Data driven marketing in the automotive industry

Data is the center that drives modern marketing. Marketing is quickly moving away from mass deployment strategies and toward a customer-focused approach. Commercials, multi-media ads, radio spots and sponsorships all have a time and place, but they are becoming less and less effective. Customers today respond better to personalized marketing. In reality, your customers are all at different stages of their buyer’s journey at any given time, and therefore shouldn’t be treated as equals.

There are tons of data tools on the market today that closely track customers to predict why, when, and how they decide to purchase a vehicle. When you use these data tools to understand your customers better, you can start to sell better. Let’s explore three ways dealers can benefit from data-driven marketing.

1. Data is precise.

Generic mass marketing is a thing of the past. Dealerships today are expected to put the customer at the center of their marketing strategy. In the past, dealerships only had access to basic demographic information about customers. Names, addresses, and vehicle information were easy to collect. Today data providers can help dealers analyze customers behaviors and make predictions about how and when they will purchase. There are many accurate and intelligent data sources available that help you build customer profiles, segment groups, and automate your communication. Plus, precise data makes it easy to communicate across all your channels, from social media to direct mail.

Selecting target audience

2. Data is measurable.

One of the coolest aspects of data-driven marketing is that it lets you measure the sales impact of specific campaigns. We can determine which messages are resonating, and which channels are converting more sales. With a TV commercial or radio ad, it’s nearly impossible to attribute direct success. With a data-driven campaign that targets certain customers from your database, you can measure exact responses. Plus, data provides you the information you need to constantly tweak and improve your campaigns.

Is your email marketing campaign getting minimal clicks? It might be time to reevaluate your call to action. Is your direct mail piece generating dismal response? Maybe you should be sending that message to a different group of customers. With all this data at your fingertips, you can constantly tweak and improve your strategy, keeping what works and tossing what doesn’t.

Analyzing automotive data

3. Data is personal.

Customers today expect (and deserve) to be treated with straightforward, personal communication. Data-driven marketing strategies are centered around satisfying and delighting the customer. With data, you can identify the needs and wants of your customers that influence their car-buying decisions. Then, you can send specific messages to those customers that will stick. For example, if you could identify that a customer no longer owned the vehicle they purchased from you 6 years ago, you certainly wouldn’t want to send them the same “buy back” message you send other customers. Instead, you could send them a personal message inviting them back into your dealership to re-earn their business. Think about the impact this would have on your past customer. Data technologies provide endless possibilities for personalization.

Automotive dealership handshake

Tip: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of data solutions available to dealers, remember that the quality of your data is more important than the quantity. Spend some time cleaning up the data in your existing database. You already did the work to establish relationships with your past and current customers, so don’t neglect them! If you want to get the best ‘bang for your buck’ with your marketing budget, it’s time to get creative and start using the data in front of you to craft strategies. Remember that customer retention is much cheaper than acquiring new customers. If you can use data creatively to touch your customers with personal messages, you’ll have them for life.