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Marketing to customers is when age can matter

Marketing to customers is when age can matter

You may have heard that effective marketing is all about understanding the customer.  Contrary to the practice of many parts managers . . . It’s not about how you want to sell parts, it’s about how they want to buy.

Most parts managers today focus on managing and growing their business rather than the external needs of their customers.  And let’s face it, the average parts manager holds a lot of seniority so, of course, they already know their market, right? Well, not always.

Market “needs” are now heavily based on your customer’s generation.  Here’s a crash course in understanding how differently your customers tick.

1. Recognize Generational Differences

For the 1st time, 4 different generations make up today’s workforce, including:


Years Born

    What They Care About
Silent Generation

1925 – 1945

    Showing I’m still relevant
Baby Boomers

1946 – 1964

    Save me money
Gen X

1965 – 1980

    Prove your product/service is better
Gen Y (Millennials)

1981 – 2000

    Make it easy for me

Since each generation has a different buying preference, understanding your customer demographic is critical.  But don’t forget that regardless of age, your customers care about price and quality.  In fact, the aftermarket thrives on these concerns. The good news is that today’s technology has created effective marketing by targeting buying concerns with competitive pricing.

2. Understand Buying Criteria

Looking further, we can gain more insight behind these preferences. Babcox’s 2015 Industry Profile surveyed body shops on their most important buying criteria:

In Stock (supplier consistently has part)1.4                                                    
High Quality1.4
Delivery Time1.6
Low Price2.3
Relationship with Sales Rep2.6
Offer both Recycled & Aftermarket (one stop shop)3.9

Interestingly, price actually showed up 4th in the list behind availability, quality and delivery time – all factors that affect time and repair cost. Looking deeper revealed pricing is only one factor, which means parts departments can focus on overall customer service – at competitive prices – using OE parts that fit correctly 94% of the time versus 62% for certified aftermarket and 28% for non-certified aftermarket.

3. Look at How Customers Market Themselves

Here’s something you may have not have expected: Collision repairers depend on Social Media more than dealership parts departments. 50% of survey respondents – which comprise 68% of independent, single location facilities – promote themselves through Social Media.

How do you market your services - chart

What does this mean? Repairers see value in Social Media.  As a result, you should strategize your own social media approach to build effective marketing.

In short, better understanding your customers is the first step to building a customer-centric sales approach for a healthier bottom line. So what’s the next step? Check out this article to get you moving.