Auto Marketers Improve the Customer Experience by Aligning Data

It’s an experience that far too many of us are familiar with as part of the journey of purchasing and owning a vehicle: You visit an automaker’s website to research vehicles, and get inundated with contacts from multiple dealers. Then, once you’ve gone in to your chosen dealer and purchased a vehicle, you still find an inbox full of generic, impersonal offers on the new vehicle you just purchased — often from the same dealership you bought from, or even from the very salesperson you worked with. When the dealership could be upselling you on service promotions or add-ons, they’re still trying to sell you a vehicle you already bought.

Customers are a moving target

Dealerships struggle to send timely and relevant marketing, sales, and maintenance messages to buyers before, during and after the sale. There are more opportunities for customer interaction today than perhaps ever before: OEM or dealer websites, dealer showroom visits (either with, or without interaction with a sales rep), auto show visits, mobile apps, third party services, IoT data from the vehicles themselves, social media interactions, digital advertising, post-sale maintenance records, and more. And when none of these systems talk to each other, it creates an unmanageable knot of data that isn’t put to use to deliver better customer experiences.

Missing data? Missed opportunity!

Beyond the annoyance felt or snark dealt by customers, this kind of uninformed or depersonalized marketing reveals a deeper problem for automotive dealers: they’re potentially leaving hundreds of thousands in annual revenue opportunities untapped due to ineffective marketing and the inability of their various systems to integrate and provide a more complete picture of their customers. What’s more, customers lose trust in and become more cynical about dealerships that don’t seem to know them or pay attention to them — potentially costing the dealership the customer’s business for good.

Unite the data to delight the customer

The answer to this problem is clear: unification of data from this variety of customer interactions, so that all touchpoints with a customer are connected and understood to be that same customer — and outbound marketing can be developed in a far more personal, precise, and effective fashion. This can be achieved through a customer data platform (CDP). A CDP is designed to integrate and standardize data, making it ready for segmentation and personalized actions that can execute in real time, taking into account the entire history of interactions and up-to-the-minute behaviors across all channels — and it can do this at broad scale.

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While CDPs can help businesses in most every industry, the benefit is perhaps most evident in the automotive retail space where the customer experience is informed by manufacturers, dealer sales and service teams, and the manufacturer’s own marketing efforts. Connecting the fragmented sources of customer touchpoints into a CDP should be a top priority for dealers today; not only will this help maximize service revenue and improve fixed absorption rates by improving the efficiency of service outreach, but it will improve the customer experience by bringing it in line with the heightened expectations born from experiences in other industries. (The days where customers will accept impersonal and irrelevant marketing from any business have long since passed, with the rise of advanced data platforms and specifically targeted marketing as practiced by many of the digital giants. Like it or not, they set the bar for customer expectations in every industry now.)

Keep comms in context

Contextually relevant communications from the dealership instead of spam will make consumers more inclined to actually read dealership communications. And, this kind of specific and precise knowledge and understanding of customers could reduce costs by making the sending of direct mail either less necessary or more targeted.

With their Treasure Data enterprise CDP, Subaru was able to realize a 4x boost in new ad campaign performance by feeding better-targeted content to segmented customers. Tracking and measurement yielded optimized ads based on better understanding of customer demographic and behavior data.

For customers, dealers’ use of a CDP means no more misplaced emails and glossy mailed brochures trying to drive a sale three months after you drove your new vehicle off their lot; no more emails about oil changes the week after you were in for service; no more marketing from the dealer that makes it seem like they neither know nor care who you are. This can go a long way in building trust and affinity for a dealership — particularly important as the connected vehicle makes it easier than ever before for OEMs to own a greater share of the customer relationship. For dealers, a CDP isn’t just about better marketing or sales efficiency, it’s a proactive move to maintain ownership of the customer relationship. Subaru increased its dealership sales using online data for offline lead scoring.

To find out how businesses are putting Treasure Data’s enterprise CDP to work to solve their complex customer data challenges, read our case study on how Subaru is transforming their customer experience, or visit www.treasuredata.com.

To learn more about how to make the insights from unified customer data work for your business, contact Brain+Trust Partners.

Christopher Barger
Christopher Barger
Christopher Barger leads content and marketing efforts for Brain+Trust Partners, and assists companies in developing strategies for marketing and operating effectively in an increasingly digital business environment. Before joining Brain+Trust Partners, he led digital communications efforts at both General Motors and IBM as well as advising other Fortune 500 companies on their digital strategy. Have a story -- or a question -- about data unification? Email us at info@braintrust.partners.
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