Midas Launches National Direct Marketing Effort

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Midas Inc. will launch its first national direct marketing campaign Monday when it drops 46 million newspaper inserts to consumers throughout the country.


The effort follows this week's launch of a national television campaign, in which the company began touting itself as a destination for more than just mufflers, shocks and brakes. Radio ads are expected to follow the insert launch.


The company spent the past 2 1/2 years adding to the menu of services it offers consumers and rolling out a remodeling program. Now it is seeking to communicate that to consumers.


"What we've done now is added several new maintenance items, plus things such as air conditioning and alignment, that will set the stage for a more relationship-oriented interaction with the customer to try to get them to come into Midas every three months instead of every three years," said Bruce Hutchison, vice president of marketing at Midas, Itasca, IL. "This is a major, paradigm shift for the business."


The four-page insert offers customers a special rate on an oil change, one of Midas' new services, and it details the other new services available from the chain while spelling out the traditional Midas offerings.


The company has been testing the inserts and TV advertising in various combinations in four markets: Terre Haute, IN; Tulsa, OK; Norfolk, VA; and Fresno, CA. Although Hutchison said he did not know the exact response rate to the insert portion of the campaign, he said most of the markets experienced double-digit increases in sales during testing. In Tulsa, the company's car count increased 41 percent over the preceding year, while sales increased 18 percent, he said.


Lor Gold, director of Sales Machine, the direct marketing division of ad agency Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, which created the campaign, said the inserts provide a tangible medium for consumers to peruse.


"It looks just like a regular circular, but when you think about how it fits in with what they are trying to communicate, it really does show the full range of services that they offer," Gold said.


The inserts include addresses and phone numbers of up to 25 Midas shops in the area. Franchisees, who have long been involved in localized direct marketing efforts, operate all but one of the 2,100 Midas shops in North America.


Meanwhile, Midas also is gearing up to incorporate its Web site into more of its marketing efforts. The company this week unveiled a new look for the site and is working toward giving consumers the ability to schedule appointments or to purchase services online.


The company also is developing an intranet, which Hutchison said could be used for disseminating materials and information for future direct marketing efforts.
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