What separates many successful tire dealerships from those merely making ends meet? Sometimes, it's a matter of one or two creative ideas successfully implemented. That's why two seemingly similar dealerships within the same community can wind up with vastly differing records of success.
As a rule, innovative business people not only are more successful, they also remain better motivated and derive more enjoyment from their work than their less-creative business colleagues.
Take the example of Bob Katz, whose dealership, Nu-Tread Tire & Auto Service Center in East Boston, Mass., recently received one of the first Marketing Masters Awards sponsored by Inc. magazine and Lexmark Industries.
What brought Mr. Katz and his dealership nationwide attention in the magazine's November issue is Nu-Tread's practice of providing free parking and shuttle service to and from nearby Logan airport for customers leaving their cars behind for service while they're away.
This concept, which allows the dealership to attract tire and automotive service customers from outside the dealership's normal trading area, has proven so successful, Mr. Katz is attempting to franchise it.
But this is not the only case in which he has called on his creative abilities to make his business stand apart from the competition.
Six years ago, following the birth of his son, Mark, and Goodyear's introduction of its Aquatred tire, the proud father mailed out flyer's heralding ``Nu-Tread's newest arrivals—Mark Katz and Aquatred.'' Later, similar mailings introduced the Katz family's new twins—Joel and Emily—and Goodyear's then-equally new Eagle Aquatred tire, with twin aquachannels.
Such innovative marketing approaches are neither costly nor difficult to undertake. But they do require time for doing some creative thinking—something that can be difficult for busy dealers.
But when creative marketing succeeds in capturing public attention, the results often are spectacular enough to make a good business year even better.