What Dealers Should Know About Big Data

Everybody talks about it, but what is it exactly?

Dan Smith

October 29, 2014

2 Min Read
What Dealers Should Know About Big Data

“Big data” is typically defined as a data set that’s too large to be analyzed using conventional means. That rules out anything in a spreadsheet, and in general, any customer or prospect database a dealer maintains in-house.

In that case, why should auto dealers care about it? The quick answer is because there is third-party big data available that dealers can use to improve marketing efforts and sales results.

This topic is broad enough to cover in three parts. Let’s now look at whether dealers need big data. Subsequent articles will explore how dealers can leverage it and get started with big-data analysis.

So do dealers need big data? Yes. They can they benefit from it.

We’re not simply talking about a giant prospect database. This is more about getting the data you need to understand when a serious buyer submits a lead or visits your store. Big data often gives insights needed to successfully close the sale.

Third-party big data sets can also help dealers do a better job of segmenting their customer bases in targeted marketing campaigns.  

Examples of third party data include household, shopper-behavior and demographic data.

Vehicles are a considered purchase. That means consumers typically conduct a lot of research before the purchase. The average U.S. consumer buys a car only once every seven years.

Using third party data can help you understand what transpires between purchases. For example, did the person get married, start a family or get a new job? 

A basic understanding of income bracket and family status can give dealers a leg up when that person reenters the market for a car. This data helps you present customers with more relevant offers. It also helps build trust and loyalty, because it shows you understand their needs.

Marketers talk about a “360-degree view of the customer.” It’s certainly a worthy goal, and one that might apply to data-heavy markets, such as consumer packaged goods where every nuance of buying behavior can be logged and analyzed.

But as a practical matter, it’s unrealistic at the dealership level. Yet dealers need enough data to paint a clear picture of each customer so they can better target marketing efforts and close deals. You absolutely can paint a clearer picture by leveraging big-data sets.

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

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