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Who knew Al Capone had a sense of humor?
Always a pragmatist, the notorious gangster also displayed a keen insight into basic human behavior. “You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone,” he noted. Capone’s funny comment, however, contains a very serious message for operators.
Indeed, with only a slight change in his words, savvy carwash operators can benefit enormously by acting upon Capone’s humorous remark. If Capone were a carwash operator, he might say, “You can get much further with good equipment and a marketing plan than you can with good equipment alone.” We agree. Owners who are packin’ a written and detailed marketing plan will be wildly more successful than those who might simply be wingin’ it each week.
Making the grade
To arm our readers, to help them maximize their revenue opportunities, we have provided two separate forms or worksheets. These will help operators build a larger and more profitable customer base.
For best results, we encourage operators to make this project a team effort. To begin, invite two or three of your most tenured employees to help you grade your marketing effort, based on their perspective and experiences. Also, ask your best suppliers for their input, too. These two groups will greatly appreciate the opportunity to help you better understand your marketing strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, their insights and comments could reveal an unexplored marketing event or theme, which could become a huge success in 2013.
Once you have completed the marketing report cards and discussed them with your team members, it is instructive to ask yourself these five revealing questions:
- Are we generating enough revenue from our current customer base?
- Does our “community outreach” bring in enough new customers?
- Do we have an effective on-site strategy to convert these one-time visitors, so they will become valued and repeat customers each month?
- What are other successful retailers doing to build their customer bases?
- How can we learn more about social media, and how could it serve us? (To begin this process, readers will want to check out this helpful website: www.movingtargets.com/resources/webinars.)
Analyzing the results
When the reports cards are completed, astute operators will notice a fundamental difference between the report card and a written marketing plan. A marketing report card is a useful diagnostic tool. It is used to identify areas where attention and improvement are needed. But a marketing report card is fixed in time, once it is graded. A marketing plan, however, is best seen as a living, breathing document.
Many operators, in truth, may make two or three attempts to craft a final document, but even then, given the dynamic nature of any successful marketing plan, an operator may wish to make important revisions two or three months after beginning his plan, depending upon the level of success he has enjoyed so far.
Setting the right goals
In the sample six month marketing plan provided, you will see listed each month specific activities that will help you increase your wash counts and build your revenues. Each operator, of course, will want to customize this marketing plan to his particular market and to reach his own wash count and revenue goals. Also, I encourage you each month to announce any special promotions in advance, to keep your customer base informed; word-of-mouth advertising is always beneficial.
Operators who are most diligent and dedicated to this marketing process will attract and serve the most customers. They too will reap the greatest financial rewards. “Tiny shares of gigantic markets are abundant and profitable,” agrees Guerrilla Marketing expert Jay Levinson.
For “best in class” operators, tapping into that $23 billion market begins today.
Mike Perry has more than 30 years’ experience in retail marketing and in business-to-business sales. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 770-330-2490.