Lesson From Car Manufacturers: The Value of Data

The car manufacturing industry is wrought with heavy competition. It’s a huge moneymaking industry, and data is an important resource the industry uses to drive sales. But data alone doesn’t always convert directly into sales. It’s about how you use it. Let’s take a lesson from car manufacturers.

The sales pipeline in regards to a car buyer is usually fairly long. The buyer may realize that he or she will eventually need a car. This, in turn, can lead to months of advance planning, which includes both saving and shopping. Will the purchase be a new car or will the buyer(s) try to find a used one to meet their needs? Which make, model, and options are most appealing? By using data that shows where a consumer is in their particular decision making process, automakers can then use the most effective incentives to draw a customer in.

The main difficulty for most car manufacturing companies is receiving a lot of cookie cutter data from third parties. It is up to the car manufacturer, then, to turn the data into useful information. For example, there are many sites where consumers can compare vehicles. This is commonly the first stop for potential buyers. What types of cars are they comparing? Are they looking for new or used cars? Does the third party information differentiate this information? Do they provide other vital facts such as geographic location?

Obviously, you can’t wait until someone waltzes into a car dealership to begin grooming them for a sale. Car manufacturers need to confront buyers at each step of the process. The seeds are planted when someone is comparison shopping. Then, once the shopper appears ready to buy, the campaign needs to be scaled up (perhaps a personalized incentive delivered via mail or email).

A little bit of data goes a long way, so don’t get muddled down in too much. As our lesson from car manufacturers show, learn to approach customers on a one-by-one basis. This is ultimately the best way to get a sale.