Today’s technology gives dealerships an abundance of data at their fingertips. Before the Covid-19 pandemic it was estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth this year1. The circumstances of 2020 have only accelerated the rate at which consumers are generating critical data points that can be the difference for converting car shoppers into car buyers.

Today’s technology gives dealerships an abundance of data at their fingertips. Before the Covid-19 pandemic it was estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth this year1. The circumstances of 2020 have only accelerated the rate at which consumers are generating critical data points that can be the difference for converting car shoppers into car buyers.

While other industries are actively harnessing this data, automotive has continued to rely on the traditional data strategies. Those strategies may have moved the needle in the past but have a lesser effect on shoppers today.  To garner a competitive advantage, dealers must recognize how the data landscape has changed.

Three keys to understanding today’s data landscape

While other industries are actively harnessing this data, automotive has continued to rely on the traditional data strategies. Those strategies may have moved the needle in the past but have a lesser effect on shoppers today.  To garner a competitive advantage, dealers must recognize how the data landscape has changed.

Three keys to understanding today’s data landscape

Online shopping data: Once a nice-to-have, now a requirement.

Data that creates a holistic profile of a shopper is today’s required currency for marketers. In automotive, a holistic view MUST include online shopping behavior. The typical car buyer starts online with more than 60% of customers deciding on brand, model and price before visiting a dealership.2 The information dealerships previously gathered in person to influence a shopper towards a sale has increasingly moved online. Understanding a potential customer’s shopping activity, intent to purchase, preferences and more – requires online data that is shared before they ever reach the dealership. Data profiles that do not incorporate online behavior fail to offer the precision and effectiveness dealers need to deliver in relevant messages to actual in-market shoppers.

Online shopping data: Once a nice-to-have, now a requirement.

Data that creates a holistic profile of a shopper is today’s required currency for marketers. In automotive, a holistic view MUST include online shopping behavior. The typical car buyer starts online with more than 60% of customers deciding on brand, model and price before visiting a dealership.2 The information dealerships previously gathered in person to influence a shopper towards a sale has increasingly moved online. Understanding a potential customer’s shopping activity, intent to purchase, preferences and more – requires online data that is shared before they ever reach the dealership. Data profiles that do not incorporate online behavior fail to offer the precision and effectiveness dealers need to deliver in relevant messages to actual in-market shoppers.

De-anonymized data: The standard for delivering marketing efficiency.

The automotive industry isn’t ignoring online data altogether, however dealers are too often settling for anonymous data to fuel their marketing. Anonymous online shopper data is a step in the right direction for the industry, but it is still far from the gold standard of what dealers truly need to be successful.

North American consumers have on average 13 internet connected devices. And while anonymous marketing can track indicative shopping behavior by device – it has no way of connecting that behavior across devices to a person.3 Imagine the opportunities dealers are missing by not connecting these devices. And with less than 60 percent of web behavior being actual humans4, targeting anonymous data points has an equal chance of targeting a bot as it does an actual human. Dealers must be looking for opportunities to connect the trifecta — shopping behavior to devices, devices to actual people and people to all their devices. This is identity resolution. To incorporate anything less, yields a marketing approach that is both inefficient and ineffective.

De-anonymized data: The standard for delivering marketing efficiency.

The automotive industry isn’t ignoring online data altogether, however dealers are too often settling for anonymous data to fuel their marketing. Anonymous online shopper data is a step in the right direction for the industry, but it is still far from the gold standard of what dealers truly need to be successful.

North American consumers have on average 13 internet connected devices. And while anonymous marketing can track indicative shopping behavior by device – it has no way of connecting that behavior across devices to a person.3 Imagine the opportunities dealers are missing by not connecting these devices. And with less than 60 percent of web behavior being actual humans4, targeting anonymous data points has an equal chance of targeting a bot as it does an actual human. Dealers must be looking for opportunities to connect the trifecta — shopping behavior to devices, devices to actual people and people to all their devices. This is identity resolution. To incorporate anything less, yields a marketing approach that is both inefficient and ineffective.

Conquest shopper data: Online data tools must engage shoppers outside your database.

Most online data tools in automotive are hyper-focused on connecting anonymous data to shoppers within a dealer’s database. Yes, this moves dealers towards connecting online and offline data, however these tools only identify shoppers after they have visited their website and do not track their online activity before that point of the shopper journey. Restricting identity resolution to a dealer’s database misses most shoppers in a market, generating a built-in limitation to gaining competitive advantage.

Conquest shopper data: Online data tools must engage shoppers outside your database.

Most online data tools in automotive are hyper-focused on connecting anonymous data to shoppers within a dealer’s database. Yes, this moves dealers towards connecting online and offline data, however these tools only identify shoppers after they have visited their website and do not track their online activity before that point of the shopper journey. Restricting identity resolution to a dealer’s database misses most shoppers in a market, generating a built-in limitation to gaining competitive advantage.

The bottom line:

Data cannot be an accessory in a dealer’s marketing strategy in today’s digital age – data must be the foundation. A data foundation that ignores online shopping data, settles for anonymous data or limits a dealer’s ability to activate marketing messages to the entire market – or any combination of the three – provides a rocky foundation at best. Today’s tech empowers dealers to harness online data to identify, engage and convert a shopper into a buyer for their dealership. And with the shopping experience moving increasingly online, dealers cannot afford to use data that doesn’t connect them with active shoppers.

The bottom line:

Data cannot be an accessory in a dealer’s marketing strategy in today’s digital age – data must be the foundation. A data foundation that ignores online shopping data, settles for anonymous data or limits a dealer’s ability to activate marketing messages to the entire market – or any combination of the three – provides a rocky foundation at best. Today’s tech empowers dealers to harness online data to identify, engage and convert a shopper into a buyer for their dealership. And with the shopping experience moving increasingly online, dealers cannot afford to use data that doesn’t connect them with active shoppers.

1 IBM Marketing Cloud, “10 Key Marketing Trends For 2017”
2 Bain Consumer Research Study 2017
3 https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/302663/north-american-consumers-to-have-13-connected-devi.html
4 http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is-fake.html

1 IBM Marketing Cloud, “10 Key Marketing Trends For 2017”
2 Bain Consumer Research Study 2017
3 https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/302663/north-american-consumers-to-have-13-connected-devi.html
4 http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is-fake.html