Bringing Auto Up To Speed

We are living in a golden age of data. Marketers have so much information about customers and potential customers, and so many different ways to leverage it, that many are overwhelmed by the sheer potential.

As technology advances, it will only bring even more data that’s even more finely tuned. When we think the leaders in the space, we usually think of companies like Amazon and Google. These tech giants are selling products so seamlessly integrated into people’s lives that they don’t even notice they are providing incredibly valuable data on almost every mundane detail of their lives. These companies are translating massive data sets from a variety of sources into information to anticipate consumers’ needs, suggesting products to buy and retargeting ads that seem to know what people want before they know it themselves. That kind of deep knowledge is every marketer’s dream.

There’s another industry that also has access to their consumers in a near omnipresent way—the auto industry. As data is gathered from the multitude of sensors, inferences can be drawn regarding consumer behavior, for instance establishing if there a link between the music people listen to and drive-through restaurants they frequent. These kinds of connections can impact advertising resource allocations and budgets, and, thus, the information gathered from connected cars is invaluable commercially. It’s the sort of individual data other businesses pay huge sums of money to third-party firms for, and the auto industry has heaps of it.

The problem? Data continues to be a huge blind spot. Irrelevant data still lingers above the automotive industry, just waiting to be analyzed. Worse, in a lot of cases, they are still going to third party providers for data, entirely ignoring the gold mine they’re just sitting on. 

Automotive has such a complex business model given the three-tier system and the fact that most transactions happen offline, so when it comes to leveraging data for marketing, auto lags far behind other verticals. To be successful at this, OEMs need to really look at the data they have, and use it holistically, something the industry hasn’t really stopped to do in a real way yet. A holistic approach requires understanding data and technology gaps. If your data is siloed and your technology is fragmented, it’s impossible to apply it to a successful omnichannel ecosystem that can convert browsers into buyers.

Therefore, OEMs need Data Management Platforms (DMPs) more than anyone.  DMPs aren’t just a place to aggregate and store information. They help us find the most important data points that will immediately help our business. DMPs empower us to take action and deploy personalized campaigns with quantifiable conviction. These platforms are the secret to affirming what every advertiser claims they will do, which of course is to “place the right ad, in front of the right consumer, at the right time.” Without DMPs, these empty promises would remain just that — empty and unproven.

Of course DMPs can’t do all the work. Automakers who are investing in technology should spend 20% on tech and 80% on people who understand big picture strategic vision. These people will be able to integrate the technologies in a way that reduces leakage, returns the most valuable insights and creates the consistent omnichannel performance automakers need to catch up to other industries. 

Automakers have shown themselves to be capable of many incredible feats of technology over the last few decades. Cars are safer and more efficient than ever before, some even drive themselves. Which is why I’m confident that by taking a step back and looking at the incredible data they already own, automakers can create omnichannel strategies that are as advanced as the cars they produce.

Data fails to hold value unless it can be applied to better influence your most lucrative audience segment.

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