well as inviting new user bases (Jeep, Raptor and Toyota clubs, for example) to come out and be a part of the experience. We really need to reach that pre-teen user base, get them offline and in the dirt." MAKE ATTENDANCE MEANINGFUL Infuse your attendee experience with materials that are not only engaging, but serve a purpose in line with your mission. Give them a boost of confidence by providing solutions that meet them where they are. Work with suppliers and others in the industry to engage young adults who may advocate ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles, or diffuse any negativity about the vehicle ownership experience to inspire those who are unsure what to think about changes occurring in our motorized society right now. One last thought: Go out there and create a daring-but-relevant appeal. American Powertrain is a good example on the supplier side of making a brand cool and staying hot. Matt Graves had the imagi- nation and the guts to do it, from creating signature vehicles for use on the Power Tour and at events, to creating swag that he and his team actually wear themselves. If you're cool, people will notice. And that's exactly what you want when you're marketing at an event. JASON SAKURAI heads up Roadhouse Marketing, a mar- keting, advertising and sales solutions firm dedicated to the automotive aftermarket. A fre- quent contributor to THE SHOP, his byline appears in many enthusiast and trade publications, in print and online. Powerbass makes its presence known at events. (Photo courtesy Power- bass) Are kids really more interested in ride- sharing and autono- mous vehicles? Vision Wheel's mini monster truck shows the fun the industry offers for kids of all ages. Make a plan to engage potential customers and increase awareness of your shop or products at live events.

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