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Apr 4, 2023

Drive Success with Customer Data in the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is a highly competitive market, with numerous brands vying for the attention of potential customers. With the proliferation of digital marketing channels, it has become increasingly important for automotive companies to leverage data to personalise their marketing campaigns and drive customer engagement.

Customer data is siloed across manufacturers, dealers and partners and also between online and offline channels, making it very difficult to get a full picture as to where a customer is in their purchase journey.

This is where a customer data platform (CDP) can play a vital role in optimizing marketing efforts.

A robust, enterprise-grade CDP integrates customer data from all departments such as marketing, sales and service and various sources such as website, CRM, call centre, service desk, social media, etc. It collects, cleanses and unifies this data to create a single customer view or ‘Golden Record’.

This view includes information such as purchase history, demographic information, behaviour on the company’s website, and interactions with the brand across various channels.

As a result, the automotive marketer can use this data to:

  • Understand who are the high lifetime value customers
  • Identify which channels are most likely to drive conversion
  • Personalise web content in real-time to drive conversion
  • Suspend marketing to customers that currently have their car in for repair
  • Personalise offers that are most relevant to the audience – family vehicle vs sports car
  • Improve ROI from ad spend and social marketing:
    • Remove customers from targeted ads if they have recently purchased
    • Target lookalikes from your customer base with similar interests / demographics
  • Create upsell and cross-sell opportunities

Personalised – Inside and Out

Today’s car buyer has the ability to move along their purchase journey without ever stepping foot in a car showroom.  They can configure their ideal car online, personalising it with every option available from paint colour through to the upholstery material and stitching.

The data captured within these car configurators is a goldmine for sales and marketing. The customer is sharing with you their wants and desires. This information should be used to personalise their experience with your brand. Something as simple as recognising the car model they are interested in and ensuring that is the image they see when they return to your homepage shows the customer you understand them.

The customer’s online experience should be as personal as a visit to the showroom. You wouldn’t expect a sales associate to approach someone viewing a 2-seater sports car and lead them back across the showroom to show them a family estate, but this is exactly what many automotive websites are doing.

Collaboration Improves the Customer’s Journey

The CDP should be your central point of control for all data and operations, not just something for the data scientists. Valuable customer insight can be shared by all departments – marketing, sales, finance, service – with each department benefiting from the data contributed as a whole.

Imagine the scenario – A customer has booked their car in for service; a machine predictive model within the CDP has flagged the customer as prospect for a new car purchase. The sales department is notified. They gather information from marketing that the customer has recently used the online car configurator and has saved his selection. The salesperson checks availability of the same model within the demonstration carpool. The salesperson then contacts the customer and suggests booking a test drive while they wait for their car to be serviced. Marketing sends an email the day before the service with a promotion relating to the customer’s configured car. All departments working in unison to provide the customer with the best possible experience and the highest probability for a new sale.

Data quality is also a key factor in ensuring you build an accurate view of your customers. Pulling all of your customer data into one place is only half the challenge. Once the data is there it needs to be cleaned, enriched, validated, matched and merged.  The CDP should have the ability to use both deterministic matching and probabilistic matching to ensure the best possible match across online and offline data.

Accelerate the Customer Journey with Real-Time Actions

Many customers will be unknown to you as they visit your website, but this should not prevent you from beginning the personalisation process. Simple A/B testing of content on your home page can be utilised to see which content gets the best traction. Further to this as the unknown visitor browses your website the home page can be changed in real-time to reflect the content that they have shown an interest in – keeping the customer engaged and demonstrating you understand them.

Personas can be identified through the car models and content they interact with, and this information can be used to begin to personalise their experiences. Content and images relating to their persona will keep the customer engaged and help them visualise the experiences they will have with your product.

The CDP can persist this digital footprint until the customer identifies themselves. At this point the CDP unifies the unknown browsing behaviour with the customer Golden Record, which allows the marketer to go from Persona marketing to Hyper personalisation.

The CDP should also incorporate automated machine learning which will allow you to utilise all that is known about the customer such as previous purchases, service history, marketing interactions, etc. and then build models such as lifetime value, propensity to purchase, car model that they are interested in to make sure the Nnext-best action is relevant and timely.

Understanding your customers from a B2B perspective is also key for an automotive company when targeting individuals with the right type of content. A fleet manager may be more interested in fuel economy, service intervals and load space whereas the company car driver would be more drawn to the interior comfort, audio spec and car aesthetics. Being able to resolve customer identities at individual and business level is key to ensuring you are targeting individuals with the most relevant content.

As our cars become smarter, the data we collect becomes richer. The IoT is allowing us to connect personal devices with our cars and our cars are beginning to know what we want to listen to, where we want to go and what temperature we want the interior to be. They are also feeding back information on engine performance, tyre wear and miles available until a charge top-up is required.

The data captured can be used to improve the customer experience as well as provide valuable feedback to the manufacturer including:

  • Alerts for the customer of potential problems with the vehicle
  • Notifying service centres of worn parts that need replacing at next service
  • Feedback to the manufacturer for product design

Redpoint is a leading CDP provider that will help you accelerate your plans to improving customer experience and ensure your brand is in pole position when it comes to your customers’ next car purchase.