Placeholders in the ether

By Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and COO

One more reason to attend MACS 2012 Convention and Trade Show January 18-20, 2012

It’s also obvious how technology has changed the way we communicate. I remember back in the day when a fax machine was an essential office tool. We still have a fax server in our office, but I can’t remember the last fax I received which was directed to my attention.

Given the many Internet-based alternatives, this communications tool has largely gone out of favor, and the traffic my office receives via this media consists mainly of unwanted promotions for discounts on vacation cruises or sales pitches for building siding from local vendors, along with the occasional take-out menu. I will dare to further date myself by stating that I remember when a “mobile phone” and its accoutrements had to be accommodated in something with roughly the bulk and weight of an overnight bag.

Not so obvious, perhaps, is how technology is changing us. We couldn’t help but laugh when we saw the news clip of the woman walking through the mall, so focused on texting another party that she walked into a fountain. And we’re chagrined when a stranger talks loudly on a cell phone in a public place, completely oblivious to all others around them, but we may have done that too. Then there are the teenagers (and yes, some older folks) who text each other across a room, or across the dining table. Our embrace of everything from “Angry Birds” to apps, I-Pads to smart phones, has not only changed our lexicon but reflects fundamental changes in our society. For those of us in business today, who hope to be in business tomorrow, dismissing these changes as temporary cultural aberrations would likely be a fatal mistake.

Many of us are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, even though quite a few of us don’t have a clue why we’re “there,” or what to do next. Hopefully we have a website, but unfortunately these are too often simply placeholders in the ether.

For these reasons, the marketing programs for our January 2012 MACS convention are geared to providing information and guidance to help us understand who our new customer is, how to reach him or her, and how to gain their loyalty. Our friends at the Automotive Service Association (ASA), Bill Haas and Angie Kilbourne, have studied these issues in depth, and kindly agreed to share what they’ve learned with MACS members.

Bill Haas, vice president of education and training for ASA, will discuss “Marketing Automotive Service to Generations X and Y.” Meeting their expectations is the easy part, Bill explains. “Communicating a message to attract and engage them seems to be the challenge. You cannot ignore these two groups at 120 million strong — the opportunities are enormous.” In his presentation Bill will examine what makes them unique and what influences their decision making. “Understanding the obstacles of reaching them beyond their incredible filters will lead your business to connecting with an extremely loyal customer,” he explains.

Angie Kilbourne, ASA’s manager of Web Operations, has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Her duties include maintaining the ASA family of Web sites and management of ASA electronic publications. She will be offering two different programs.

The first program is “Advanced SEO and Internet Marketing for Automotive Repair Shops.” OK, I had to Google SEO myself, but Angie’s course description makes it clear: “In this session you will get tips, tricks and free resources to help pull your website search engine listing as close to the top as possible (Search Engine Optimization), on as many search engines as possible. Learn about keywords, metadata, title tags and more. Learn how advanced techniques and technologies, such as local search, social media and copywriting, can help your site get noticed by not only the search engines, but those who really matter: new customers!

“This session takes a hands-on approach to helping you raise your search engine results page ranking with the big three of search: Google, Yahoo and Bing. Gain valuable insight on how to read your website analytics report, as well as how to mine specific report data to customize your marketing efforts in your shop’s community.”

In these days when every penny counts in a small business, Angie’s second program, “Marketing on a Shoestring Budget,” is clearly appropriate. As Angie describes it, “Have you heard the latest commercials for Ford and GM service? TV, radio and print ads everywhere! How can an independent repair shop compete with the 800-pound gorilla with deep pockets? You’ll never be able to outspend the automakers and chains, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ensure your business is visible and well-known – and you don’t have to spend a fortune for it. This 90-minute session will present some ideas on how to kick-start your marketing efforts without burning a hole in your wallet.”

Make your plans now to attend the 2012 MACS Convention, Jan. 18 – 20 at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada, and get the information you need to connect with your prospective customers.

As always, MACS will also be presenting the best technical information and training available in the industry. Check out the full program click here!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.

You can E-mail us at or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.


About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues.
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