There is a lot of discussion going on right now regarding how big data will be a benefit to dealerships, manufacturers, and consumers in the future. Such as:
- Auto manufactures will be able to tell drivers immediately and remotely when they forget to change their oil or have an oxygen sensor malfunction
- Drivers will be able respond to an important email or manage their household finances from the comfort of their cars
- Using vast amount of data, city planners and engineers will be able to better plan out roadways and traffic flow
- Custom travel data can be used to deliver marketing messages and assistance such as “nearby Starbucks that you visit has a 20 minute wait but the store 1 mile away does not”
But what about right now?
Good news, the future is here. Eighty percent of the data dealers would want to access and leverage for their business is readily available now. It’s exciting to visualize what the future of data could do for you, but know you have choices now that are making a direct impact on customer acquisition, customer trend insights and enhancing your ability to communicate with shoppers to stay relevant.
Let’s start with customer acquisition. Historically dealerships have approached marketing by sourcing their data from their dealer management systems or purchasing expensive marketing lists to focus on customer retention, mass direct mailing, then followed up with a newspaper and radio ad, you get the picture. Market to the masses. The effectiveness of this approach can be slow, budget consuming, and very hard to track. In short, not much bang for a lot of bucks.
Using data science to gain new buyers is available today and it is productive, as well as reliable for finding and engaging with active buyers. Data science and predictive analytics monitor thousands of information touchpoints that analyze everything from financial score models and trajectory, discretionary income to vehicle data, brand loyalty to online and offline research behavior and lifestyle changes. You have the ability to develop a strategic marketing program that creates engagement, relevancy to their buying needs and keeps you top of mind once they decide to take a test drive. These touch points put emphasis on individuals who are actively in the market to buy.
Empowering your marketing and sales team with this insightful information will enable you to streamline your marketing efforts while permitting expense reductions. This ultimately means you are spending money to be in front of the prospects who have the highest likelihood to convert. In turn, this is more cost effective and efficient, and is more relevant to dealers as we see the rapid changes in the market regarding SAAR and Used inventories causing price pressure.
Yahoo’s 2017 Consumer Marketing Playbook Study reports that 86 percent of consumers spend their vehicle research efforts online. In addition, Yahoo breaks down that 37 percent of auto converters prefer to use their mobile devices for research, while 60 percent are desktop users. Furthermore, 30 percent of consumers are actively researching, identifying and budgeting to make a purchase within one year; and 60 percent are highly active online within three to six months of purchase.
In an era where everyone is focused on getting things done quicker and accessing information faster, consumers are doing their homework using all digital devices available to them. Thus you need to develop a communication strategy to keep your brand and product relevant as they formulate their next steps or buying preference. Your target marketing strategy should include an arsenal of touchpoints – email, digital display, text messaging and direct mail. Google reinforces this by stating 92 percent of marketing leaders say that to truly deliver best-in-class experiences, dealerships [marketers] must be responsible for all customer experiences, including digital and offline. Consumers are giving you the opportunity to “Wow” them and provide a seamless experience every time they interact with your brand. So, you want to be able to touch them at every point of the sales funnel and their lifecycle.
Avoid sitting on the sidelines and waiting for the future to arrive, it’s here and ready for you. Target marketing powered by data science does not have to be not costly nor cumbersome to deploy. You will be surprised how easy it is to gain more buyers without the financial stress.
 The Connected Car, Big Data and the Automotive Industry’s Future, Datameer, Sherry Tiao, October 2016