Executive Interview: Jeff Blocher, Vice President Sales, & Dave McColley, Vice President Marketing and Product Development, Wix Filters -

Executive Interview: Jeff Blocher, Vice President Sales, & Dave McColley, Vice President Marketing and Product Development, Wix Filters

WIX Filter's Jeff Blocher, vice president of sales, and Dave McColley, vice president of marketing and product development, work hand-in-hand to build the WIX brand. In their time working together on WIX Filters marketing, these two dedicated members of the WIX Filters and Affinia Group families have led a shift in the ways which WIX engages with customers, markets its brand and serves the aftermarket.

WIX Filter’s Jeff Blocher, vice president of sales, and Dave McColley, vice president of marketing and product development, work hand-in-hand to build the WIX brand. In their time working together on WIX Filters marketing, these two dedicated members of the WIX Filters and Affinia Group families have led a shift in the ways which WIX engages with customers, markets its brand and serves the aftermarket.
jeff blocher
SO: Jeff – Last year you were promoted to VP of Sales for WIX Filters from your former position as brand manager. How’s the view from the other side of the sales and marketing fence?
Following a legend is never easy. And, that was exactly my challenge in replacing Bill Sheehan, WIX’s VP of Sales for more than 25 years. In the past 12 months we’ve worked hard to coordinate our efforts between WIX marketing and sales. Through these efforts we’ve done what we have always done and that is create a coordinated sales and marketing program that is off to a fast start. For example, our sales team is now actively supporting sales promotions in the field — like the Mechanix Wear@ Glove Giveaway. That program is a success because it is simple to understand and easy for the counter professionals and distributors to implement. The program also gives people another really good ­reason to buy WIX filters.

What I have seen on the “other side of the fence” is a different perspective on the same thing we have been doing at WIX for more than 70 years and that is helping our customers at all levels sell more filters.

SO: Dave – What are your goals for the WIX brand?
The WIX brand is built on a 70-plus year legacy of quality and innovation. Our people, whose families often span generations with the company, take great pride in the quality of every filter that comes off the line. And, our engineers are the best in the business. We consistently design filters that stand up to the toughest tests, solve our customers’ problems and protect their engines. As long as we hold true to those core ­values, the WIX brand will continue to grow and be very well respected in the aftermarket.

SO: Jeff – One of the most powerful branding vehicles that WIX has utilized over the years is motorsports. Why are motorsports such a key piece of the puzzle for WIX and how has your ­participation changed over the years?
WIX has supported racers for more than 50 years – beginning with Richard Petty in the 1960s to the 2011 NASCAR champion, Tony Stewart.
Dave McColley
Our customers appreciate our partnerships with race teams because they know the knowledge we gain on the track is translated to the filters they trust to protect their engines. They also enjoy the insider access we’re able to provide and the sweepstakes we offer that award race-trip packages across the country.

Our engineers love racing for another reason. They enjoy getting their hands dirty and developing filters for race teams that help them save precious ­seconds, while protecting their engines during grueling 500-mile stress tests.

We also understand the importance of the brand exposure with millions of fans around the world.

Today, WIX’s involvement in motorsports spans stock cars, dragsters, open wheel racers, dirt bikes, and blue ­collar heroes giving it their all at hometown tracks. We’ve also developed Team WIX — a 20,000-strong group of hometown racers that have connected through TeamWIX.com for gear, filter discounts and sharing ­photos and stories of their triumphs.

SO: Dave – Give us your thoughts on social media and its role in marketing and brand strategy today. How does WIX participate in social media?
Social media is still a growing platform in our industry. Let’s face it; professionals in the automotive repair industry don’t sit behind a computer or check e-mails on their iPhones all day. We work with our hands, we deal with customers, and we solve problems.

Still, many of our customers do spend a lot of their free time online and communicating through social media. We use our social media platforms on Facebook (www.facebook.com/wixfilters), ­Twitter (@wixfilters) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/thewixfilters) to communicate, entertain and have a bit of fun with our followers. We educate too when appropriate, but we try to keep the groups focused on our shared passion for racing, vehicle maintenance and all types of engines.

SO: Jeff – Do you believe the role of online media and social media is fundamentally changing how you do business?
Fundamentally? No. The automotive aftermarket is a business built on relationships. One of our most important sales and marketing programs is our WIX H2 mobile marketing unit which attends around 200 events a year —from store events to races and tradeshows and even school and community activities. Making those connections in the real world is critical. What the online world provides is another medium to connect with our customers. For example, when we actively promote H2 events through Facebook and Twitter we experience double the attendance at customer events.

So, it’s a combination of supporting our customers through WIX promotions, advertising, direct, social media and public relations efforts that generate a tremendous return for each of our customers.

SO: Dave – Your advertising is shifting in 2012. Tell us about the new campaign?

We love engines. Engines are what make us and our customers go. Our new campaign is based on this shared passion of engines. You’ll see the tagline, “We love engines,” in all of our new print, TV and online advertising. The story really comes to life on our Facebook and YouTube pages where customers can watch some of our partners, like Ryan Newman, ­discuss his love of engines and then share their own stories. It is a powerful platform for the future of our brand. We’ve also integrated QR codes — those little boxes on ads and packaging that resemble UPC symbols — into our campaign so readers can get the full experience through their smart phones and tablets.

We’ve received great feedback from shop owners on the ways in which we are pushing the envelope with new technologies and engagement strategies that really pull in and ­educate the consumer on the benefits of the WIX brand.

SO: Jeff – What’s next for WIX?
More innovation. More passion for quality. More products to sell. There is a lot going right at WIX. Our fill rates are the best in the business. Our new product development cycle is quicker than ever. WIX has maintained its coverage of light duty applications above 99 percent of registered vehicles in the North American aftermarket for years. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to maintain that track record of innovation, quality and service, while at the same time working hard to convert more new customers, turn all of our current customers into brand advocates and keep the spirit alive with those that already know what we know – WIX loves engines, and that passion drives everything we do.

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