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Is Your Data Living on an Island Doing Nothing for You?

Most automotive CRMs present only a snapshot of your customers’ data, which will decay over time unless you are working hard to keep your database “evergreen.” Your dealership’s job is to effectively gather data and protect it to give your dealership the competitive advantage it needs to flourish.

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Todd Smith is the president & CEO of 360Converge

We have heard about the importance of your dealership’s customer data for the growth of sales and service departments, but where is your data really living and what’s happening with it over time? 

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Most automotive CRMs present only a snapshot of your customers’ data, which will decay over time unless you are working hard to keep your database “evergreen.” 

The Value of Evergreen Data

What does that mean? Simple, your CRM should be looking for nuggets of information about your shoppers that update or enhance your customer’s data profile. This information should be updated constantly and should include:  
• additional phone numbers
• email addresses (the average U.S. consumer has two)
• social media profiles with photos
• lifestyle or demographic data 
• recording customers’ visits to your website or clicks on your digital marketing. 

These customer breadcrumbs give you an amazing understanding of your shoppers that will absolutely help you sell and service more vehicles every single month for less money. To know today’s customers, you have to be in touch with their behavior and then analyze it. This is at the center of a modern CRM. 

The concept of an evergreen database is not new, but it is poorly implemented in automotive. Its value can easily be demonstrated through testing and measurement of response rates.  

Overcoming Poor Marketing Discipline

The problem is that most dealerships rely on outside companies for marketing services and those companies aren’t returning the critical updated information back to the customer record in the CRM, such as when there’s a bounced email address, the customer moved or the direct mail piece was returned. 

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Your CRM should be the most accurate, updated view of your customer, not your marketing or an outside vendor’s database. This, coupled with the fact that some dealerships are keeping customer lists in multiple systems (siloed off data), makes it literally impossible to truly understand and meet the needs of your customers. How much this is costing you in lost opportunities or poor customer experience would frighten you.

Compliance Considerations

Another thing that you will have to consider is the new changing laws on data and privacy that swept Europe and are now being talked about in states like California. Are you prepared to use these new laws to your advantage? Or will you be forced to delete massive amounts of your customers’ data because it is bundled and must be deleted in its entirety? Now is the time to get your data organized and protected for the coming changes. Every change is an opportunity to get ahead of your competition and leverage technology to maximize your sales and service results. 

Data as the New Oil?

Today it is truer than ever that data is the new oil, and your dealership’s job is to effectively gather it and protect it to give your dealership the competitive advantage that it needs to flourish. So, what is your data strategy and how do you plan to get it off the island and start producing results for your dealership immediately?

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