Data. It sounds boring, right?
But what if that data could help you save a fortune on your advertising bill, by allowing you to target exactly the right potential customers with exactly the right message to get them through your workshop door?
Suddenly, data is a much more interesting idea. It’s something that has the potential to transform the efficiency of your advertising and boost your turnover.
What if we told you it was also very easy to do? And that many Capricorn Members were already using this data and reaping the benefits? You’d think about it, right?
In this article we’ll explain exactly how those Capricorn Members are using the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association’s (AAAA) Car Parc tool to target their advertising in an incredibly efficient way, and how you can do it, too.
Meet Cathy from Bentleigh Automotive Services
Darren and Cathy Shaw operate Bentleigh Automotive Services, a Bosch Service centre, in Bentleigh East, in Victoria. They’re no strangers to the industry, having previously owned Malvern Auto Electrical.
Darren had expanded the Malvern business to include mechanical servicing and when the Bentleigh auto electrical business joined the Bosch network, Bosch asked him to do the same at his new workshop.
“Because we started a business without any servicing work, and that’s what we were concentrating on, we used the Car Parc tool to look up the most popular cars in our area and target all our marketing and advertising,” Cathy said.
“Using Car Parc we can look up our council area, see the most popular cars and see how that’s changed over the past five years.
“The most popular cars are Toyotas and Mazdas but now because we’re a Bosch workshop and we’d like to concentrate on European servicing — and Mercedes and BMWs are the ninth and tenth most popular cars in our council area in the Car Parc data.
“But the tool also shows us that in a nearby council, which we’re also targeting, Mercedes is number four and BMW is higher up. So, we look at that and we know we can get a lot of work from that council area, because we’re quite close to the boundary.”
That little piece of information — that the council next door has a lot more European cars than their local area — helps Darren and Cathy decide where to spend their hard-earned advertising dollars. They know they’ll get much more bang for their buck by targeting potential customers on the other side of the council boundary.
How Car Parc works and the data available
AAAA’s Car Parc is an interactive tool that generates a customized report to help you find out what vehicles are the most popular in your area.
You can use that data to help with all kinds of business planning — not just advertising, but even things like which spare parts to keep in stock and which training to invest in for your team.
It uses actual statewide and national demographic data. At a click of a button you can get detailed information about the cars being used in any local government area in the country.
It’s also stunningly simple to use. You simply choose a postcode and Car Parc generates a series of graphical reports with incredibly useful data.
Let’s look at an example of the data available, using the postcode for Darren and Cathy’s workshop — 3165.
As Cathy said, most vehicles in the local area are Toyotas and Mazdas. There is a good number of VWs and a handful of Mercedes and BMWs.
But this simple slide tells you a lot more than that. By comparing the 2014 and 2019 figures, you can also see the trends. The number of Toyotas and Mazdas are growing, while the number of Holdens is shrinking. In some good news for Darren and Cathy, the trends show the number of European cars is also rising.
Car Parc then gives you the top models by council area. Darren and Cathy might hope to see a lot of VW Golfs drive onto the workshop apron.
The data tells them there’s 2,238 of them driving around the local area that are more than five years old, out of warranty, and likely to need servicing at some point.
The data also tells them there are 1,011 VWs less than five years old. That’s the pipeline of future customer growth for Darren and Cathy for this particular model in their local area.
The Car Parc data also gives you a breakdown of who owns these vehicles by key demographics — including by age, which is very useful if you’re advertising on platforms like Facebook, where you can target very specific groups.
This particular slide also tells you how many cars households in the local area generally have. In Darren and Cathy’s case, it’s more than one — which is why asking customers if they have another car that needs a service is always a good idea!
Car Parc then gives you a breakdown of the most popular models of all the most popular makes for the area selected. We’re showing VWs here because Darren and Cathy are targeting European makes, but Car Parc also provided all the data for Toyotas, Mazdas, Subarus, and so on.
Deploying Car Parc Data to supercharge your advertising
Knowing what kinds of cars are driving around your local area is handy, but it’s how you use that information that really matters.
One of the key ways Cathy uses that data is in deciding the workshop’s advertising strategy and spend.
“I go into it when I review our marketing, quarterly, with our website people,” Cathy said. “We use it to decide our SEO keywords and we use it for the demographics for our Facebook marketing.”
And has that helped get more customers through the door?
“It has,” Cathy said. “We know because we’ve been changing our database of customers from auto electrical to servicing work and it’s just really helped us focus our extensive SEO keywords, internet, Google AdWords, and Facebook advertising.
“We’ve changed our whole market in the past three years compared to what the workshop received before and how they were finding us. People come in now and say, ‘Oh, do you still do auto electrical work?’ Whereas before, they were only coming in for auto electrical.”
Taking the potential of Car Parc data even further
Lesley Yates is the Director of Government Relations & Advocacy at the AAAA. She said workshops around the country were starting to use Car Parc as an essential tool in their marketing.
She said it allowed Members to get their marketing message right.
“For example, if you have a lot of VW Golfs in your area, you could be saying ‘in the month of February we’ve got a special on servicing your Golf: every Golf gets 10% off’.
“You’re also saying to the community ‘if you drive a VW Golf, we’ve got staff that are trained specifically in that model’.”
But while using it to correctly target your SEO keywords and Google AdWords is an excellent use of the tool, Lesley urged Capricorn Members to also think beyond online advertising.
Data might be digital, but advertising comes in many forms.
“Let’s say you do discover that there are a whole lot of Volkswagen Golfs in your local community,” Lesley said. “Why aren’t you putting some signage up to say you service VWs? Because, let’s face it, if you’re based in the local community, people are driving past you and they will see the sign.
“There are all sorts of things that you can do once you’ve got some tools; you really begin to think about what happens if you step outside the workshop and go into the community.
“Sponsor the local school’s newsletter, reach out and ask if you can do something for the local fete: ‘can I donate a car service for the school raffle?’
“And get onto things like your local area’s Facebook group. Most communities now have a good karma network or some kind of community Facebook, and are asking each other ‘do you know a good electrician? Do you know a good mechanic?’ Seek out those opportunities.”
A last word on advertising and the Car Parc tool
Back at Bentleigh Automotive Services, Cathy said in the two years she had been using its data, the Car Parc tool had helped transform their business.
Diversifying a workshop into new fields is no easy feat. It takes time for the local community to understand you’ve expanded from auto electrical into mechanical servicing. While that journey takes a lot of hard work, Cathy said Car Parc had helped make it easier.
“The biggest thing I can say is you don’t have to be the expert in the vehicles in your area,” Cathy said. “There’s something else there that’s got all the data and you can just use that.
“There’s no need to work at trying to find the data; you just have to look at the figures in Car Parc and then you can work out what you’re doing.
“You don’t have to work at it. It’s quite easy — it’s just on the screen whenever you want it.”
When you put it like that, data doesn’t sound boring at all, does it?
Want to try AAAA’s Car Parc tool? AAAA members can click here.