It Pays to Go Small: Target Other Drivers in a Customer’s Household

Build an Other Vehicles in Household (OVIH) database to focus marketing efforts on real people with a detailed message specific to their situation

Analytics, consumer insights, attribution: These are some of the hot topics we associate with big data.

Companies spend billions on proprietary software and complex algorithms to collect and process endless data points. Those costs are ultimately passed down to the dealers, who don’t necessarily want to know how it all works—they just want more showroom traffic, phone calls, and online activity.

So, in a world of big data, I am here to tell you: Sometimes it pays to go small.

By small I mean utilizing an internal marketing tool that is 100% free, and gives you data that is unique to your dealership. And best of all, no third parties are involved.

Dealers train their sales staff to capture detailed information from the customer, who has just purchased or leased a new or used vehicle. In reality, however, this person is out of the market for another vehicle for an average of 42 months.

Dealers are missing the opportunity to acquire some of the most valuable data, and it’s sitting right in front of them—the vehicle information of the other drivers in a customer’s household.

Create a simple printed form or utilize a tablet that has fields for each of the other household drivers’ full name, email, cell and work phone, and the year, make, model, color, current miles, and condition of the vehicle.

Also, ask if there is an open payment, what the intended trade cycle is, and what the person’s next intended purchase is. Explain the simple benefit of sharing this information—that you would like to extend personalized special offers and opportunities to other members of the family in their household.

It is vital that you capture the Other Vehicles in Household (OVIH) data as a separate customer entry in your DMS or CRM, and not as notes within the original customer record. Otherwise, you will not be able to access and export the data properly.

As you build your OVIH database, you can now focus marketing efforts on real people with a detailed message specific to their situation.

This is not mass marketing. It’s targeted, it’s personal, it’s low-cost, and it’s very effective. OVIH also creates a unique, pre-owned database only accessible by your dealership.

Imagine a customer who is interested in a specific used vehicle on your lot, but wishes you had a different color. You check your OVIH database and find the right vehicle.

You contact the owner with an offer to retail him or her out of the vehicle, explaining all the benefits of retail value, the effects of time and mileage on depreciation, and upcoming maintenance costs. You broker the three-way deal, plus you have now created an additional person in need of a vehicle.

You can also use OVIH information to market your service, parts, and accessories departments. Again, your biggest advantage is that you can specify your message and special offers to the individual needs of the owner.

Paying attention to these small details will result in a big payoff.

Scott Toland has more than 30 years of marketing experience with local dealerships, regional associations, national manufacturers, and media companies. In 2003, Scott established The Marketing Academy—then a four-day marketing workshop, today an online video platform with more than 200 ideas, strategies, and solutions. Visit

Scott Toland


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