Todd Crane is the division vice president of coalition for BI, the company behind the Aftermarket Rewards program. Crane has had 22 years of direct marketing experience, 10 of which have been focused on the development and implementation business-to-business loyalty programs. Crane is based out of BI’s corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Aftermarket Rewards program, which has been in existence for five years, is a unique program allowing aftermarket parts manufacturers to identify and build relationships with their end-using customers, the installers, resulting in increased brand loyalty. The program’s platform also allows the manufacturers to track installer purchases, cross-sell their entire product line and acquire new customers from other manufacturers in the program.
For those of our readers who aren’t familiar with Aftermarket Rewards, please give us a brief overview.
Aftermarket Rewards is a loyalty program that rewards shops for purchasing eligible products from participating manufacturers. There are more than 2,400 rewards to choose from and shops use them to reward employees, replace shop tools or office equipment or even as promotional items to give away to their customers. The best part is that it’s completely free and very easy for shops to participate.
How many aftermarket shops/professionals currently participate in the program, and what segment would you say you are having most success with currently?
We’ll have more than 30,000 shops earning rewards by the end of next month new shops join every day. A majority of the participants are in the collision segment [as a result of] our early manufacturer [sponsors] 3M, DuPont, Keystone and Hertz to name a few. However, in the very near future, we will be announcing additional manufacturers joining the program that focus more on the general automotive repair segments of the market.
For the participants in the program, the benefits are obvious, but is this a ‘rewarding’ program for the sponsors as well. Tell us more about the benefits to the sponsor.
Aftermarket Rewards provides tremendous competitive advantage for the sponsors by creating loyalty and brand-preference amongst their customers. We also provide an extensive array of marketing tools, giving the manufacturers a direct communication link, for the first time ever, to their end-using shops. This allows them to describe their value proposition, build loyalty, up-sell and incentivize their customers to purchase more from their product lines. More importantly, it allows the manufacturers to promote their products directly to competitive users. Also, particularly in this economy, all Aftermarket Rewards promotions are measurable. The manufacturers understand their return on investment for every dollar spent on the program.
Is this program unique to the automotive aftermarket or do you work within other industries as well?
Not at all. We are currently, and successfully, running the same program in four other industries in the U.S. and overseas, with others on the horizon.
We understand that Aftermarket Rewards is in the process of some exciting contract negotiations that will expand the company’s market reach. Can you tell us more about this?
We’re very close to bringing on a couple of major underhood parts suppliers that will significantly expand the earning power of the participants. The beauty of the program for the participants is that by combining the points from multiple manufacturers, the shops can very quickly earn an award of significant value. Ultimately, they begin to seek out other ways to earn, resulting in increased engagement in the program and with the participating manufacturers.
The 2008 AAPEX show just wrapped up on Thursday, were you able to attend? If how did it go for you and the company?
We attended the AAPEX, SEMA and NACE, but we did not exhibit. These shows are a great way for us to share the program, and the tremendous results we have achieved, with other potential manufacturers looking to drive their business in a difficult economy. We had a fabulous week!