Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2002   by Ken Keis and Gordon Cameron

Results on Marketing: Marketing Success Principles

A successful business should always be based on serving and meeting the needs of others (their potential customers).This acid test should apply to your operation, no matter the type or size. Do you re...

A successful business should always be based on serving and meeting the needs of others (their potential customers).

This acid test should apply to your operation, no matter the type or size. Do you really serve others to meet their needs, or do you sell services and items just because you carry them-not because your customers really need or want them? From national chains to one-person operations, the same principles apply. The focus of this new column will be integrity or valued-based marketing for two purposes:

1. to prevent the erosion of your current business volume, or

2. to grow your business.

But first things first. What is marketing, really? If it is not selling, advertising, promotions, flyers, billboards, follow-up letters, menu pricing, maintenance schedules, service, then what is it? It includes all the foregoing items, but it is much more than the total efforts of that list.

Marketing is your thinking, strategy, plan, communications, and the overall approach you take to attracting, serving, and keeping your current and potential customers. For some of you, the marketing plan is no more than a verbal and personal commitment to your customers for excellent service. Some operations are part of a sophisticated national blueprint of advertising campaigns, facilities, and consistent pricing.

The level of sophistication or the amount of marketing does not guarantee results. Marketing is everything about yourself and your business that communicates a message to your customers. There is no avoiding the fact that everything about your business states a message-from your company name to the cleanliness of your operation.

Permit us to state the obvious: even the most elaborate advertising and marketing campaign can’t overcome a poor product or substandard service.

Whether you want it to or not, marketing applies to everything and everyone in your operation; the people who are part of your business also affect your marketing efforts. If you are in a market of 3,000 and everybody knows you, or if your operation is part of a national chain, you cannot avoid your personal responsibility for the success of your marketing plan, or lack thereof. Nor is your business a victim, with no influence over the total marketing results or process.

Here are five items to consider as you start or continue your marketing journey.

1. Define your business and what you really want to achieve with your marketing. If you’re not defining it, you really are not actively marketing.

2. Make your plan easy to understand, implement, and follow. Complex, difficult approaches will result in a lack of implementation-therefore: poor results.

3. Open your mind to the full extent of the possibilities. Except for the principles of integrity and value-based marketing, there are no sacred cows today.

4. Marketing must be seen differently than in the past. “If you always do what you always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

5. Believe that marketing matters. Take marketing seriously, but never yourself.

The above five items are requirements. If you fail to attain any one of them, you are compromising all of them. They are a solid start to creating a winning marketing strategy for growing your business.

The second five elements are about implementation beliefs. They are simple, but critical:

6. Take action. Just talking about it never got results.

7. Understand and select a primary method for communicating with your customers in your market.

8. Be seriously committed to communicating with your customers. If you are not dedicated to your marketing message, your customers will notice. If you don’t really believe in what you are doing, don’t expect your customers to believe it, either.

9. Stay current. Changes occur fast. A few years ago, e-mail was not an option; most of you would not have considered a Website as a marketing tool. Today, electronic marketing is commonplace. (Results now produces several performance e-newsletters for national organizations. We started doing this less than two years ago.)

10. Maintain your marketing process. Marketing is a journey, not a destination. Would your service customers tell you they’ll never need another oil change because they’ve already had one?

When you embrace these principles, you are ready to start thinking about your specific marketing plans for success.

Editor: This month SSGM welcomes new columnists Ken Keis and Gordon Cameron of Results Consulting Group Inc. Ken and Gordon specialize in automotive business solutions and have a combined 45 years of business ownership experience. Results on Marketing will address one of the most overlooked areas of the Canadian automotive service industry: getting your message into your market in an effective and timely way.

About Results Consulting Group Inc.

Results is an international full-service business consulting company with special expertise and experience in the automotive industry. In the past five years alone, Results’ team of automotive professionals has trained more than 20,000 automotive personnel-and logged thousands of in-store consulting-project days, from independent operations to national and international chains.

Senior Partners Ken Keis and Gordon Cameron have over 45 years of combined business-ownership experience and 15,000 hours of automotive consulting experience.

The Results Performance Institute provides a full range of information products and services designed to increase your business and individual performance, including personal one-on-one coaching, in-store consulting, on- and off-site educational sessions, tele-conferences, videos, and audio solutions. Results also provides appointment-scheduling and dispatch software solutions-ServiceMate-specifically designed for the independent maintenance and repair sector.

Results’ copyrighted service marketing and operational system, “0% Customer Defection & 100% Customer Retention,” has a proven track record of increasing service gross by 10-20% and beyond-in less than six months.

For further information about Results and its automotive and business solutions, call us Toll Free at 1-866-852-4347, email, or visit our Website at

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