<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1628844417177726&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Our Blog

Our latest articles, all in one place.

Paul the Tire Guy

DATE PUBLISHED: March 16, 2010
You have had that day too, right? You walk out the door, take a look at your tires, and think to yourself, "yep, dog don't hunt." There are few activities in life I detest more than getting new tires. It's right up there with root canals and cleaning gutters. And really, how many of us actually know the first thing about tires. Most of the time I get the feeling that when I walk into the shop to get the tires, the guy standing there is thinking he may be able to afford that house in Bermuda after all.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the tire shop this time around. I went in expecting another horrible experience, and instead walked out with a renewed respect for small business owners in this day and age. And here was the really surprising part: I learned something new about marketing too. When you walk into Paul Diamond's garage in an industrial strip in San Rafael, you may not know that you are looking at a real, bonafide, marketing guru.

You see, Paul has figured out a problem that has flummoxed most big brands and their even bigger agencies. This problem is that marketing is not longer just marketing anymore. What I mean by that is brands used to be able to interact with the consumer in very precise and understood steps. You are thinking about my product, so that means I do marketing. You are considering a purchase, so now I am in sales mode. You have bought my product, so now I engage with you via customer service and support.

All very nice and tidy. And completely the world we do not live in today. Here is an example. You walk into a Borders store. You buy a book. You go to the cashier. They ask whether you found everything you were looking for. They ask if they can ring you up. They ask you whether you would like to become a member of Borders Rewards and receive a discount on your purchase. You join and by the time you get home there is a coupon for thirty percent off your next purchase.

Stop and think for a moment of the number of touch points we just described. And then ask yourself whether that was sales, marketing, customer service, retention marketing, or demand generation? You see the problem now, right? It's all of those things…and all being delivered at the same time as part of the same conversation. No longer do we have our tidy little boxes to shoehorn the consumer into. This is why marketing is no longer just marketing anymore.

Which brings us to Paul the Tire Guy. Paul gets this better than most big company CMOs. Maybe it's because as a small company owner every customer is that much more important to his survival. When I walked into the garage, the first thing he did was ask if I was able to find him and how I had found out about him in the first place. I had found him through one of the usual suspects: Yelp. He duly noted that down and then expertly delivered my paperwork to me before I even had time to think about. He then asked me to review the pricing and tires and make sure they were delivering what we had agreed upon, instantly starting to build trust with me.

It was exactly what we had agreed to, so I was led to their lounge to wait while the tires were fitted. Research has proven that extra dollars spent on customer service and support pay back in additional sales down the road…just ask Zappos. This was also not lost on Paul. His waiting room was not some squalid littler corner of the garage. It had good furniture, a nice television, the latest instant cappuccino machine and car magazines that were actually up to date. Sure he could have gone with the minimum here, but he didn't. I actually enjoyed my time waiting for the work to be done.

Before I knew it, the car was done. Under promise and over deliver. I knew he had slightly overshot the time to do the car, but the fact that it was done "earlier" meant something, pointing to more trust and professionalism that had been reinforced with the waiting room. As I paid for the tires, Paul told me that as a customer I was able to get free tire rotations, smoothly moving right into retention mode.

Stop and think for a moment of the number of touch points I just described. And then ask yourself whether that was sales, marketing, customer service, retention marketing, or demand generation? Or, you could just throw out those marketing guru books and just go ask Paul the Tire Guy.

Contact us for a free consultation!