In a recent presentation at Digital Dealer 23, I had the opportunity to present strategies for Big Data. The key driver was focused on how Big Data impacts the automotive landscape as a whole. One area specifically that captured the audience’s attention was how dealerships and groups of different sizes could begin implementing Big Data findings in their dealership without a lot of additional resources and costs.

Because I’m so passionate about this topic and feel it is a huge opportunity for dealers, I want to introduce a three part series and share how dealerships of any size can implement the systems and resources needed to use Big Data for key insights without breaking the bank.

Today I’m going to begin with single point dealers, those with one to five rooftops, and how they can use Big Data to their advantage. Within this subset of dealerships the most important thing to remember is to leverage partners. Look to your Big Data vendors and partners to help surface insights.

Key Tactic: Dig In to Understand your Vendors

Your most trusted resource at this size is the data vendors themselves. Look to your partners to help you uncover key insights housed within your system. Some key questions to ask vendors include:

  1. How are you using our data?
  2. Do you truly have a Big Data environment and if so what systems do you use?
  3. What insights can we extract from my data and how will it help me make better decisions about how I market, message, and engage my customers?
  4. What type of reports are available to me with the information you’re reviewing?
  5. How often can you send me the data you’re reviewing and in what format? (XLS, CSV, XML)

Key Role: Data Analyst

While your greatest resource at this size is your data partner, one key person you can add to the team for tremendous value is a data analyst. This person uses your data to glean insights and actionable takeaways from the data vendors send you and in turn, helps the entire dealership make better decisions.

I can hear you groaning now – more personnel? More time? More complication. But I want you to start thinking about this in a different way. Your data analyst is not a full-time job and you don’t need to hire an employee to do the work. Let’s think outside the box. Can you hire a contractor to work five hours a week to dig into your vendor data and provide key insights? There are several resources out there with stables of experienced contractors.

For example, in the past I’ve used UpWork to look for top talent that can be contracted for a few hours a week if folks are tied up on other projects.

I’ll take it one step further, here’s an example of what to ask for:

Looking for an individual with sharp analytics skills that’s familiar with multi-touch attribution and various media mixes. They will assist in the creation of a data warehouse by identifying data streams and database requirements. Use SQL queries and stored procedures to develop reports pertaining to web analytics, marketing campaign performance, customer interactions and other business and marketing performance metrics. Use data visualization and reporting tools including Tableau.

What if you wanted someone who could help you store and visualize some of your vendor’s data, who lives in the US, and has made at least some money in this craft? A Tableau expert returns 80 individuals; most of whom are highly qualified to help you start making sense of data!

Key Takeaway:

Once you have the data coming in from your vendor partner, and have it being reviewed by your data analyst, it’s time to determine your data hook. What’s your data hook?

What your Customers Love x What Creates a 10x competitive advantage = Your Data Hook

If you don’t know what your customers love and your competitive advantage – don’t panic! That’s what your newly-hired data analyst is here to uncover from all of the vendor data they are sifting through.

Once you know your data hook, it’s time to create a data roadmap with your vendor and have them and your internal analyst watch the data, ask questions, learn and finally –test- that insight to see if your competitive advantage is working in the market. You’ll know it’s working when your in-market leads begin to increase.

I know the idea of Big Data can be overwhelming, but with help from your data vendors and partners, and a contracted data analyst, you can begin acting on the key information housed within your systems to own your backyard. Stay tuned for my next post on tactics and key roles for mid-sized dealerships.

Natalie Born is the vice president of product at Client Command®, the automotive marketing leader in turning active car shoppers into real customers.