With 2014 well underway, customers are looking forward to springtime and the joy of hitting the snow-free roads with a new car. But how to identify those customers who are ready (or who can be convinced) to turn their desire into action? It’s all about leads: optimizing the ones you’ve got and making more conversions. Using real-time lead optimization technology, you can fine-tune your existing dealer database into a vehicle that drives as well as the cars you sell.
What is Real-Time Lead Optimization?
Real-time lead optimization is the perfect marriage of an old technology with a new one. Real-time data appending (the cross-checking of customer-provided data against information provided by a database) has long been used as a verification tool to minimize the risk of fraud. But Real-time lead optimization goes one step further by adding the advantages of predictive modeling, thus creating a powerful tool capable of:
- Qualifying leads for eligibility in real time
- Instantly prioritizing leads for optimal handling
- Matching the right offer with the right customer
- Matching best vehicle with each customer
How Does It Work?
As a lead makes contact with your point of sale, online (on the phone, through direct mailings, or on the showroom floor) the lead is matched against a massive database of demographic, credit and behavioral data, including current vehicle, payment levels, home ownership, financial status, credit worthiness, recent mover status, and more. By means of such data, leads can be prioritized and routed efficiently to the proper salesperson or team. Now the salesperson possesses valuable information to offer the consumer the right kind of vehicle in tandem with the right kind of financing package. It’s a win-win, all the way down the line.
What Was that About Predictive Modeling?
Predictive modeling, one of the elements that supercharges Real-time lead optimization even more, is a process used to create a statistical model of future behavior. Using predictive modeling, you can identify the key characteristics of customers who are most likely to purchase as well as those who might be influenced to purchase again. By applying the model to all leads—those already in your database as well as new ones coming from any source—a predictive element is added that can help you focus on the most promising leads. We already know that someone about to complete their loan or lease is very likely to be back in the market soon. But this new tool allows dealers to refine and maximize their marketing abilities by adding even more characteristics that can predict someone’s likelihood of purchase:
- People who have recently posted credit inquiries or undergone credit changes
- People with certain buying behaviors and patterns
- People who would be eligible to purchase a new car without experiencing a significant increase in monthly payments
- People likely to buy in a certain time frame
Beyond targeting consumer who are ready to buy, Real-time lead optimization can help dealers determine what kind of car these leads might be interested in by looking for:
- Lifestyle changes, such as family or job changes, that might require a different type of vehicle
- People driving models or brands which are no longer available or have experienced recall or reliability issues
- Customer segments that could be interested in particular kinds of vehicle features: hybrid cars, all-wheel drive, and so on.
Getting It Done, Faster and More Accurately
We all may be created equal, but that does not mean that all leads are. With Real-time lead optimization, you can now examine new or existing leads based on the level of need, their degree of “convertibility,” and the potential return-on-investment (ROI) of each lead. The technology scores leads straight into your lead management system, creating categories of prioritization based on the quality of a lead: from Tier-1, the most likely and most qualified to buy, down to Tier 4, leads who are the least qualified or least likely to buy. Armed with this information, you can then determine the appropriate marketing strategies for each category, including:
- The correct message for each type of lead (vehicle, offer, creative, etc.)
- The correct channel (digital, direct mail, email, phone, etc.)
- The correct resources (how much to spend and expend)
In marketing, speed matters. Customers are making decisions in real time, and marketers need the ability to respond just as quickly. In this environment, the business who is the fastest to respond, and whose response is the most targeted—whether on the floor, online, or on the phone—is more likely to win the sale. This translates into a major competitive advantage, as firms employing real-time lead optimization technologies have experienced conversion boosts of up to 30%, with ROI gains of up to 40%. Bottom line? If it’s not real-time, you are probably missing out on opportunity.
Kamal Tahir is Vice President of Client Strategy at Datamyx, the leading provider of data-driven marketing solutions for consumer marketers in the financial services, automotive and insurance industries. Before joining the Datamyx team in 2013, Kamal held leadership positions at Experian, Nielsen, and UL. Kamal holds an MBA in International Business and Strategic Management from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management. He currently serves as a council member of the Cook County New Media Council. For more information, visit us at www.datamyx.com.0
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