Pic’s Motor Clinic is the largest lawn repair and equipment company in Niagara. Operating in Fonthill by the Groen family for more than 40 years, they have achieved success with traditional advertising, such as radio and print.
However, given the changing landscape of the digital marketing world, the company wanted to evaluate and optimize their advertising methods and turned to the Business & Commercialization Solutions team at Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division for their expertise.
For Pic’s Motor Clinic co-owner Dave Groen, it is apparent a new demographic needs a different marketing plan.
“The younger generation of potential customers are not in tune with historically-effective marketing,” he notes. “The many unique digital marketing platforms are more effective and relevant to the younger demographic.”
The research team set out to first define the target market for Pic’s, audit and analyze its current marketing efforts and then provide recommendations on which social media platforms to utilize best, says Artem Mekshun, who worked with R&I as a research associate with the Business & Commercialization team during his studies at NC. Mekshun graduated last year from the Bachelor of Business Administration (International Commerce and Global Development) program.
After a thorough competitive analysis was conducted in order to identify the best practices of the lawn repair and equipment industry, the team took these findings to define the target market for the industry partner. They then outlined the digital promotional channels and tactics in order to reach the desired market.
“Being on social media opens tremendous advertising opportunities for small businesses,” Mekshun says, adding that compared to traditional advertising channels, social media can offer far less expensive, but more targeted and even more effective, advertising solutions.
“Moreover, considering that potential customers are spending more and more time online, being on social media is no longer an option but rather a requirement. Modern customers want to connect with products they purchase and chances are they will be checking out the products online before making a purchase,” he explains. “So, small businesses should be out there to tell potential customers their story, tell them their ‘Why My Product?’ ”
However, it’s not always an easy task for some small businesses who may not be familiar with social media to jump in and instinctively know how to navigate the various platforms. Often, says Mekshun, small business owners may post just for the sake of posting, without a specific plan.
For Pic’s, Mekshun gathered a host of photographs from the company and developed a three-month social media content plan, offering examples of posts that tell a specific story.
“One picture speaks better than a thousand words,” explains Mekshun. “It’s not enough for us to just write a recommendation about what type of content a client should develop; it’s essential to illustrate it as well, especially if the client is not familiar with social media.”
“If they do have some sort of an illustrated benchmark to rely on, they can develop much better content when they start doing it on their own.”
As well, training and methods on how to measure advertising effectiveness were provided to the client.
Having a comprehensive roadmap is beneficial for Pic’s. “It has been a pleasure working with [the research team] during this project,” says Groen. “Their experience in this field is evident in the thoroughness of the final report and their assistance along the way.
“From our own research and knowledge of our industry, we thought that our website and traffic was good, and this research has confirmed what we were thinking it was,” he says, adding his company will likely look to hiring a third party initially to enact the specific recommendations provided by the R&I team.
As for Mekshun’s personal development working on the research team, he says he valued the opportunity to utilize his analytical skills when examining the data from the industry partner’s website.
“Also, by developing recommendations on an effective social media usage for the client, I have gained a lot of useful knowledge and learned some interesting social media tricks that I didn’t know before,” he adds. “Now, I am using these acquired skills to promote my own web-store of toys through Instagram and it is doing exceptionally well.”
This project received funding support by the Ontario Centres of Excellence through the College Vouchers for Technology Adoption program.
The Business & Commercialization team offers a full suite of solutions to assist industry partners. To learn about other success stories, visit the website.