How to Target and Retain Millennials in the Automotive Sector with Big Data

September 6, 2017
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The automotive industry is a growth industry. As technology marches on, so do the aspirations of car manufacturers to be the first to tap into the “next big thing.”

Despite an overall healthy industry outlook, there are still challenges facing industry players. Competition for market share, rising costs to support product differentiation, and a flourishing frontier of digital advertising has left vehicle manufacturers and dealers alike searching for ways to gain competitive advantage in a crowded atmosphere. With this shift, a considerable amount of focus is being directed towards reaching today’s must have demographic: Millennials.

Using Big Data to Acquire New Millennial Customers

A TrueCar report published earlier this year drove home (pun intended) speculations that the automotive market share of millennials was poised to blossom.  The report projected that millennial consumers, those born between 1980-late 1990’s,  will purchase 4.24 million cars and light trucks in 2015, producing $135 billion in total revenue (about 25% of the new vehicle market.)  A 2015 Harris Survey reported that 35% of millennials indicate they will purchase a car within the next year.

As their buying power increases, so do the number of automotive marketing campaigns targeting them. This is where we begin to see strategies like the legendary Kia hip hop hamsters or Ford’s entirely social media based campaign the “Fiesta Movement.” Auto manufacturers have not been shy about rebranding certain vehicles to attract the younger audience, but behind the scenes is an arguably far more powerful tool than flare and gimmicks: Big Data.

As the most digitally interconnected generation, without even realizing it Millennials are constantly leaving behind a virtual bread crumb trail leading straight to their next purchase- auto marketers just need to find it.

Data-as-a-Service providers comb the internet for verified indicators that imply imminent purchase. These could be anything from searches for competitor vehicle brands to social media statuses expressing interest in or asking questions about purchasing a car. Many Millennials are still nursing their college “beater car,” and every trip to the shop leaves a trail of data that indicates how much closer they are to taking the next step in purchasing a new vehicle.

By pulling information from various sources, businesses gain access to prospect lists of in-market, millennial consumers who, whether or not they are even aware of it, are already primed for purchase. Data mining can be used to trace the vehicle purchasing process from the first search term to pulling up to the dealer lot. Studies show that more than 50% of consumers across all generations base their final purchasing decision off of digital channels such as web research, reviews, social media, and community forums, and each digital interaction leaves a footprint of the purchaser’s journey.

DaaS found the customer- now you have to keep them.

Increasing Brand Loyalty with Customer Data

Once a prospect has been converted to customer, auto dealers leverage quality data to increase customer retention with personalized campaigns that solidify positive customer relationships. For example, a customer who purchased a slick sports car has now begun leaving a purchasing and social data trail indicating he or she is a soon to be parent. It may be a good time for a sales team member to give the customer a call and see if they’re interested in trading in for a safety conscious minivan.

The good news is that not only is this information available, consumers are becoming more accustomed to their information being used to construct personalized outreach. A recent study by Yahoo and IG shows that 55% of consumers are more likely to engage in a personalized vs. a general ad. Millenials don’t just react better, they actually expect personalized outreach. A study by Accenture showed that 68% of Millennials react more positively to a personalized marketing experience vs. general outreach.

With data intelligence services, businesses can maintain and utilize customer data to create the custom tailored experience that Millennials require. This provides the framework for a positive experience that can ultimately lead to brand loyalty, which is the ultimate gold mine for customer retention. As this infographic by Badgeville shows, although Millennials aren’t very loyal when it comes to employment, 95% appreciate when brands actively reach out to them and 70% practice brand loyalty.

The saying rings true that the easiest customer to sell to is one you have already sold to. Data services are being used to create comprehensive customer profiles giving insight to unprecedented aspects of buying behavior.

From the first impression to forging a long term relationship, automotive industry leaders are realizing the value of data intelligence in targeting and retaining millennial consumers. Unparalleled insights and comprehensive consumer profiles are the new foundation of successful automotive marketing strategies, and are changing the landscape of automotive marketing as a whole. Data solutions effectively provide the intelligence needed to create the optimum millennial consumer strategy, so maybe you won’t have to hire any dancing hamsters.