3 Lessons the Automotive Industry Can Teach All Marketers
Innovations create a seamless, individualized experience that reaches customers regardless of channel or device
The automotive industry is innovative by its very nature, and in an age of increasingly digital consumer engagement, marketers can learn a lot from the trends and strategies of an industry that, according to Yahoo Finance, is worth nearly 1 trillion dollars.
From driving digital engagement across multiple platforms to connecting the dots of the customer journey for a better in-person experience, keeping an eye on automotive is key to marketing success.
1. Keep digital personal
Digital marketing has been evolving for more than a decade, but it’s the unique combination of digital and personalization that leads to the best results. Treat digital as your opportunity to gain crucial insights on a customer’s preferences and likelihood to convert so that you can provide a hyper-customized online experience.
It’s important to keep in mind how those digital interactions can translate into a positive in-person purchase experience. When customers feel confident in their digital experience with a brand, especially when considering a major purchase (like a vehicle), they’ll be more prepared to take the next steps to purchase in-person.
So, how do you ensure a customer’s digital experience is the best it can be? Tools like engagement scoring can help provide you with a full 360-degree view of customers, along with insights into their current position on the path to purchase.
That journey can generally be broken down into five steps:
Automotive experiences in the digital space often provide very sophisticated on-site interactions that connect with customers on a one-to-one scale based on data collected by data management platforms and other marketing tools. This is the data that was first generated in the awareness stage through digital campaigns, public relations, etc.
Although this is only the beginning of the journey—and automotive marketers treat it as such—many marketers tend to focus their energies only on the awareness and consideration states, such as driving potential customers to a website, but then fail to create a personalized experience once the customer arrives.
It’s crucial to walk with customers through every step of their path to purchase, rather than just focusing on getting them halfway up the hill and then hoping they’ll make it up the rest of the way on their own.
2. Connect the dots
These days, customers interact with brands on multiple levels across channels, largely because of the increasing prevalence of smartphones, tablets, and multiple in-home devices.
Although it was once easy to pinpoint a customer through the single channel they utilized to digest material, it’s now more complex. Automotive marketers use the tools available to them to isolate and understand individual customers across channels and devices, including levels of interest and engagement. This prevents both a disjointed experience for the customer, as well as a mishandling of strategy from a marketing standpoint.
Realizing that one person is interacting with your media, website, email, and in-store staff—rather than mistakenly believing four different people are using those disparate channels—allows marketers to create a more seamless experience that flows with the customer from device to device and channel to channel.
The key to connecting the dots lies with a centralized and integrated hub of information, a catch-all for necessary data that prevents gaps in knowledge that may lead to mistakes and, ultimately, the loss of customers.
3. It’s all in the details
Ultimately, all marketers can gain insights from what the automotive industry is doing best—creating a seamless, individualized experience for customers that reaches them regardless of channel or device. Although that feeling of personalization is particularly important when a customer is considering a major purchase, the principles are universal across all brands and verticals.
Global director of strategic accounts with IgnitionOne, Rachel Pierson works closely with the marketing teams of major automotive manufacturers and their agencies to develop strategies and solutions to increase marketing performance. A graduate of Central Michigan University, Rachel has 14 years of automotive marketing and advertising experience; she currently resides in Detroit.