Accelerate to Innovate
If you have been out shopping for a new car recently, you probably discovered that cars are smarter and have more bells and whistles than ever before. Not only do they get you from point A to point B, some can get you there on less than a gallon of gas. They talk to you and tell you exactly how to get to your destination, they answer your phone, play your favorite songs, alert you if they suspect you have fallen asleep at the wheel and even massage your back as you drive.
Cars are getting smarter all right, and not just because car manufacturers felt like creating smart cars. They did it because they had to, in order to to compete and survive. Now, post-recession, the fruits of this innovation are starting to pay off with a renewed strength in auto sales. And with strength in sales, there is typically renewed strength in marketing, which is where you come in.
So What's Popular with Automotive Products?
Paul Dubois, marketing manager for Ready 4 Kits, Keene, N.H., mentioned auto kits. "We see a lot of orders for mid-priced auto kits that dealerships are giving out after the sale," he said. Jaime Morgan, assistant category manager for Leed's, New Kensington, Pa., claimed, "The big interest is in organizers, [more specifically] trunk organizers."
But those aren't the only products you should consider when presenting products to buyers. "There are so many segments of this market that can be targeted and a variety of products that are needed," said Dubois. From T-shirts and hats to ice scrapers, emergency roadside tool kits, travel mugs and keychains, the ability to keep a brand consistently in front of the end-buyer is easy. "We use our cars every day," said Morgan. "And are constantly reminded of who gave us the product and see the logo all the time."
When it comes to targeting businesses, Dubois mentioned there is a largely untapped market in car dealerships. "Go visit your local dealerships. I believe this is a neglected area of opportunity and every town has several dealerships right in its backyard," he said. "They are looking for new and creative ways to attract and retain customers and we all know that promotional products are the best way to do so." Dubois gave an example of such creativity with a job Ready 4 Kits just did. The end-buyer was a U.S. auto parts manufacturer running a safety award for their employees. They did a large safety kit which was customized to include a brass medallion with the number of accident-free days. The medallion was made by another supplier in the industry and sent to Ready 4 Kits to include in the kit. The item was gift-boxed with a letter of recognition personalized to each employee. "The final product came out looking great," said Dubois. "This type of personalized promotion is practical for clients in any industry."