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How an Outside Director Can Help

Marshall Paisner, chairman of Boston, car wash chain ScrubaDub, offers a great example of how an outsider board member can help a business.

“Richard Valintine was the CEO of the Jiffy Lube franchise for the Boston market. His franchise ranked in the top 5 percent nationally out of all the franchises in the Jiffy Lube chain. We chose him because we admired his company’s marketing efforts and were impressed with its growth. Once he joined our board, we learned that he’d achieved this remarkable growth because of a deep commitment to target marketing. During one of the first meetings he attended, our marketing plans for the coming year were on the agenda. Until then, we had favored saturation-by-zip-code direct mail promotions because we assumed every home would have a car. Dick suggested that even if every car owner was a potential customer, some owners were likely to wash their cars more frequently than others. This observation prompted us to explore how we might learn to distinguish the buying habits of our customers. We had developed a program using bar-code technology to track over 50,000 of our customers by the year, color, and model of their cars as well as the communities that they came from. With Dick’s prodding, we identified our most frequent customers and to target special programs, incentives, and service options to their needs and tastes. As a result, we substantially raised the effectiveness of our marketing program and — more to the point — increased our revenues by 20 percent.”

From Sustaining the Family Business, Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1999. Used with Permission.

 

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