When I look around the industry, I see a disconnect between how shoppers and dealerships leverage technology in the car buying process. Technology continues to disrupt everything we once knew and counted on. It’s reinventing how everything is bought and sold. It’s redefining what all consumers expect. And it appears to me, that while shoppers are adapting with technology, most dealerships are reacting to technology – accelerating the disconnect between what shoppers expect and what dealerships provide along the customer journey.

In today’s technology-powered market, speed is one currency that trumps all. It’s time we all commit to pivoting and adapting quickly – to ingest new data, develop new customer experiences, and adopt new technologies as soon as they emerge. Why? Our business’ ability to thrive depends on it.

When I look around the industry, I see a disconnect between how shoppers and dealerships leverage technology in the car buying process. Technology continues to disrupt everything we once knew and counted on. It’s reinventing how everything is bought and sold. It’s redefining what all consumers expect. And it appears to me, that while shoppers are adapting with technology, most dealerships are reacting to technology – accelerating the disconnect between what shoppers expect and what dealerships provide along the customer journey.

In today’s technology-powered market, speed is one currency that trumps all. It’s time we all commit to pivoting and adapting quickly – to ingest new data, develop new customer experiences, and adopt new technologies as soon as they emerge. Why? Our business’ ability to thrive depends on it.

The Speed of Change

The world is moving at the speed of life and too many in our industry are adapting gradually, expecting to eventually catch up when all of this slows down. We don’t have to look any farther than our own hyper-connected lives to know that the pace of life is speeding up.

– According to IBM, 90 percent of the data in the world was generated over the last two years alone.1
– As reported in Forbes, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day and that pace is only accelerating.2
– By 2020, it’s estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth.3

Think about that. This means that technology has given us more power at our fingertips today than we’ve ever had available in our lifetime.

What are we doing about it in automotive?

My concern is that we’re doing too little, specifically in how we market to shoppers. Other industries have embraced the power of technology. They are monitoring online shopping behavior, matching shopping preferences and intensity to actual people and racing to deliver real-time offers and messages based on those insights.

Dealerships, on the other hand, are considering products that leverage technology that was available five years ago. Shoppers of today expect a level of immediacy and personalization that require the ability to connect the identity of a shopper to their online behavior and market to them in real-time. To evolve at the speed of life, we need partners with the technology to meet that demand.

The Speed of Change

The world is moving at the speed of life and too many in our industry are adapting gradually, expecting to eventually catch up when all of this slows down. We don’t have to look any farther than our own hyper-connected lives to know that the pace of life is speeding up.

– According to IBM, 90 percent of the data in the world was generated over the last two years alone.1
– As reported in Forbes, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day and that pace is only accelerating.2
– By 2020, it’s estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth.3

Think about that. This means that technology has given us more power at our fingertips today than we’ve ever had available in our lifetime.

What are we doing about it in automotive?

My concern is that we’re doing too little, specifically in how we market to shoppers. Other industries have embraced the power of technology. They are monitoring online shopping behavior, matching shopping preferences and intensity to actual people and racing to deliver real-time offers and messages based on those insights.

Dealerships, on the other hand, are considering products that leverage technology that was available five years ago. Shoppers of today expect a level of immediacy and personalization that require the ability to connect the identity of a shopper to their online behavior and market to them in real-time. To evolve at the speed of life, we need partners with the technology to meet that demand.

What can dealers do to market at the speed of life?

Brands who are winning with today’s shopper have made a shift. Their focus? Provide the best customer experience. To compete with Amazon, Wal-Mart rapidly accelerated from retail giant to tech-focused partner. Once relying on low prices and vast inventory to gain market share, they invested in tech companies to evolve their e-commerce, omni-channel marketing, and grocery delivery. They even inked a five-year deal with Microsoft focused on AI. It paid off. Bloomberg reported Q2 2018 sales at their highest level in more than a decade4 and CNBC reported a holiday surge resulting from the evolution of its e-commerce.5

Think of the implications. If today’s marketplace requires brands the size of Wal-Mart to shift their focus, find technology partners, and adjust their marketing approach, dealerships should consider following suit.

Application:
Start thinking omni-channel and real-time by pursuing marketing solutions that align with the changing nature of the customer journey.

What can dealers do to market at the speed of life?

Brands who are winning with today’s shopper have made a shift. Their focus? Provide the best customer experience. To compete with Amazon, Wal-Mart rapidly accelerated from retail giant to tech-focused partner. Once relying on low prices and vast inventory to gain market share, they invested in tech companies to evolve their e-commerce, omni-channel marketing, and grocery delivery. They even inked a five-year deal with Microsoft focused on AI. It paid off. Bloomberg reported Q2 2018 sales at their highest level in more than a decade4 and CNBC reported a holiday surge resulting from the evolution of its e-commerce.5

Think of the implications. If today’s marketplace requires brands the size of Wal-Mart to shift their focus, find technology partners, and adjust their marketing approach, dealerships should consider following suit.

