Interviews 4 Jun 2020

Industry: A1 Accessory Imports’ Aaron Marks

The importance of marketing during the difficult times of 2020.

Words: Simon Makker

In these unpredictable times, where businesses are generally doing it tough, a solid marketing strategy and a good team of athletes to work with can make a big difference. caught up with A1 Accessory Imports’ marketing manager Aaron Marks, to find out how he’s helping keep the company’s brands in front of customer eyes and why they’re supporting every state-based championship on the east coast.

Image: Supplied.

Tell us a bit about your role and how long you’ve been in the industry.

I grew up and live in Brisbane and started riding when I was five, and was part of a very competitive era of Aussie junior motocross. I was racing the likes of Harley Quinlan and Tye Simmonds week in, week out, and I’ve lived and breathed racing and been part of the industry since. My role at A1 is the marketing manager. I’m a one-man band here designing and implementing marketing for events, social media, digital and magazine advertising, videos, as well as working closely with our athletes on their deliverables and how they can promote us through their channels. I think, now more than ever, it’s important they represent us through social media, as when they’re not out racing and getting results, there’s not a lot for us to talk about from that side of things.

What brands do you look after?

Our two main ones are Motorex and as of October last year, Maxxis tyres. The motorcycle market used to be serviced by the Maxxis automotive tyre distributor, so it was a very small part of their business. With Maxxis putting so much time and development into their motocross tyres, they needed a company with reach and expertise to get the tyres into dealerships and were able to talk to customers at their level. We distribute their powersports tyres, which are focused on off-road, motocross, ATV, road and side-by-side tyres.

How important is it to keep up your marketing campaigns during these crazy times?

It’s pretty important, but we’re pretty fortunate that our industry seems to be less affected than others, and we’re in a position to be able to continue our marketing efforts. We’ve lost a lot of momentum with events and social-based marketing we implemented at the start of the year, but we’re using this time to bring our brands to the front of people’s minds, so that when restrictions ease and we’re back out on track, they think of us. People are watching screens a lot more these days, so we’re focusing more on those platforms of digital channels and social media, and trying to engage with people in an authentic way. We’ve also been using YouTube and getting our athletes to help create content for us, which has been super-entertaining for people.

Image: Foremost Media.

Speaking of which, that new video series you’re doing with Todd Waters is really well done.

Cheers! Todd’s story came about when he became an ambassador for us. He has a lot of great ideas, he’s passionate and he’s relatable to a lot of people. Working with him has been really good and he’s helped with the delivery of that project. We worked with Eastmount Studios on the Gold Coast to film it, and Josh is a wizard. Working with people who operate on that level is super refreshing. We’re planning on releasing at least two more episodes, but we felt we needed to give Todd the opportunity to talk about his partnership with Maxxis and how it came about. He was excited and wants to help with the development of Maxxis tyres, so it was a perfect fit from the get-go.

What are some products either coming our soon, or recently landed, that you’re super-excited about?

We’ve just launched the new Maxxis MXST and MSIT soft and intermediate tyres and Todd is helping us develop a new tyre that’s suited to Australian conditions. It’ll be a super-meaty sand paddle-tyre that should be available by the end of the year. Todd’s input has gone directly into the manufacturing of it for the Australian market, which is pretty exciting. Maxxis is super-passionate about the Australian market and has invested a lot of time and effort to understand the conditions we ride. I don’t think Australia has seen this sort of attention from a tyre company in a long while, and that’s been exciting to be part of.

What’s been one of the most successful marketing tactics you’ve completed lately?

I think we’ve been super-successful with event activation. The way we engage on social media and represent the brands online, we’ve done a great job with that over the years and our goal has been to engage authentically with consumers and include our brands at the grassroots level of racing. We’ve partnered with multiple state championships across the country – the Sunshine State series, the King of MX and Gippsland championships – and worked with those organisers to provide financial support and encourage friendly competition and participation. It’s super-unfortunate those state-run races have all been cancelled as we were making some real headway. We see this support will benefit both our brand and the sport. Watering those seeds only ends in growth and everyone at A1 lives and breathes racing. It’s who we are and we feel it’s important to be in that space and to keep supporting those events.