Specialists: marketing buzzword sugar

Alan Belniakbusiness, Marketing1 Comment

It would have been great if you told me BEFORE my hood caught fire...

There is this gas station/repair garage near where I used to live.  It wasn’t one of the major chains, but more of an independent place.  I’d stop in about half the time because their prices were competitive, but also because they were on the same side of the road as my gas tank was on my car, and I got good friendly service.

After going there a few times, I noticed that they had this banner (maybe 4 feet by 4 feet), all white, with huge red text on it: “’CHECK ENGINE’ SPECIALISTS”.


This is marketing at its finest.  They probably spent only a couple hundred bucks on a sign.  They had it strapped high on their building, and on a busy street, so it got lots of eyeballs.  But the simplicity of the message is the power.  This message caters to the non-automotive-savvy folks, in a very clear way.  In many cars, the check engine light pops on after some pre-determined threshold (say, 50k miles).  Some people contest that this is a ploy to get you into the dealer so they can get you for other service.  The reality is that turning off the light is often the flip of a switch, but the dealer will try to sell you with other services.  To be fair, I should point out that the dealer will also likely fix the reason the light came on in the first place… but not without suggesting other things that could be fixed as well.

This place might have the same motives, but many people distrust auto dealers for service, so seeking service elsewhere is not uncommon.  And if ‘elsewhere’ has an attractive, luring sign, then they stand a good chance at getting some business.

Create a message that appeals to the masses, or at a minimum, your target market.  Don’t confuse it, don’t muddy it up with gobbled-gook, and offer it as a solution, not  a feature or benefit.

image: modernemily’s Flickr photostream

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