Auto Repair Marketing 101: Branded Promotions Give Your Shop a Competitive Edge

You're far more likely to motivate disloyal, cost-sensitive penny pinchers without a creative or social angle to your promotions.

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Conceptual Minds | April 18, 2023

Discount-based promotions have been a staple of Auto Repair marketing for some time. After all, few things motivate prospects more than savings. 
 
That said, there’s an enormous opportunity cost in relying solely on discounts as a promotional motivator. You’re far more likely to motivate disloyal, cost-sensitive penny pinchers without a creative or social angle to your promotions. Obtaining loyal, high-quality customers over the long term requires a creative approach to promotions: promotional branding.
 
How can auto repair shops take advantage? In this guide, the auto repair coaches at Conceptual Minds explain.

What’s a Branded Promotion in Auto Repair?

Promotions are a marketing strategy where businesses use a temporary—and usually unique—campaign to grow interest in products, services, or broader brand. Such activities are not channel-dependent. Instead, a wide range of methods, mediums, and messages are used to spread and support the campaign. 
 
  • Licensing: Organizations lend their logo, trademark, or brand name for promoting another product . 
  • Promotional Tie-in: Promotional arrangements planned between one or more companies, combining resources, audiences, and brand resources to build a brand and increase sales for both parties.
  • Premiums and incentives: Increasing sales and attracting new customers by giving away freebies like discounts, coupons, swag, and other bonus items.
  • Product sample: Customers are allowed to try out a minimized version of the product or service for free. 
  • Lifestyle discounts: Giving away discounts, incentives, and other freebies to locals based on their identity or preferred activities.

The Problem with Compete On Price: Leaving Market Forces in Charge 

Photo by Alberto Bigoni on Unsplash
Competing on price is an all-to-standard—but still inadvisable— business strategy.
 
The thinking is simple and, admittedly, solid—keep prices low, causing customers to flee other businesses for yours. Slowly, your competitors will get pushed out.
 
In reality, it rarely works this way. Competing on price carries many adverse side effects, including pricing wars, inflexibility, negative customer perception, and a poor-paying dedicated audience.

1. You Start a Race-to-the-Bottom Price War  

Since there are many economic circumstances in which you have to raise prices, going this route gives you far less flexibility to adapt to changing economic circumstances. 
 
Or, as summarized in the Harvard Business Review :
 
  • “Every price cut is potentially the first salvo, and some discounts routinely lead to retaliatory price cuts that then escalate into a full-blown price war. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider other options before starting a price war.”
 

2. You're Locked Into Low Margins for the Foreseeable Future

Business owners often cut prices during troubled times, planning on raising prices once again when conditions return to normal. However, many find such price drops to be nearly irreversible. 

 
You may, for instance, find yourself without the revenue to attract new customers via marketing or service improvement without being able to raise prices on a highly sensitive crowd. Lose-lose.

3. Low-Priced Services Signal Low-Quality Services

“You get what you pay for” is a truism deeply embedded in our psyches. 
 
We suspect particularly low-priced items come with an unadvertised downside; low quality, poor service, or cheap material. Moreover, low prices may seem contradictory to customers when such shops sell themselves as high-quality providers.

4. Cheap Services Draw a Flakey, Low-Spending Crowd 

If you draw customers based on price alone, you’re more likely to attract one-time buyers who don’t return—or draw a price-sensitive crowd. You’ll need a broader—and bigger spending— customer base to support your business over the long term.

Promotions Give Your Shop Value, Differentiation 

Race-to-the-bottom pricing gives shop owners little control over what motivates their customers—your pricing changes with the economy—which changes like the weather. 
 
Effective promotions put you in the driver’s seat. By carefully selecting the right promotion, you get to choose your customer base; by selecting the right incentives and messaging, you can choose what your customers value about your brand. 
 
Whether the added value comes through extra convenience, timely deals, or a neighborly concern for the community—it’s in your control.

Become More Than a Local Mechanic

Most businesses are just that. Transactional storefronts where customers are rushed in and out without much concern or individualized attention. Promotions demonstrate a personal interest in your customers, setting you apart from every other business trying to get a piece of their paycheck.

Don't Want to Be "Just Another" Local Mechanic? 

Changing your shop’s image might feel like a tall order. In truth, changes in perception take time and repeated exposure to take effect. However, once your efforts bear fruit, you’ll begin to see what it means to be in a category above and beyond your transactional competitors.

Learn About Conceptual Minds

As veterans of the automotive industry, the Conceptual Minds team are experts at growing car counts through effective and personable marketing. If you are unsure of your current marketing strategy and would like some guidance, contact us today at 877.524.7696.

Need help implementing winning auto repair promotions?

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