Industry must integrate data across platforms

Publish Date: 
Mar 19, 2013
By Rod Stuckey

YEARS AGO a dealer friend shared his perspective on digital marketing by asking me, “Why would I spend my budget on anything other than Google AdWords? It’s like having a 100 percent commissioned salesperson; I only incur the expense when the desired result is achieved.” 

Although I don’t agree AdWords (aka pay-per-click) should be your only digital marketing strategy, I do feel that Google has taken data-driven marketing to a level that is so effective it’s nearly hard to comprehend. Using a proprietary algorithm, Google AdWords allows you to bid on searches for keywords in your local market area and set a budget to exactly what fits your checkbook. You only pay when you get a click to your actual website. Unlike a billboard, impressions are free. 

Google has forever changed the landscape of advertising by proving that with enough math and enough data you can create the largest and most powerful marketing tool ever.

Using data in your marketing allows you to make decisions based on key metrics as opposed to emotion, perception and gut feel. There are many ways beyond Google that data can be integrated into your marketing.

Your dealer management system should be your largest source of valuable data that can be leveraged in many beneficial ways. For example, with advanced list segmentation you could potentially identify customers in an equity position who can trade up without an increase in payment. You could find customers past due for service, customers most likely to buy more parts and accessories, expiring warranties, birthdays, vehicle anniversaries, and even “lost” customers who need to be re-activated. All of these are viable marketing opportunities.

In a perfect world, data could create big opportunities for dealers to increase sales and profits. Your data should serve as the foundation for relevant and compelling communications with your customer base, and ultimately be the driving force behind all marketing plans and decisions.

(Side note: To have accurate data in your DMS, your frontline staff has to be trained and diligent in capturing key customer and vehicle information. I recently popped into a Harley-Davidson dealer to buy a gift and had to ask to be added to the store’s customer list. The gal behind the counter looked at me like I had three heads.)

There are other valuable sources of data, including your website and CRM system. Even the data collected by OEMs, the MIC, third-party vendors and auctions could be extremely beneficial to the dealer network and overall health of the industry. (Continued)