Today’s Car Shoppers Expect Marketers to Read Their Minds

Today’s Car Shoppers Expect Marketers to Read Their Minds

Because most auto consumers know their online behavior is tracked, they in effect say: “Show us what we want.” Analytics help there.  

Village Automotive Group in the Twin Cities includes these three main dealerships: Lexus of Maplewood, Lexus of Wayzata and Village Chevrolet.

My responsibilities as corporate marketing manager include improving customer engagement through more targeted, relevant marketing campaigns that are based on behavioral data patterns of our customers.

At my Village Chevrolet store, the primary way we measure consumer behavior and refine and target marketing messages is through a platform called the Digital Traffic Generator. 

That is a cross-channel customer engagement platform that enables all the tiers of an automotive organization to engage with customers wherever they are, track behaviors to identify in-market buyers, understand shopper intensity and generate sales.

It is powered by the digital marketing company Outsell, and brought to Chevrolet dealers nationwide by Chevy’s agency of record, Agency 720.

Through the Digital Traffic Generator system, we distribute a monthly email newsletter and six analytically driven email campaigns.

Village Chevrolet closely examines behavioral data to understand how specific actions online represent a person. That’s based on what they search for and click on in the marketing campaigns. 

From there, we can use the information to build a better personal connection with each customer.

So, instead of sending them a generic email or display banner, if, for example, we know a customer is interested in an SUV based on search and navigation patterns, that customer will get marketing messages related to Village Chevrolet’s new SUV models, promotions on existing SUVs or relevant sales.

Once we identify our customers’ needs, sales reps can check in on them and their experience with their current vehicle, with timely messages such as, “How are you doing with your Tahoe?” or “We see it’s time for a service check; can we schedule an appointment for you?”

The fact is consumers today expect you to read their mind. They know you are able to track their behaviors online. Because of that, the general sentiment is: “I am telling you what I am looking for, so you should be better prepared to show me what I want.”

By using targeted email marketing, we can build a stronger personal connection with our customers. We have a better idea of when they are in-market for a new vehicle and can tailor our messages, personalize them and make them relevant to the customer, reaching them at the right time in their buying cycle.

We can also establish a better ongoing dialogue with existing customers and give them timely reminders on service as well.

All of this means our marketing messages are now injected with analytics-driven insight and relevant data so they appeal to the consumer and increase the likelihood that a customer will make a new or repeat purchase with us.

These campaigns demonstrate to customers we’ve taken the time to understand them and what they are looking for so we don’t waste their time.

Right now I can attribute an additional two to three sales monthly based on the newsletter and additional email campaigns we are sending to customers.

It’s been a great marketing platform for us, and we continue to build stronger one-on-one relationships with customers and prospects, anticipate their needs and be their go-to dealer for sales and service.

Katie Troutman Johnson is corporate marketing manager for Village Automotive Group.

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