Application:
Start thinking omni-channel and real-time by pursuing marketing solutions that align with the changing nature of the customer journey.

Big data, as it is most commonly used in automotive, offers an inward-focused exploration for insights and growth opportunities based on sales data, usage reports, time sheets, profit margins, inventory, and more. Dealerships are using Big Data to garner insights from their databases. More recently, there has been a movement to match online shopping behavior from a dealer website to inform these insights.

We could and should have another conversation about the limitations of Big Data if your partners are not matching online shopping behavior with identity data for ALL of the shoppers in your market. However, the key point here is to not stop at insights.

Engaging shoppers in real-time with the relevant messages and offers they expect, requires dealers to ACT on those insights. And no dealership can afford the workforce necessary to crunch the data fast enough and deploy marketing quick enough to compete. This is why AI-powered marketing solutions are a “must-have” in today’s marketplace.

Application:
Evaluate your martech stack. If AI-powered marketing automation is not part of it, take steps to expand your portfolio.

Big data, as it is most commonly used in automotive, offers an inward-focused exploration for insights and growth opportunities based on sales data, usage reports, time sheets, profit margins, inventory, and more. Dealerships are using Big Data to garner insights from their databases. More recently, there has been a movement to match online shopping behavior from a dealer website to inform these insights.

We could and should have another conversation about the limitations of Big Data if your partners are not matching online shopping behavior with identity data for ALL of the shoppers in your market. However, the key point here is to not stop at insights.

Engaging shoppers in real-time with the relevant messages and offers they expect, requires dealers to ACT on those insights. And no dealership can afford the workforce necessary to crunch the data fast enough and deploy marketing quick enough to compete. This is why AI-powered marketing solutions are a “must-have” in today’s marketplace.

Application:
Evaluate your martech stack. If AI-powered marketing automation is not part of it, take steps to expand your portfolio.

In the past five years, the term Digital Darwinism emerged into the landscape. It speaks to today’s business reality – technology and society evolve faster than an organization can adapt creating an “adapt or die” mentality. We don’t need to lay out a case for this – the decline of Sears, Mattress Firm, Brookstone, and Toys R Us are old news now. Darwin posited that it’s not necessarily the strongest or most intelligent species that survive, but rather those best responsive to change. It’s up to you to keep your dealership alive and moving forward, evolving at the speed of life.

I believe that only happens if you reinvent your martech stack. Today’s confluence of technology, innovation, and media offer an exciting opportunity that can only be captured if you are willing to amplify your speed to change. It’s time to hit the accelerator and leverage technology to evolve. You’ll gain a competitive edge for your dealership – for today and tomorrow.

– Jonathan Lucenay, Founder & CEO of Client Command

1 IBM Report https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/05/24/adaptability-is-key-to-survival-in-the-age-of-digital-darwinism/amp/
2 Forbes, “How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read”, May 21, 2018
3 Domo, “ Data Never Sleeps 6.0” June 5, 2018
4 Bloomberg, A Guide to Walmart’s Ragtag Alliance Against Amazon” August 7,2018
5 CNBC.com, “Walmart shares surge as holiday sales crush estimates, boosted by e-commerce growth” Feb 19, 2019

In the past five years, the term Digital Darwinism emerged into the landscape. It speaks to today’s business reality – technology and society evolve faster than an organization can adapt creating an “adapt or die” mentality. We don’t need to lay out a case for this – the decline of Sears, Mattress Firm, Brookstone, and Toys R Us are old news now. Darwin posited that it’s not necessarily the strongest or most intelligent species that survive, but rather those best responsive to change. It’s up to you to keep your dealership alive and moving forward, evolving at the speed of life.

I believe that only happens if you reinvent your martech stack. Today’s confluence of technology, innovation, and media offer an exciting opportunity that can only be captured if you are willing to amplify your speed to change. It’s time to hit the accelerator and leverage technology to evolve. You’ll gain a competitive edge for your dealership – for today and tomorrow.

– Jonathan Lucenay, Founder & CEO of Client Command

1 IBM Report https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/05/24/adaptability-is-key-to-survival-in-the-age-of-digital-darwinism/amp/
2 Forbes, “How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read”, May 21, 2018
3 Domo, “ Data Never Sleeps 6.0” June 5, 2018
4 Bloomberg, A Guide to Walmart’s Ragtag Alliance Against Amazon” August 7,2018
5 CNBC.com, “Walmart shares surge as holiday sales crush estimates, boosted by e-commerce growth” Feb 19, 2019