No one likes to be stereotyped. Too often marketing “professionals” make assumptions about age or gender groups because it is easier than dealing with individuals. Stereotypes can cloud your judgment when it comes to your shop and how you market to new customers to hopefully expand your business.
I have my own mistakes. I once believed that some millennials did not understand history. This stereotype came from an HR course on how to manage millennials. The reason given for their hate of history was that the schools cut history classes from the curriculum so students could be drilled for standardized tests.
While the rationale for this stereotype is logical, it is not true. Some of the millennials I have known have a better view of world history because they can examine different perspectives using the internet. Some have knowledge and comprehension of history better than most older people.
I found this out when I had a great conversation with a millennial car guy who was a walking history lecture on how the 1967 and 1973 oil embargos changed cars—killing muscle cars and making imports more acceptable. Never underestimate a person on just their age.
Articles and advertisement for training cross my desk talking about how a shop could be missing out on a critical up and coming demographic. These articles usually start out with numbers on the size and marketing potential of a particular demographic in millions and billions of dollars. Then, they go into the part about how they are different from you and how you won’t be able to understand them. It all wraps up with how you can take advantage of their buying at your shop with modern marketing ideas.
Most of these articles miss the point. Outstanding service and quality are appreciated by everyone, no matter their age, gender or sexual orientation. Everyone wants their vehicles repaired quickly and economically, and they want the process to be as painless as possible. They want to feel good about the entire transaction and not have their demographic tendencies tickled.
If you work on the essential core competencies of fixing vehicles, you won’t often lose a customer and you will gain customers if the customer leaves a good review or tells their friends.
Focusing in on what makes a demographic different and trying to tailor your business to service these false needs could actually backfire and be perceived as patronizing, or “not authentic” by a customer. People know when they are being played.
Technical training and investments in tools can go a lot further with a customer than having the most current magazines in your waiting room or gourmet coffee. People come to your facility to get their vehicle fixed, not to read “The New Yorker” and drink special coffee.
Just look at any online review. Rarely will the review talk about the waiting room or bathroom. But, they will talk about the communication with the person at the front counter and if the vehicle was fixed correctly the first time.