“My aim is to make things as simple as possible, but not simpler than that.” — Albert Einstein

Grading the fluctuating landscape of Automotive Industry marketing requires a calculated research strategy and verified … ugh, I thought that sentence was never going to end. When you have something to say, just say it. Business to business marketing materials should be informative and compelling, not confusing.

When marketing for our automotive business clients, plain-talk advertising is the approach we take because it’s straightforward and connects with your audience. While some may consider plain-talk as an easy way out or a less intelligent approach to communication, we’d argue that it’s harder to make things simpler for your audience. Simple does not mean stupid; it means organized and well-constructed. Whether you’re selling technology to an automotive repair shop or trying to help a car dealer increase sales, it’s important to speak their language. An English professor might be impressed by long compositions, but a business owner is impressed by results.

Clear, concise communication shows that you’re confident that the product or service you’re selling will help your prospective clients. When your message is easy to understand, potential clients know that you have nothing to hide, but a lot to offer. Choose your words wisely.

Direct mail should do the following:

  1. Explain how the product solves a complex business challenge as quickly as possible. You only have about three seconds to capture someone’s attention as they sort through their mail, so it’s critical your creative headlines pack a punch.
  2. Cater messaging directly to the target audience’s business needs and keep the content focused on those needs. The content should quickly answer “what’s in it for me?” by clearly communicating benefits.
  3. Use a friendly, “me-to-you” tone. Write the way you speak.
  4. Never try to sell two ideas at once. Make sure the content is direct while staying focused on the offer, not the product.
  5. Inform prospects of exactly what they should do next.
  6. Present the message in an easy-to-understand format.

SKM Group followed these six steps when creating direct mail for Identifix. Identifix offers an online tool called Direct-Hit® that helps repair shop owners with proven, real world diagnostics, short-cut tests and confirmed fix procedures. Below is the headline we wrote to tell shop owners that Direct-Hit can increase their productivity, which in turn will boost their bottom line. After all, time is money.


The “Save time on every car, every day” headline tells repair shop owners, “We know what your challenge is and we’re here to help you accomplish your goals.” An effective headline clearly states the product benefits. A busy repair shop owner doesn’t have the time for something overly cute or clever.

In the direct mailer below, we created a headline for Identifix that speaks directly to transmission repair shop owners using language that is relevant to them.


The headline “No crank, no start” with the subhead “The symptom is common, but the confirmed fix might surprise you” addresses a challenge that transmission repair shop owners face. What’s in it for the shop owner? They get a faster way to diagnose a common problem. The message caters directly to the target audience in plain-talk.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The bigger the words and the longer the sentence, the more room there is for confusion. By using plain-talk, you can cut through the clutter and deliver a strong message that encourages action. You can also save money on paper.

Greg Bauch