NEED TO KNOW
♦ ‘Propensity modelling’ predicts whether an Audi customer is likely to replace or retain their car
♦ Manufacturer says car makers and dealers need to integrate and improve their customer data
The amount of data being created today can seem almost incomprehensible, but it provides motor retailers with customer insights that marketers of the past could only dream about. The secret seems to be a clear ‘less-is-more’ strategy, where only data that is relevant and supports what is already known about customers is analysed and acted upon.
Data availability in the 21st century means a motor retailer can analyse the details of the deals it creates and segment its marketplace not just by age, gender, income, marital status and postcode, but also by a prospect’s digital device, web browser, ISP and email provider. The capability to build a perfect picture of a dealer’s customer groups has never been stronger.
The Market Research Society advises it is vital to remember that just because you can count something doesn’t mean it matters. Companies can waste time gathering and sorting multiple streams of confusing data and fall into the trap of measuring outputs rather than outcomes, such as click-throughs rather than sales. Focus should be on the indicators that really make a difference.
Customers expect value from data
Marketeers expect consumers to become a lot more savvy to the ways data on them is captured. But many customers will welcome honest and transparent interaction where they see some value in return. Some carmakers and dealer groups have already switched on to the benefits of customer portals – a place where the car owner can keep their information current, find self-help guides to the finer details of their car’s operation, keep track of service schedules and warranty periods, and receive focused, tailored promotions of directly relevant services.
The amount of data available to the automotive sector is only set to increase. Audi UK head of marketing Nick Ratcliffe sees huge opportunities in responsibly using data to learn more about customer groups.
“The connected car is coming. We’ve not touched the surface yet in terms of the amount of data and information that cars will effectively share with traffic management systems, manufacturers and dealerships.
“There’s that telematics data, with cars communicating what’s happening to the vehicle, but potentially, depending on how much people are willing to share, there’s personal data around lifestyle and how that car is used. This could be very interesting to marketeers, but obviously you have to stay the right side of the line,” he said.
Ratcliffe said the industry is still finding out how to use new data streams and platforms in a way the customer will accept. People are realising the information they share is being collected and analysed, and companies won’t want to spook them.