Fragmented Marketing: How It’s Hurting Your Brand + Wasting Your Money

Back when we had our shop we were figuring out marketing just like many of you are today. We were auto repair shop owners, not marketers.

I built my own website back then and I did my own SEO. Kim did our email marketing. Social media wasn’t really a thing back then so we didn’t have to worry about that. There was a company called “CustomerLink” that did our direct mail. We had ads in a few different magazines. We advertised on the back of the Kroger receipts, usually had a flier in the tube mailer, and we had some items in the local “Welcome Home Basket”. We did radio advertising, we advertised on digital billboards in some local gyms and coffee shops, and we had a booth at the annual “Southern Women’s Show”. I’ve probably left out a few things, but we were marketing all over the place.

When we first started “marketing”, we pretty much said yes to whatever salesman walked into our showroom with the opportunity of the month.

We had so much going on that we forgot we were doing half of the marketing we were doing until we got the bill for the renewal, and even then we just paid it and moved on.

Please don’t hold this against us. We weren’t marketers back then, and if you truly do learn from your mistakes, we have one heck of an education!

So What’s The Problem?

Some of you may look at this and not see a problem. After all, we still had pretty good success attracting new clients and building what would have been a pretty great business had I been a better businessman.

But here’s the problem. Our marketing was about as fragmented as it could possibly be.

What I mean by that is we had all of these marketing mediums in place with no cohesive look, no cohesive message, no cohesive offer, and no idea this was diminishing the results of our marketing efforts.

This was 2002 to 2008. It is estimated that in 2007 the average consumer saw 5000 ads per day. In 2023 the estimate is double that at 10,000 ads every single day. It is literally more important than ever that your advertising make an impact with every touch point, and it will continue to get harder and harder to do that as brands find new ways to advertise to us.

Now let’s talk about “The Marketing Rule of Seven”, which simply states that a consumer needs to see your brand message at least 7 times before they buy from you. That rule was written in the 1930s. It is estimated today that this number is probably closer to 77.

You see, the problem with fragmented marketing is that every time the consumer sees one of your ads, it feels to them like they are seeing something new. It doesn’t register with them consciously or unconsciously that the ad they are seeing is from the same company as the ones they have seen before.

On the other hand, when the look and feel of the ad is the same, the message is the same, and the offer is the same, it doesn’t matter the medium used – the consumer knows they’ve seen it before and it registers with them.

How Do I Make My Marketing Cohesive?

1. Simplify Your Marketing

The first thing you can do to make your marketing more cohesive is to simplify it. I’m a big fan of having omnipresence in your marketing, meaning that you have a presence and you’re seen everywhere – but you shouldn’t do that until you have a solid plan in place for making all of your marketing work together in a cohesive way.

Get some of the hands out of the pot. Take a minimalist approach and focus on the marketing tactics that bring you the most results, and make sure they have the look, message, and offer that represents your business the best.

2. Create A Marketing Plan

A surefire way to have fragmented marketing is to market without a plan. Your marketing plan tells you who you’re marketing to, what the message is you’re going to put in front of them, the medium you’re going to use to deliver that message, and when you’re going to do it.

By design, a marketing plan will keep you from using ineffective marketing that is spur of the moment and a waste of your money.

Creating a marketing plan sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be hard. I wrote a guide on creating a real world marketing plan for your auto repair shop. If you create a plan and actually follow it, it will be very difficult to allow your marketing to become fragmented.

3. Create A Brand Style Guide

A brand style guide is a document that shows designers and marketers how your brand is to be used and how it is not to be used.

The brand style guide will usually include the different variations of the logo, the colors that are to be used with your brand, the typography (fonts) that are to be used, slogans, and more.

It is a visual guide that is normally created by a graphic designer to be understood by graphic designers. Designers love having access to a brand style guide because they don’t have to figure out how the brand should be used.

When a brand style guide is used, it will keep the look and feel of your marketing cohesive.

If you would like to see an actual brand style guide follow this link to download ours.

4. Have One Person Responsible For ALL Of Your Marketing

This may be the most important of all of my suggestions. It’s pretty common, in small businesses especially, to have more than one person procuring marketing services without knowing what another person in the same company is doing.

But it’s about more than just having one person doing the procurement, they need to make sure all of the marketing being done is following the marketing plan they have in place.

They need to actually talk to the marketing providers and let them know about the other marketing they have going on, make sure the marketers are following the plan, and staying within the guardrails of the brand style guide.

This person should have a basic understanding of marketing and be able to have intelligent conversations with the marketers they are working with. They should be monitoring the results of the marketing and holding it accountable to the KPIs they are expecting to see.

5. Hire One Marketing Company To Do As Much Of The Marketing As Possible.

Ok, here is where this article gets a little self-serving for me. But seriously, there are a lot of companies out there who specialize in marketing auto repair shops and provide a host of services. Some of them are really good. Some of them are not. Do your own research.

In the case of us at Shop Marketing Pros, we do all of your digital marketing services. We do website design and development, digital advertising, social media management, email marketing, CRM management, and video strategy.

When you work with us or one of the other providers like us, you get to have the conversations with your customer success manager and the cohesiveness just happens. It does at SMP, anyway.

6. Hire A Fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)

If you want to hand off the marketing responsibilities to an outside service there are companies out there who will act as your Chief Marketing Officer.

These companies would be responsible for marketing strategy, planning, overseeing, and holding accountable the service providers you are working with.

I know of two companies in the automotive space who are doing this right now. I know and respect the owners of both of these companies.

These companies are:

In Conclusion

Spending the time to make sure all of your marketing works together and has a cohesive look, feel, message, and offer will amplify the results you are seeing.

If you are looking for a company to help you market your auto repair shop, we’d love to talk to you and see if we’re a fit.

The first step is to schedule a discovery call. Until then, go fill those bays!

About The Author

Brian Walker

Brian Walker is the Owner and CEO of Shop Marketing Pros, a marketing agency specializing in marketing independently owned auto repair shops. Brian is a Mercedes Benz Master Technician and has owned multiple shops and served as the Mechanical Division Director for ASA-NC.

He's a mechanic at heart who loves fixing things that are broken, which is why he loves marketing so much.

"Digging in and figuring out why a business' marketing isn't working is a lot like it was when he was elbows deep into a car that no one else could fix. When you figure it out, there's nothing else like it."

To get to do this for auto repair shop owners combines his passions, and he couldn't be more excited about helping shop owners.