As a marketer, we’re constantly focused on improving our own technology that will allow us to accelerate how we hone in on in-market buyers for our clients.  What we do works and continues getting better – this is why dealers invest in our product.  But the way in which we go about doing this is much different than it was even 5 years ago.  Technology is not only impacting marketing, driving everything digital, but it also impacts what consumers are looking for in a vehicle.  No longer are customers primarily focused on better gas mileage or simply the most bang for their buck.  They want the conveniences and features that technology can provide, in their ride – and they’re willing to pay big bucks for it.

Today’s buyers are not only looking for choices that fit their personality and lifestyle. They’re looking for technology that keeps them safer and connected. Helping them understand and select available technology is a welcomed way to build a strong customer relationship.

When prospects arrive at a dealership, they likely already have some ideas about which vehicle makes and models interest them. For these prospects, extra high-tech options can be key differentiators. In fact, Fox News recently estimated that one-third of the value of a car is due to its electronics and other technological features. Long considered “nice to haves,” features such as built in Bluetooth and dual-stage airbags are becoming essential amenities, and are sure to impact resale value down the road.

Drivers are willing to pay for technology

Factory-installed technologies are an $11.3 billion industry. According to a study by Harris Poll and cited by Auto Blog, more than half of car buyers are willing to pay up to $1,499 for an attractive high-tech option. Potential buyers commonly cite increased connectivity, such as Wi-Fi, as a desirable upgrade.

That figure may be the result of a shift in priorities. Car buyers no longer overwhelmingly put performance and engine power first. In fact, Bloomberg reports that an Accenture PLC poll found that only 14 percent of car buyers look for engine output and performance first. Nearly three times that amount, or 39 percent of shoppers, name technology as their first priority.

Many of the high-tech options offered today are not merely luxurious. They also greatly improve safety, and can protect drivers and prevent injury.

Other high-tech options help make driving easier. Sonar systems can help drivers park in tight spots. Navigation systems equipped with audio instructions from an On Star operator can help drivers get places on time without getting lost.

Entertainment is another technology plus. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth lead to enhanced connectivity. Surround-sound audio and rear-seat entertainment systems and an iPod adapter can give passengers, especially children, hours of fun during longer drives and on the way to school.

Dealers have long realized catering to consumer demand is the way to boost sales. Making the most of high-tech options can help draw in more customers. Helping consumers navigate the technology maze is a proven way to build customer relationships (and see big returns).

These new types of consumer wants and needs create an entirely new set of criteria that we can use when segmenting customers to personalize communication.  What website does the customer go to before and after he visits your site? What is he searching for? What are his buying habits? Knowing this customer is the key to true one to one marketing.  If you want to keep up, you have to know who you’re marketing to and give them the information they need to make a decision.  We want them walking onto your lot and spending their big bucks with you, not your competitors!