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Seven Tips to Make the Most of Your Marketing

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Seven Tips to Make the Most of Your Marketing

Advertisements and marketing, when done right, is sure to boost profits. Done improperly, it is an net operating cost reducer, so you need to make sure you are doing it right.

Do you give your advertisement much thought these days? Many folks do not because of the digital age and how millennials go about their daily lives. However, every time I am in a store, I notice that we still have a lot of older customers shopping and buying in our operations and those shoppers respond best to traditional marketing, which means you need to focus on best reaching those customers.  

There was a time when supporting the local Girl Scouts and or the local city youth baseball team was enough to garner goodwill and relatively inexpensive advertising. That is not so today. You are managing robust and fast-paced food operations, travel centers, shops, etc. The daily demands on maintaining operational excellence are challenging to say the least. And although advertising can slip through the cracks as to what is important, remember it can help maximize your profits, build traffic and increase the bottom line of the P&L. 

Here are some helpful reminders when thinking about your strategic planning as it applies to advertising. I am going to skip the digital and social applications and focus on what I see the majority of our industry still doing today up and down the interstate system.

  1. Logos: Make sure they are consistent throughout all your visual touch points.

  2. Ad Slicks: Use a consistent logo and a simple, clear and easy to understand message.  Use bold clear letters and numbers with colors that match the schemes and strategy for the year. Less is more to make an impact. Do not describe your awesome burgers, show a mouthwatering picture.

  3. Hi-Rise: Rely on a simple message that supports your overall advertising and marketing strategy. If you have national brands, considering using their marketing power on your hi-rise to draw traffic. Putting McDonald’s on top of your hi-rise is more powerful than putting Darren’s TP in that position.

  4. Billboards: Make sure message, logo, etc., are consistent and that the visual touch points match your operation. I have seen instances where the message on the billboard did not match interstate DOT signs, hi-rise, street signage and building signage. Upon exiting the interstate, you could not locate the truckstop you wanted to visit. Less is more, especially here in west Texas and other locations like it where the posted speed limit is 80 mph.

  5. Department of Transportation Signage (DOT): Make sure the message is consistent with your other visual touch points. Remember that the footprint on DOT signs is small, so do not waste this valuable space with a message that cannot be read. Less is more.

  6. Building Signage: Ensure it is well lit, clean and simple and consistent with all other visual touch points.

  7. Uniforms and Name Tags: Have the message and coloring match overall advertising and marketing strategy. Uniforms can often be the most powerful advertising you have. It is usually the last personal touch point purchasing customers have with your operation.  Ensure your team always have clean uniforms and easy to read name tags. The details with these visual touch points do make a difference. 


/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.  



Join the conversation! What changes have you made to your marketing in the past year?

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.