SO: Federated Car Care Center membership has grown significantly over the last several years. What makes this such a popular program?
JM: The Federated Car Care Center program continues to set the standard when it comes to providing complete support to the nation’s best automotive service providers. We have seen significant growth in Car Care membership and based on member feedback, we believe our program provides the best training, marketing support and brand name quality parts in the industry.
We have made it our goal to provide our Car Care Centers with the resources they need to compete everyday and have worked hard to provide them with tools to keep service and repair top-of-mind among their customers. By helping them communicate effectively with motorists about the importance of maintaining their vehicles, we can help them grow their businesses. We have been able to attract so many new Car Care Center members because they realize Federated is committed to their success.
SO: You recently made several enhancements to the Federated Car Care program. Can you discuss those enhancements and how they benefit your Car Care Center members?
JM: We have several new additions and enhancements to the Federated Car Care program, including the free Roadside Assistance program and the dedicated Federated Car Care website, which features a web page for each Car Care Center member. A central feature of our Car Care program is comprehensive marketing support, which includes updated point-of-sale materials, signage and popular promotions like “Get Dirty with Kennys” and the “‘Sweet Ride Sweepstakes.” Car Care Center members also have access to a variety of training programs, including AutoIQ, an online consumer education system, as well as discounts on ASE prep tests and ASE test cost reimbursement. Federated leads in providing brand name quality parts and our supplier partners provide a tremendous amount of support to help differentiate the Federated Car Care program from others in the industry. And, Federated Car Care Centers continue to receive national advertising support, including the new sponsorship of the “Two Guys Garage” show on SPEED which premiered in May.
SO: Speaking of “Two Guys Garage,” Federated has partnered with the TV show on SPEED for the first time in 2011. How has the partnership been going?
PM: Federated is very excited about sponsoring the “Two Guys Garage” show and the partnership is going very well. Federated has a strong presence on the show and our messages are reaching our target audience of professional service technicians and consumers who are concerned about protecting one of their largest investments, their vehicle.
SO: How does Federated’s association with “Two Guys Garage” benefit Federated Car Care Center members?
PM: We entered into the “Two Guys Garage” sponsorship as a means to further support our Car Care Center members. The show emphasizes the quality parts and service Federated Car Care Centers and auto parts stores provide with the ultimate goal of educating viewers about the benefits of vehicle maintenance, quality parts and professional service.
We will have high visibility on the show with the Federated “Sweet Ride” project covering four full episodes. The two guys, Bryan Fuller and Kevin Byrd, have teamed up with Federated spokespersons and NASCAR legends Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace to work on a 2004 Corvette convertible. The completed Corvette will become the grand prize of the Federated Car Care “Sweet Ride Sweepstakes,” so one lucky Car Care member will take home this really sweet ride.
Federated and its manufacturing partners will not only be featured on the “Sweet Ride” project but will also sponsor nine individual tech tips featuring special problem-solving or educational projects throughout the season. These tech tips reinforce the professional expertise of our Car Care Center members.
SO: Federated runs strong promotional programs. Why are these promotions important and what kind of feedback have you received from participants?
JM: Federated promotions are designed to show our appreciation to our customers and associates for their support and involvement. We have promotional programs that reward technicians and shop owners, as well as counter and outside sales people. Most often our promotions are designed to say “thank you” or recognize outstanding performance. We get tremendous feedback from our customers and associates, and the one thing we continue to hear is to “keep it simple.”
SO: You mentioned that Federated leads in selling name brand parts. How important is this to your customers?
PM: Supplying premium- quality branded products is one reason Federated is the preferred supplier for so many shops. Name brand suppliers provide more than just high quality parts. They also offer technical training, marketing support, catalogs, field sales support and other value-added programs that help differentiate Federated from others in the marketplace. To complement our name brand parts lines, we also offer quality co-label products produced exclusively for Federated by some of our best vendor partners to ensure Federated members have a unique product offering.
SO: How does Federated help shops order the right part the first time?
PM: Keeping return levels low benefits both our service provider customers and our membership. We have been very proactive in taking measures to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, especially as it relates to parts ordering. We maintain an internal e-catalog that gives us the ability to make changes faster and provide timely updates, both dramatically reducing the chance of error. In addition, we have integrated images into the catalog for most application-based product lines and have developed a website to provide specifications and images for non-application parts such as service lines, tools and equipment. By taking the necessary steps to improve parts ordering efficiency, we are able to help our customers save time and be more productive, and that helps them be more successful.