Speak the Customer’s Language With Behavioral Microtargeting

Big data helps reveal how to approach customers based on their personality types

Behavioral microtargeting: The use of big data layered with behavioral characteristics to speak to customers the way they want to be spoken to.

Many auto dealerships in the United States feel that their marketing efforts lack the sophistication needed to differentiate them in an increasingly competitive space with well-informed consumers. Although some dealerships are using digital agencies to improve their targeting of ads, there are still many relying on just their website to drive leads, and newspaper print advertising to build awareness around the latest offers.

The newest advancements in marketing technology (or martech, as it is now called) put the use of sophisticated analytics in the hands of anyone trying to market a business. Although the martech landscape is crowded with interesting technologies to engage or better understand customers, I’ll focus on one area that holds tremendous promise for auto dealerships: big data.

Big data is simply the enormous flow of data that accumulates as we live our modern, digital lives—what you surf on the web, where you shop, what you buy, where you went to school, whether you go to church, who you vote for, etc.

Big data simply gives businesses a more holistic view of your customers. The better you can know your customers, the better you can engage with them. And better engagement leads to more conversions.

Even big data has grown more sophisticated in the last few years. Now, big data can also help you to understand how a customer wants to be sold to, what their personality type is, and which methods of persuasion are the most effective.

This type of understanding is called behavioral communications, and it has been used by the U.S. State Department, NATO, and the UK Ministry of Defence for years as an alternative to the use of force. What it does is change people’s behavior through carefully crafted messaging that resonates with them.

A simple example: If you know that a particular prospect is a neurotic person, you understand that they perceive the world as a dangerous place, and therefore seek things that bring safety and certainty to an uncertain world. If a sales rep knows this before this person walks through the dealership door, the salesperson can frame sales messaging around the safety features of a given vehicle rather than its economy, performance, or styling.

This is a vast oversimplification of what is known as behavioral microtargeting: the use of big data layered with behavioral characteristics to speak to customers the way they want to be spoken to. I have spoken to a few forward-looking dealerships about this approach, and there are two broad areas where microtargeting can be used.

First, this data can be integrated with a dealership’s CRM system so that when leads come in from the internet, your salespeople can quickly understand more characteristics about their prospective customers—including their personality type. Your salespeople are then prepared to speak to customers the way they want to be spoken to, and to use the right methods of persuasion.

Second, behavioral microtargeting can be used to supercharge a dealership’s marketing efforts. Now dealership offers can be targeted to the specific personality profile of the buyer, and be delivered either digitally or via TV in a hypertargeted way.

It only takes small improvements in conversion rates for a dealership to see a dramatic shift in revenue. Behavioral microtargeting is a powerful new tool that can be added to any dealership’s marketing plan.

Duke Perrucci is the chief revenue officer at Cambridge Analytica, where he is responsible for commercial sales in the U.S. He has over 20 years of experience in market research, brand management, consulting, and sales management. Prior to joining CA, he spent eight years building and managing the global sales organization for FocusVision, a U.S.-based company that builds technologies for market research professionals. Perrucci has a BA in classics from Fordham University and an MBA from Cornell University.

Duke Perrucci


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