How to Create Marketing that Gets Ignored

With individuals being bombarded with more than 3,000 marketing messages a day, here’s how you can create marketing for your shop that stands out from the competition.

With individuals being bombarded with more than 3,000 marketing messages a day, here’s how you can create marketing for your shop that stands out from the competition.


I was listening to a great story being explained by Eric Twiggs to one of our clients, and I thought you would enjoy it. He said marketing is not the real key to your success. Now that I have your attention, let me clarify the point. I am reminded of the story of a young man who had an encounter with an older rich man wearing an expensive suit. The young man asked him how he made his money. “Marketing was the key to my success,” replied the older man. “I invested a nickel in an apple. I spent the entire day polishing the apple and at the end of the day, I sold the apple for 10 cents.

“The next morning, I invested those 10 cents in two apples. I spent the entire day polishing them and sold them at five o’clock for 20 cents. I continued this system for a month and accumulated a fortune of $9.80 cents. Then my wife’s cousin died and left us $2 million!” Marketing alone does not guarantee your success!

Remarkable marketing is the real key to getting more cars to your shop. Competition for your customer’s attention is at an all-time high. According to a 2010 study conducted by Hotmail, the average customer gets four marketing-related emails per day from various businesses. A recent New York Times study revealed the average person is exposed to 3,000 marketing messages a day when you factor in TV, radio, email, newspaper, the Internet and visits to the local store.

Your customer wants to know what makes your facility different from others out there. If the ad you create fails to answer this question, it will get lost in the clutter and ignored. This begs the question: How do you create marketing that triggers an emotional response? As you read on, you will learn my three keys to creating marketing that stands out and increases your car count. You will also learn why your marketing has been ignored in the past and how to avoid making the same mistakes.

Compelling headline


According to a study by Copyblogger, 80 percent of customers will read your headline, but only 20 percent will read the rest of your content. Based on what they read, they decide whether to continue reading or not. If your headline fails to make an impact, your marketing will get lost in the clutter I mentioned earlier. There are three ways to make your headline compelling.

First, you need to keep it short, a statement of seven to 10 words at the most. Shorter headlines are easier to read and remember. Another effective technique is to create curiosity through shock value. The title of this article is an example. The typical reaction to this type of headline is “where is he going with this?” The curiosity created from the surprise will motivate the customer to keep reading.

A second example of a shock value headline is one I saw from a repair facility advertising an air conditioning service promotion. The shop owner used the following statement: “Your Wife Is Hot.” As you read on, you realize that the point of the ad was to get you to come in and get your air conditioner serviced so your wife doesn’t have to ride in a hot car.

Lastly, your headline should hold a promise of a future benefit. In addition to wanting to know what makes you different, your customer wants to know what’s in it for them. Your headline should communicate how their lives will be better as a result of reading your copy. For example, many of the email newsletters I see from facilities have a headline that reads: “April Monthly Newsletter.” If your goal is to be ignored, then this is a good way to do it! A better statement would be: “How To Keep Your Old Car Running Longer.”

Valuable offer

As humans, we feel a natural obligation to reward a positive action with another positive action in return. The technical term for this is the law of reciprocity. Studies show that reciprocity is a powerful marketing trigger. For example, researchers in the restaurant industry discovered a major difference in the tips received by waiters who left a mint on the tray when bringing the check compared to those restaurants that did not. The waiters who left a mint received up to 20 percent more in additional tip dollars. This is why a marketing piece that demonstrates added value will get more attention than one that does not. Below are two ways to communicate value in your offers.

First, make sure you use dollars and not a percent to communicate savings in your ad. It is easier for the customer to feel a $25 savings than 10 percent off. Remember, you take dollars to the bank, not percentages. Using dollars also makes it easier to control your marketing costs. A “10% off” promotion on an engine sale will cost you more than a “$25 off of any purchase over $200 dollars” offer will.

Second, be sure to communicate both the regular and sale price. Your customer will feel more value if they know how much they are saving. If you advertise a winterization special for $89.99, I may not understand the value of the offer. If you tell me that the regular price is $129.99, and the sale price is $89.99, the value is clear. When marketing can communicate a clear and valuable offer, it’s less likely to get ignored.

Effective testimonials

According to Nielson research, 92 percent of customers surveyed reported that they trust recommendations from other customers more than any other form of advertising. In this section, I will share my two keys to effective testimonials. First, the testimonials must look authentic. One way to accomplish this is to include a picture of the customer giving the testimonial along with the testimonial itself. It helps to do market research to determine who your ideal customer is before posting the pictures. For example, if your research indicates your ideal customer is a female between the ages of 35 and 40, it would be good to have a picture of a happy customer from this demographic. Doing this will attract more of your ideal customers to you. If you are advertising on the Internet, video testimonials are very effective as well.

The second key is to have the testimonial communicate the results that your customers care most about. Based on ATI research, the typical automotive customer is looking for fast service, accurate diagnosis and honest estimates. It will be harder for a customer to ignore marketing that features a testimonial from someone who looks like them and demonstrates the results they are looking for in a repair facility.

So there you have it. By having a compelling headline, valuable offer and effective testimonials, your marketing will get noticed in spite of all the competition. If you apply these three keys to your next ad, your marketing will not get lost in the clutter.

Are you doing everything you can to get more cars to your facility? Find out by completing the ATI Car Count Checklist. We have created a checklist with 34 acquisition and retention strategies to consider to stabilize your car count. For a copy, email me at

Editor’s Note: This article is one in a series of management articles contributed to AutoInc. by Automotive Management Institute (AMI) instructors. To learn more about AMI, its courses and instructors, visit AMI administers the distinguished Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) program.