Auto Service World
News   December 8, 2022   by Joe Flammer

From the magazine: The 3M’s of marketing

Tips on finding the right strategy that works for your shop

Many shop owners really want to do great marketing. You know that there are many vehicles out there just waiting to be worked on and you want to let drivers know that you have technicians standing by to help them. But you struggle with how to inform customers about your business.

Maybe you went to a conference where you heard about a great marketing product or you got the inside scoop from a friend on what marketing has worked for them. You employed the same tactic but it didn’t bring the same results. You’ve thrown mud at the wall and hoped that it would stick. It didn’t.

So what will work? What do the top companies get right with their marketing? What do they have up their sleeve? The secret to great marketing isn’t a secret at all. It’s the three M’s — market, message and medium.

It sounds simple, but when you can align all three of the M’s, your marketing will show huge results.

Market is the most important. There are many definitions of this word, but for our purposes, we can say that market is the group of people that are able to take advantage of a given product.

What is your market? More specifically, who is your market? You might want to get more medium-duty diesel truck customers but instead you find that your best customers are moms with mini-vans, rushing between school, home and hockey practice. You can either lean into the ‘mom market’ and figure out what is appealing to mothers — and not blue-collar business owners — in order to adjust to your preferred market.

But for marketing to be effective, you need to have a clear understanding of who your target market is.

Second is the message. This is what we tell our potential customers about our product or service.

Once you’ve figured out who your target demographic of customers is, think about what aspect of your business matters to them as customers. Is it price? Convenience? Speed of service? Quality of work? Trustworthiness? Or is it something completely different?

Businesses often tell customers about what they, as the business, think is important rather than figuring out what is important to customers. When your messaging connects with your market, you are two-thirds of the way to great marketing.

The final piece in the marketing puzzle is the medium of communication. Where does your target demographic get their information? Is it TV, word of mouth, radio, streaming services, direct mail, magazines, social media, etc.?

In 2022, the most effective marketing tool is free: Taking advantage of your Google Business profile. By obtaining and responding to reviews, consistently uploading photos and accepting or denying customer suggested edits to your profile, you can rise in the Google rankings and be seen by more customers on both Search and Maps.

When you can align all three M’s, you’ll be on your way to great marketing and growing your business beyond your expectations.

Joe Flammer is a director of marketing for Turnkey Marketing based in Kansas City, serving as outsourced director of marketing for auto repair shops. Learn more at

This article originally appeared in the September/October issue of CARS

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