How Auto Dealers Can Get Started With Big Data

Understanding how, why and what people buy is all you need to harness big data.

Dan Smith

February 27, 2015

2 Min Read
How Auto Dealers Can Get Started With Big Data

Let’s look at how auto dealers can get started with big-data analysis.

First of all, keep your eyes on the prize. The business objective is always to sell more vehicles.

Begin by mapping out the purchase lifecycle for three or four customer segments, such as family SUV, commercial truck, sports car and luxury sedan.

Then think about what kinds of data would help you improve the relevancy and accuracy of your marketing to each segment.

For family SUV, demographics on family size could be useful. For commercial truck, employment information would help. For sports car or luxury sedan, you may want income and lifestyle data.  This exercise will help you focus on your data needs.

Next, explore third-party data sources that could help you fill those gaps with actionable data.

A good place to start is with your local ad agency or marketing-solution vendor. They may have access to the data you want at lower cost, and often the expertise to help guide your efforts.

Failing that, you can choose from a variety of data providers, ranging from the major players like Acxiom, Experian or Polk, to several smaller players such as Relevate that have tailored automotive offerings.

A number of companies provide analytic models and services that can help you predict:

  • The lifetime value of young buyers.

  • Which customers are most likely to defect or remain loyal.

  • Which customers are most likely to respond to a particular offer or sales event. 

When these predictive scores are used as the basis for marketing campaigns and ongoing communications programs, response rates often rise two to four times.

Big data can appear daunting. A broad spectrum of data, analytic and technology offerings fall within the category.

But don’t feel you need to be like Google to use Big Data. Think about your objectives and the type of data that could support those objectives. Start small, buy only the data you need and learn from every campaign. 

You don’t need to be a data scientist to be successful. Your common sense understanding of how people buy, and the reasons they buy what they do, is all you need to harness big data and generate big rewards.  

Dan Smith is chief marketing officer for Outsell, a digital-marketing software firm. He can be reached at 612-236-1500 or [email protected].

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