Graphic for an blog on "Why Is There Such A Large Range In Pricing Between Auto Repair Marketing Companies?". On the right side, there is an illustration of a hand holding a stack of green money bills.

Why Is There Such A Large Range In Pricing Between Auto Repair Marketing Companies?

If you’re an auto repair shop owner you’re no stranger to questions about pricing. People want to know why you’re so much higher (or lower) than the shop down the street, or why they can buy the part so much cheaper online.

It’s no different in the marketing world, and honestly, the answer isn’t that much different either.

The short answer is, you get what you pay for. But we’re going to give you the long answer as we go through this article.

There are a lot of marketing companies in the automotive industry. I recently wrote an article where I listed out who they are. Yeah… crazy, I know. But the fact is you should talk to a few, if not all of them, before you hire marketers.

But it’s possible you’ll see some pretty big fluctuations in pricing for the services between these companies. You may talk to some others who I didn’t list in that article who may be WILDLY different in price. I intentionally didn’t add in these “fly by night” or “kitchen table” companies because I didn’t want to steer people in a bad direction.

If it seems too good to be true, it is.

Let’s get into the variables that affect the pricing for marketing services in the automotive industry.

Bespoke vs Generic

The topic of bespoke vs generic extends into a lot of different areas of marketing. We can be talking about social media, websites, email newsletters, direct mail, or many other things.

But first, let me define the words bespoke and generic because bespoke isn’t a word most people use. It fits well though in this situation.

Bespoke has a few definitions:

  • Custom-made
  • Dealing in or producing custom-made goods
  • Made for a particular customer or user
  • Specially made for a particular person, organization, or purpose

The most common usage of the word “bespoke” is when referring to a custom-made suit or clothing, or a dining menu that has been curated specifically for an individual. A “bespoke suit” or “bespoke menu.”

Here are the definitions of generic:

  • Having no particular distinctive quality or application
  • Shared by, typical of, or relating to a whole group of similar things
  • Having no distinguishing characteristics

So let’s go with the idea of a bespoke suit. You go to a tailor, and they measure you. They talk to you about the look you desire, the way you want it to fit, the type of material, colors, buttons, collar, and cuffs that you want. Then they custom make your suit just for you. There is not going to be another identical suit in the world.

On the other hand, you can go to Men’s Warehouse and pick a suit off the shelf. Customization involves hemming the slacks at most. 

One of these is cheap. One of them is very expensive. One of them gets you a new suit in an hour. The other may take months. But the end result is very different.

If you want a cheap, fast website – it exists. If you want cheap, fast social media – it exists. If you want the same exact marketing that hundreds of other shops have, you can buy it, and yes, it’s cheap.

When a marketing company makes one website template and changes out the colors, pictures, and logo for each shop, they don’t have to invest many man-hours into it which allows them to sell it at a much lower price. When another company creates the design from scratch and builds your website specifically with you in mind – every icon, every font, every pixel, every word – just for you… that takes heart, soul, creativity, and an overwhelming desire for your success to get it done. And that’s not fast or cheap. 

When marketers create 30 social media posts each month and send those same posts out on hundreds of auto repair shops’ social media pages, that also does not take many man hours or much time to do, leading to cheap social media for the shop. It’s a great business model for marketers, but I could never do it. When another company creates unique posts for every one of their clients – thousands of posts each month designed to get the shop’s audience to know, like, and trust them – that takes A LOT of time and manpower to get it done – and that’s not cheap either.

I could go through this with every marketing medium, but you get the point.

Bespoke is time-consuming and expensive whereas generic is fast and cheap. But the end result is very different.

How Often Are Your Marketers Talking To You?

Another area that can impact the price of marketing is how often your marketing team is talking to you.

There’s one particular company in the industry that we hear about often during our discovery calls. People will tell us they are with this company and we always ask why they are leaving them and we’re told, “I haven’t spoken to them in months.”

People want to speak to their marketers. They want to know what’s happening in their marketing and they want to know that their marketers are working hard for them.

As marketers, we want to know our clients and we want to know what’s happening in their businesses. We know that to get your audience to know, like, and trust you, we need to share what’s happening in your world with them. And we only know that by talking to you.

But we may take it too far for you. Our typical kickoff meeting is two hours of you spending time with everyone who is going to be working on your account so they can get to know you and you can get to know them. We will spend an hour with you every month going over your report and finding out what’s happening in your business and in your life so we can produce marketing that has that know, like, trust factor.

You may not want to invest that kind of time in your marketing, and that’s ok. There are multiple companies out there who will be a better fit. And because they don’t spend the time with their clients that others do, they can sell their services cheaper.

If you want to work with marketers who truly know you – and then have that knowledge shine through in your marketing – the price tag is going to be a little larger.

How Attentive Are They?

It seems pretty often that the reason a shop owner looks for a new marketing partner is because the old one stopped being attentive to their needs. We’ve heard examples of people asking multiple times and having it take weeks to update a phone number on a website – or they tell their marketers about a misspelling in a social media post and they never correct it.

Just being real, these situations are unacceptable no matter how much or little you are paying. But they happen all the time.

I feel like most companies are un-attentive because they are understaffed. That’s a question you should ask a marketing company you are considering hiring. What’s your staff-to-client ratio?

Companies that have a low staff-to-client ratio are going to be cheaper because their labor costs are less. But they can’t serve you the way a company with a high staff-to-client ratio can. This is a metric that cruise lines like to brag about because they know how big of an impact this can have. A large cruise ship may have a 1 to 4 staff-to-client ratio whereas a luxury yacht may have a 2 to 1 ratio. Which one do you think can serve you better?

But there again, it also depends on how you define “better.” If you feel that cheap and fast is better than attentive and excellent, there are companies for you.

How To Make The Choice

I had a hard time writing this because I’m obviously biased towards quality, customization, and effectiveness. But I truly do understand that different shops have different needs based on where they are in their lifecycle.

So here’s how I would decide on what you want in a marketing company or any other vendor, especially when it comes to price.

Look for the same things you want your clients to look for.

If you compete on price then you should look for the cheapest marketers. If you compete on speed then you should look for the marketers who have the fastest time to launch. If you compete on quality then you should look for the marketers who do the highest quality work. If you compete on relationships and customer service then you should look for the marketers who are going to create the best possible relationship with you and provide amazing customer service.

You should also look at this from the standpoint of what you do not want from your clients. If you don’t want clients whose main focus is price then don’t look for the cheapest marketers. That would make you a hypocrite. If you want your clients to understand that you’re not perfect and mistakes may happen but you’ll make it right, then you should understand the same about your vendors and you should always hire vendors who you believe the same to be true of.

Could Shop Marketing Pros Be The Right Fit?

Here’s who we are at Shop Marketing Pros as related to this article.

We’re not the cheapest by any means. We’re not the fastest. We’re also not perfect.

We will get to know you better than any other marketers in the industry. My team genuinely cares that the work we do for you works for you and provides a great return. We’re attentive and will never leave you hanging. We believe that getting your audience to know, like, and trust you, your team, and your overall brand is the most effective type of marketing there is. We don’t use templates, we customize everything. We believe in Integrity: If we make a mistake, we’ll make it right.

If that sounds like a good fit, schedule a discovery call and learn more about how we can help you and what it would be like to work with us!

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.
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