Privacy and security have been heavy topics of discussion in recent years. Revelations of government interference and big business hacks have many people skeptical about putting their personal information online, yet the world of eCommerce continues to grow. There’s a safer, more useful side to all of the “big data” that’s floating out there. The car business is ideal for merging consumer information with proper advertising.
Targeting has held a negative connotation for some time. Google in particular has been accused by everyone from competitors and consumer watchdogs to entire governments of taking their data collection and usage too far. Just because we receive an email about Coach Bill Belichick’s thoughts about conspiracy theories doesn’t mean that we’re interested in buying a Coach purse.
The automotive industry is different. The way that big data operates in this realm is based upon habits, behaviors, and preferences. People who lease vehicles are more likely to lease again than someone who has always purchased, for example. Those who buy a Hyunda Sonata are more likely to get their vehicles serviced at the local Hyundai dealer. The data is much more straightforward than the keyword tagging and demographic targeting that fills other industries.
Companies like String Automotive have made a business out of gathering and understanding the data in ways that will help connect car dealers with car shoppers in a meaningful way. By breaking down buying habits based upon geography and cross-referencing that data with advertising habits, they’re able to show dealers the right message to put in front of the right people through the right mediums at the right times.
The initial response whenever consumers are “targeted” is normally negative, but targeting in the car business is much less intrusive than in other industries. In fact, it can be helpful. The process of buying a vehicle is often a long one. Most people don’t wake up one morning and decide to head over to the car dealership before their haircut appointment. It often entails several hours of online research spread out across multiple sessions.
Through proper data targeting, the incentives, specials, and deals that are most likely to help the consumer can be delivered through multiple channels such as banner displays, search PPC advertising, and social media. This allows a steady flow of shopping data to reach consumers from the dealers that are most likely in their area and able to fulfill their needs.
Big data and business intelligence can be used properly or they can be abused. In the automotive industry, the trends are pointing towards dealers taking advantage of the data available for the benefit of the consumers.