By Jim Cunningham
How much time a day do you spend cruising the Internet on your computer and mobile devices? Two hours, 6 hours, perhaps 8 hours? The average American spends over 11 hours a day online – accessing news, shopping, chatting and even watching funny cat videos. With so much usage, it’s no wonder that 59 percent of car buyers invest, on average, 14 hours online researching and price comparing before making a new car buying decision.
Dealerships need to leverage and capitalize on this captivated audience. Growing your customer base and reinforcing your retention can be accomplished by leveraging data analytics and digital marketing to create brand awareness, incentivize dealership engagement and reward for customer loyalty.
Utilizing big data, like predictive analytics, can have a tangible impact on how you reach your future and existing customers. Predictive analytics enables dealerships to have access to information such as:
- Who is actively in the market to make a new car purchase?
- What price point are they leaning towards?
- What types of car is on their target lists?
- Where are they located?
This information is acquired from a variety of touchpoints by aggregating data based on specific algorithms models. These predictive algorithms zero in on what consumers hear, say, read, and view – no matter where they are – both online and offline.
From this specific detailed information, you can now develop personalized marketing campaigns that will correlate to each customer’s buying preference and purchase power. A marketing campaign should leverage as many communication channels as possible in order to have the strongest impact. A campaign effort should include activities such as:
- Online re-targeting advertising
- Email campaigns
- Direct mail
- SMS messages
- Push notifications
What makes this effort different from what you are most likely already doing is that you can confidently communicate with specifically targeted buyers within a designated radius around your business. You are no longer blindly, or semi-blindly, marketing to consumers; in fact, you are in control of your message. You can now extend offers that reward for dealership engagement and can create an invitation to have a two-way conversation. In addition, consider extending offers related to credit soft pulls and pre-qualifications, which might encourage quicker engagement. Helping customers establish up front what they can pre-qualify for will create a sense of efficiency within the buying process.
Dealerships that are leveraging big data as part of their marketing efforts are—conservatively–adding between 8-15 new customers to their monthly sales, all of whom they would not have been able to reach otherwise.
To build a lasting advantage, your big data marketing programs need to address not just how you can attract and communicate to new customers, but how using this information can help cultivate your customer loyalty. Have a plan in place to use this information to nurture your customer relationships to increase the life-time value—and avoid the need to switch their next purchase to a competitor down the street.
Jim Cunningham | NCC | Senior Vice President of Marketing Solutions
As Senior Vice President of Marketing Solutions for National Credit Center (NCC), Jim Cunningham is responsible for NCC’s Marketing Solutions. As a seasoned automotive veteran Jim has extensive experience overseeing digital and predictive analytic marketing solutions that enable dealerships to market, and acquire new customers through innovative marketing tools.