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The Data-Driven Dealer, Part 3: Listen to What Your Customers Want

Blog courtesy of EasyCare

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With the challenges the industry is seeing in 2020, and with customers demanding a personalized experience more than ever before, data-driven marketing is a dealer’s best friend. As dealers compete for leads in a tight market, any insight that helps them better understand potential customers and boost their overall competitive advantage is priceless.

In this final installment of our three-part series “The Data-Driven Dealer,” we share how to apply customer data to your marketing efforts. (Click for Parts 1 and 2.)

There’s no doubt that consumers have preferences that influence their purchasing decisions. As a dealer, the ability to fine-tune your messaging and communication style to cater to those preferences can make or break a sale.

That’s where your customer data comes in. You can get a full picture of every follower, buyer or prospect if you know where to look, as we covered in Part 1 of our series. To make sure you’ve got the right offer at the right time, zero in on the right prospects. Once you’ve got things like buyer demographics, habits and history, you can start to use that to your advantage. Simply put, the more you understand who your buyers are, the better you know how to reach them.

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Audience Segmentation

Data-driven marketing can help you segment a target audience, ensuring that your efforts impact the right people. By grouping customers with similar needs and requirements together, it’s possible to create personalized strategies to reach them. The first step is to decide what criteria and characteristics you can use to group your customers. Start by gathering your customer demographics (age, gender, location) and psychographics (lifestyle, family stage, hobbies), seeing what commonalities rise to the top. Then decide what might keep them coming back — customers that bought a car and warranty over five years ago, always come in for service and live more than 10 miles away might respond to an offer of a free loaner vehicle with their next service, for example. It can pay off to know who you’ve sold to and what their habits are before you spend your advertising dollars.

Personalization

Personalization means more than addressing someone by name in your email campaigns (although that’s important, too). It means building marketing initiatives based on your customer data. Consumers are much less likely to respond to generic marketing that doesn’t take their interests and history into account. Personalized marketing can help deliver messages that feel more personal and meaningful, providing an improved user experience.

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According to a 2019 report, 79% of customers surveyed said that personalized communication can significantly influence where they choose where to shop. More than ever, customers expect you to know who they are and what they want. To get their attention, they need to feel like what they’re seeing was made just for them.

Take Facebook advertising, for example. Based on the data you’ve collected, what do your customers look for in a car? Why did past customers buy from you? Use this as your guide to developing messaging that hits these points. All you have to do next is get that message in front of the right audience by using Facebook’s vast targeting features to present offers that your potential buyers care about.

Don’t forget your best customers, either. With 68% of consumers saying they would prefer to shop at a store that offered personalized rewards based on customer loyalty, it’s worth recognizing your buyers’ habits and keep them coming back for service and repeat vehicle sales.

Inventory

Customers want to visit a dealership once and find the vehicle they want, but that’s a difficult task for a dealer. Knowing what’s selling in your area is a great indicator, but only if that fits what your specific customers want to buy. The data you have about the sales you’ve made will help understand your target customer and make inventory decisions based on what they want — your base may not be in the market for what’s hot on the other side of town.

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To pinpoint your best inventory candidates, look at your sales logs to see how many days it took to sell each vehicle and how much gross profit you made from each sale. This analysis gives you the best value vehicles for your business, and can even differ between stores in the same group.

If you know where to look, your customers can shape your marketing plan and what’s on your lot. Acquiring new market share is crucial, but so is keeping existing customers happy. By reading between the lines and applying what you learn to your entire marketing plan, you can do both.

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