Motorwerks Marketing owner Darin Roberge shines in collector cars

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Darin Roberge has adored his career which put him in the driver’s seat of the fast-paced world of media and marketing for a major collector car auction company.

Then Roberge’s doctor told him that what he loved was killing him. Literally.

His zeal for auctions, which came with an endless adrenaline rush and periods where he spent several days with little food, let alone sleep, began to take its toll. Roberge was so focused and passionate that he didn’t really notice until it came to his attention.

“I loved the auction business. I saw myself doing this for life. But I worked until I died,” said Roberge, who was told that if he kept up that pace, his remaining years on Earth would be numbered.

It was then that Roberge made the difficult decision to leave his former employer, Russo and Steele, to start Motorwerks Marketing, the full-service marketing agency specializing in the classic and specialty automotive industry that he founded in Gilbert in 2017.

Here he found a happy medium that allowed him to be in the collectible car market he loved and the calmer pace his body needed.

“Most start a business to work more. But I started my business to work less,” said Roberge, President and CEO of Motorwerks.

Roberge’s simplified approach has yielded positive results for more than just her health. Motorwerks started with two customers and today it has 115, Roberge said.

This puts Motorwerks in one facet of the global classic car market, which is expected to reach $43.4 billion by 2024, according to Statista.

There was a time when the level of service in the industry was quite low, Roberge said. It was outdated, unsophisticated and behind the times. When Roberge started Motorwerks at home, he was on a mission to change that.

“We’re good at taking old concepts and recreating them in a way that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but also current and interesting,” Roberge said, adding that the style of industry advertising has changed over the past four years and that Motorwerks may have influenced that. . “We wanted to be here to help and move the industry forward and I think we succeeded.

Its clientele consists of just about anyone and everyone in the fields of classic automobiles – auction shows, auto clubs, historical societies, parts manufacturers, media and even sellers and buyers. private.

Streetside Classics, the world’s leading collector car dealership, is one such customer.

The relationship began about four years ago when Bob Mueller, vice president of sales and marketing for Streetside, hired Roberge for graphic design and print advertising. Today, this has grown to include social media profile management, social media advertisements and overall brand consultation.

“I often come to Darin to see how we can position the brand because he’s very knowledgeable,” said Mueller, whose company is based in Concord, North Carolina, and has a showroom in Mesa. “The thing I like the most is that they’re specifically geared towards the collector car space. He understands at a basic level what marketing needs to look like and customer demographics, which is very rare to find in a marketing agency.”

An interest in cars from an early age

A Denver native, Roberge’s exposure to classic and performance vehicles began at a young age through his best friend and grandfather, who started a motorcycle dealership in the 1940s.

His grandfather Fay Myers was a former European motocross racer. Roberge often accompanied him in his motorcycle and racing projects. Many of them also involved collector cars.

“He was my best friend when I was a kid, so I was constantly exposed to cool cars,” said Roberge, who played a guessing game with his grandfather to identify what kind of car was driving. depending on engine noise. “It was one of those things that grabbed me.”

Roberge’s family background is in car and motorcycle dealerships and a strong work ethic has always been part of family life. This is probably one of the reasons why Roberge threw himself into his work and went pedaling all the way to metal, even to the point of affecting his health.

“Where I’m from, I was told to put my head down and get on with it. This is how I chose to exist as a professional. My family, we worked very hard, we all do. It was instilled in me from an early age – if you want cool stuff, you have to work for it.

Roberge launched and ran Motorwerks from his home, which took up about half the space. Shortly after, a construction accident destroyed his house. He and his team started from scratch, operating out of a hotel room for about two years until he could return home.

Four days after being moved back into the home office, the pandemic hit. However, thanks to what the company experienced in a makeshift workspace, it was able to adapt to a quarantine-like environment and really didn’t miss a thing.

Roberge said he was lucky to have a dream career come true and his small business was able to see success during and after the pandemic. Choosing to focus efforts and resources on existing customers rather than using them to attract new ones was also key.

“We really dedicate everything we have to our customers. They all remained successful. No one let us down, we had no layoffs… . It was a strategy that paid off not only for us, but also for our customers,” said Roberge.

Find ways to give back

With success, Roberge wanted to give back. He said a lot of selfish attitudes in the industry started to weigh on him. About three years ago, he partnered with Colorado-based TapKat Solutions, which runs charity contests for nonprofits across the country. Through this partnership, Motorwerks has raised over $12 million for various charities ranging from youth programs to healthcare.

Roberge also cherishes something he may not have anticipated: ongoing education through his diverse client base.

“My clients are some of the most interesting and inspiring people you can find. They are among the most important businessmen in the world. It’s like constantly getting an internship at Yale,” Roberge said. “The people I was exposed to, I never would have had the opportunity otherwise. I have exceptional luck.

What: Motorworks Marketing

Or: Gilbert

Employees: ten

Factoid: The global classic car market is expected to reach $43.4 billion by 2024, according to Statista.

Details: 480-228-1881, motorwerksmarketing.com

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