U.S. car sales are estimated to reach 16 million this year. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are doubling down on new designs, technology innovations and differentiating services to boost sales and win back customers.
From reviews and ratings sites to social media to the ability to virtually build and test drive a car, consumers have several online touchpoints with a car brand. Before purchasing a vehicle or auto part, consumers conduct extensive research online to ensure they get what they want. You have the opportunity to influence these customers across different channels during their research phase.
With an arsenal of customer data at your disposal, you can put that data to work and optimize your campaigns. The right data strategy will help you increase the efficacy of your audience targeting and allow you to deliver relevant content along each point in your customer’s journey.
For a successful strategy, use what we call the four E’s of data marketing: enrich, examine, expand and engage.
Enrich first-party data with complementary data
OEMs have a treasure trove of first-party data in their CRMs that provide details on direct transactions, vehicle and owner information, service records, past purchases (car parts, accessories, etc.) and more. As valuable as that is, it only tells a small part of the story. Build out your customer profiles further by layering on additional third-party behavioral data to create even more powerful results.
For example, you are a local dealership and looking to clear out your lot of last year’s models. With psychographic data, you can learn a lot more about your current and prospective customers to determine the most effective ways to influence them. For example, household income data can help you decide if you should market luxury or economy cars to a particular audience, while marital status data can affect your promotion of a family car or roadster. In a similar vein, buyers who are green aware or nature enthusiasts may lean toward models that are more environmentally friendly.
Auto preferences also vary widely across generations. Millennials prefer to spend money on experiences and would be more likely to buy an economy model, while baby boomers and Gen Xers have a higher likelihood of splurging on a car. Lifestyle and interest data take audience profiles one step further by adding more attributes and factors that shape consumer purchases and provide insights into how you can personalize their digital experiences.
Examine current audience segmentation
Is your audience size too small? Have you exhausted your current customer pool? Look at your existing buyers or ideal prospects and build out additional audience profiles based on similar characteristics and attributes. For example, if you are targeting consumers who prefer to purchase directly from the dealership versus an auto parts specialty store, look-alike modeling may help to expand your reach to new audiences who are more likely to buy your product.
Custom segments are another way to uncover new targets. Custom segments allow you to find new prospects by creating whole new audiences based on specified parameters or combinatory segments, which combine pre-existing segments (such as make/model/year ownership details, propensity to buy data and other attributes).
Expand with a multicultural strategy
In the U.S., the auto buyer dynamic has shifted and more new vehicle purchases are being made by multicultural consumers. Hispanics in the U.S. in particular are driving this growth, with Asians and African Americans close behind.
Today, multicultural consumer spending power is quickly increasing. Learn how to target them by understanding cultural nuances and identifying attributes, such as language spoken and language of the content they consume, and influential factors, such as family values, community recommendations, personal or professional interests, brand preferences and financial impact.
Engage audiences with the right messaging
The holy grail of any marketing campaign is knowing your audience and delivering content that will inspire them to take action. In-market car buyers will visit auto comparison sites and engage with ads and content around deals, sales and reviews. Once they have made their purchase, however, provide content that will help them service or accessorize their car. Tailoring your content and message to the right audience at the right time creates a much more impactful engagement.
With access to ample data, auto marketers are well-positioned to drive engagement among new customers and retain loyal ones.