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Arthur Messina, pictured here proofing media images, has built up a long roster of limo operator clients. Many have won LCT business and marketing awards.
No matter how long you’ve been an operator, it’s important to pay attention to how your brand tells your story — especially when the industry faces new competitive challenges from Transportation Network Companies (TNCs).
That’s the message from Arthur Messina, Create-A-Card’s founder and president, who along with his wife, Kathleen (vice president), launched the marketing company in 1986 to focus on the limousine industry. Understanding the business model of limousine operations and how it has changed, enables Messina to advise clients about marketing strategies that work based on experience, and more importantly, how to adapt to a digital-based world.
Certainly the advent of the Internet and mobile technologies have forever changed the way operators market to clients. But Messina advises that basic print materials still apply and need to be part of a marketing toolkit.
This especially is true for new operators, who Messina points out need to focus on five basic marketing items to establish credibility to launch a successful business: A good logo, brochure, website, and not one, but two business cards.
Logo: “It’s important to develop a logo that will stick for five years to grow your business, and be sure your logo tells people exactly who you are and what you do,” Messina said. “You don’t want people guessing, so have an icon and words such as ‘chauffeured transportation service’ so people know right away what service you provide.”
Business Cards: The basic marketing tool of any new business, Messina suggests that operators carry two cards, one for the public and one for industry colleagues. “I urge new business operators to get involved in the industry by attending trade shows, industry events and associations. That’s when a second business card is important because it can be used to build affiliate work.” He suggests that the card contain your contact information, specific service areas, and airport codes so potential partners get a quick handle on your operation and the areas and airports you serve — and anything else that distinguishes your service.
Brochure: A brochure that explains everything about your business, fleet, and various services is essential to distribute to prospects to reinforce your talking points and establish the credibility of being a legitimate business. Messina also notes that a brochure easily can be distributed at events, meetings and other venues to promote your business.
Website: Building a website is critical to marketing a new business. Again, it reinforces your credibility “because it is the first place prospects will go to see if you are legit,” Messina says. New operators do not have to initially spend a lot of money on a website and can forego all the extras. But a web page that details your business, capabilities, fleet and various services, and contact information is paramount to growing a business.