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Marketing & Promotion: Creative Approaches Give You a Competitive Edge

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Profit Handbook, Marketing & Promotion: Creative Approaches Give You a Competitive Edge
Newspaper ads. Yellow Pages. Radio spots. Flyers. Direct mail. And if you can afford it, the occasional cable TV commercial.
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These are the basic marketing and promotion tools available to every tire dealer. All come with varying price tags, and all afford varying returns on your communications investment.

But a touch of creativity – and a little elbow grease – can add mileage to any marketing and promotion effort – and potentially save you dollars in the process.

As network television has taught us, there aren’t many new ideas out there, but there a lot of good ones that can be revived.

Sales, Sales, Sales
With the major retailers, Christmas always comes in July, February means it’s time for a white sale, and let’s not forget the early summer "back to school" specials. These tried and true promotions have been around forever.

The key to each is that they’re tied to specific events. So why not follow their example and create your own unique promotions?

Does your local community have any special annual events or festivals? How about the local high school or college’s homecoming?

With some creative thinking, anyone can come up some unique and memorable sale events they can make their own. And build on from year to year.

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Community Involvement
We can’t think of an easier way to build your name and reputation in your market. For nominal effort and minimal dollars, you can get your name across to hundreds – even thousands – of potential customers.

Youth sports teams are always looking for sponsors, and many sports leagues and local schools are constantly seeking banner or program advertisers. Many church bulletins take business card ads, as well.

Are there any local civic groups – Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Rotarians, Lions Club – you can assist with their fundraising efforts?

Why not take your store team and assist a local Habitat for Humanity project? Local newspapers are always glad to come and take pictures of those kinds of community efforts.

How about conducting car and tire care classes for a local adult education program? Or even spending a day with local high school students teaching them the basics of changing a tire or checking their vehicle fluids?

Tire & Car Care Clinics
Many tire and parts companies have pre-packaged programs available to help you successfully plan and execute tire and/or car care clinics.

These after-hours programs are easy to develop and easy to conduct. And they can be especially helpful if you’re trying to build business among female or senior citizen consumers. These two groups tend to be wary of being "taken advantage of," and welcome pressure-free opportunities to learn how to best care for their major investments. These clinics can help make you their best choice for future tire and service needs.

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Some light snacks, a little punch, an easy-to-understand presentation, and perhaps a small gift – like a tire gauge or refrigerator magnet – will give you a well-earned reputation as a dealer who cares about his customers.

Borrowed Ideas
As you’ll see in the accompanying story, Griffin Brothers Tire borrowed a good idea from another retail segment, creating a perpetual promotion system for itself.

And there are dozens of others – preferred customer discounts, cross-marketing with other local businesses, discount coupons for local theatres, employee discount programs for local businesses, special discounts for local police and fire personnel – waiting for your individual touch.

We’ve even heard of a retailer who during homecoming week gives discounts to anyone who "disposes" of clothing bearing the rival school’s name in a special dumpster at his store.

The sky – and your imagination – are the limit.

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