How OEMs are Expanding Marketing by Doing More with Data

Aerial photograph of cards parked diagonally in rows in a parking lot.

Data drives decision-making across most industries, and the automotive industry is no different. However, driven by technology that is allowing for greater data utilization, very few industries are able to collect as much data as automotive manufacturers. From driving behavior, to providing supply chain insights, automakers’ customer data holds information that is key to supporting their entire business. One key area that could be optimized better through data is marketing. Here are three areas where OEMs can easily optimize what they already have to increase efficiency and improve their marketing. 

1. Meet Customers Where They Are

The direct relationship between OEMs and consumers officially begins at the time of purchase. The way this relationship is handled determines if a one-time customer can be converted into a brand loyalist. If OEMs have the proper tech infrastructure to help analyze data efficiently, they can better understand customer needs and build out targeted messaging that meets the customer wherever they are in the sales lifecycle. Online campaigns, mobile promotions, and lead generation campaigns are all ways for an automaker to stay in touch with a customer in a more natural and frequent manner that ultimately will make them purchase from the brand. 

In other words, OEMs can cultivate valuable, individualized relationships with customers by understanding who they are, how they drive, and what they need. This data is already available, but automakers must have the ability to ingest and analyze it in a meaningful way. Customer data platforms are a great option to better analyze this data and make sure that they aren’t missing out on opportunities due to mismanaged, disjointed data. 

2. Make Every Dollar Count

Automotive marketing is expensive. From national advertising campaigns on television to regional TV and radio campaigns that drive consumers to dealerships to local print advertising, each approach consumes a significant part of marketing budgets. By increasing data efficiency and optimizing its data analysis, OEMs gain the ability to reduce their marketing spend per customer, making these efforts more efficient and productive. Automakers that have incorporated a customer data platform into their tech stack can ingest and analyze data to create granular segments and sub-segments, increasing personalization. For example, an automaker could utilize data to target a specific set of consumers who are: 

  • Between the ages of 35 and 45
  • Living in specific regions
  • Drive a particular nameplate 
  • Expecting their car loans to end soon

This type of segmentation, which allows for more effective personalization, is key to increasing marketing efficiency.  

The ability to work in such granular groups allows OEM marketers to be sure they are reaching the correct consumers, at the correct time, with the correct message. When OEMs ditch the mass marketing approach for the more targeted, and granular, approach they will surely be more efficient with their  marketing dollars while increasing their ROI. And with the help of a CPD, OEMs can make sure that lookalike audiences are created using the most robust data analysis possible. 

3. Utilize Targeted Online Marketing

Automakers typically receive purchase data from dealership networks, but most consumers only go to a dealership to buy a vehicle. However, a consumer usually pulls up a manufacturer’s website to do the type of necessary research. This provides OEMs with a wealth of insights by utilizing the dealers’ online data. They can identify what a typical customer looks like, see their searches, and know how long they are browsing. This is something OEMs have done for years and have experienced success through large national advertising campaigns, as well as various targeting efforts. 

What if OEMs could go even further? Well, they can. OEMs can take the sales data they receive from dealers and combine that with the data they ingest on their own to identify potential customers, individuals who are ready to purchase additional vehicles or people in need of major maintenance and target them with the correct messaging. This allows OEMs to have effective targeting resulting in a higher return on advertising spend (ROAS). 

Auto manufacturers are constantly looking for additional ways to build customer relationships and personalize their experiences. By implementing a customer data platform (CDP) that can merge OEM data with dealership sales data, these OEMs can target customers at a granular level. This allows them to save as much as 20 percent on their digital advertising expenditures by ensuring they are reaching the exact right audience at the exact right time. 

Data is King

Building data infrastructure is time-consuming and very tedious, and traditionally not something that OEMs specialize in. However, it is truly the key to finding and creating customers that will eventually turn into brand loyalists who come back when they are looking to replace or upgrade their cars. Finding the right partner that can help support OEMs across various segments is the key to successfully harnessing the full power of their data. 

Once an OEM has integrated a successful CDP across its business, it will give them the ability to become more efficient and effective marketers that ultimately increase their ROI by simply using the information that is already at their fingertips. 

Andrew Shaffer
Andrew Shaffer
Andrew Shaffer is the Automotive Industry Principal at Treasure Data. has held multiple leadership positions at some of the world’s most recognized automotive companies.