Auto retailers, how well do you know your customers?
In the last decade or so, digital technologies have revamped how drivers engage with their cars. From automated parking and steering, driver-less cars, to monitoring stats though digital devices, the automotive industry has been leading the charge of integrating digital technologies into a decades old industry. The industry’s consumers have changed too. From engaging on social media to using apps to book service, find dealers and more, the connected consumer of this industry is a powerful force that is ready for the next level of personalization and digitization.
But while the cars and their consumers have modernized, has auto retail managed to keep up? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. The current landscape presents an interesting opportunity for both car buyers as well as automotive retailers – an opportunity that has not been leveraged to its full potential. Today, much like all other purchases, car buyers do extensive research on multiple devices before they enter the realm of physically visiting stores, test-driving, and closing the purchase. Clearly, the buying journey today starts much before the physical visit. The questions auto retailers must ask are –
- How can we reach our potential customers and influence their decision throughout their journey – from discovery to closing the sale?
- How can we leverage digitization to improve service and coverage, key differentiators in a cluttered automotive market?
The answer lies in geo-marketing, that is using location and related parameters as the pivot to drive consumer connect strategies throughout the customers’ journey with your brand or franchise.
Really, really get to know your consumers
Right now, most auto retailers depend heavily on old school data sets like traffic to outline their OOH strategy. Their mobile and TV advertising too is similar to casting a wide net and hoping to reach the right target audience. With geo-marketing, auto retailers can target intenders effectively by tying their location data to many other variables such as lifestyles, transaction histories, demographics like gender and annual income. Location data can also reveal specifics such as work location, residential address, hobbies etc. The outcome is a significantly rich and comprehensive customer personas. This, in turn, empowers auto retailers to precisely target intenders that are most likely to convert the purchase using mobile, out-of-home and digital advertising. At its face value, this comes across as additional marketing spend. But it is simply the art of moving away from shooting bullets in the dark to truly targeted and powerful advertising with an ROI that speaks for itself.
A new wave in after-sales
But what happens after the sale is closed? With more and more automotive brands becoming at par with each other as far as car features are concerned, aftersales has become a true differentiator between amazing automotive brands and mediocre ones. With geomarketing, auto retailers can now level up their aftersales by tracking locations that can give crucial information like –
- How frequently the car is going on the highway
- Address information on good and bad road infrastructure and its predicted impact on the vehicle’s maintenance
- Distance covered
- Fuel usage (by tracking location or transactional data to find out the frequency with which the car is going into a fuel station)
- Insurance needs
- And much more
This information can help auto retailers provide timely service and other alerts, transforming the relationship from purely transactional to one of true partnership. Needless to add, this can be a significant step forward in converting automotive customers to brand advocates and loyalists.
Closing the coverage gap based on effective, targeted data sets
Another challenge that automotive retailers contend with is geographical coverage gaps. At the moment, their target is usually just having a wide coverage to ensure a competitive geographical presence. While wide coverage is crucial to compete in high impact markets like South East Asia, targeted coverage is much more effective. Again, comprehensive consumer profiling can assist. By gaining a deeper understanding not only of your customers’ location and transaction data but that of auto consumers’ in general, automotive retailers can close the coverage gap as far as their dealership and service network is concerned. This ensures that they don’t miss out on opportunities for new customer acquisition and existing customer connection just by being absent in important locations that old school data sets don’t reveal.
Geo-marketing, in combination with other data sources such as transactions and customer segmentation, can offer a win-win proposition for retailers as well as buyers. It helps optimize and customize messaging and platforms. Deep insights such as these translate to higher transparency, closer relationships with consumers, and more successful sales closures. Not just that, automotive retailers can truly optimize marketing and service investments simply by reducing wastage on non-targeted outreach.
The stage is set for automotive retailers to transform how they do business and become at par with a fast-changing industry and consumers. Are you ready to start your journey of transformation? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.