As we progress more and more in the “information age,” and move into what looks like a strong 2022 for automotive, different things become key to our strategy when it comes to creating customer experiences. And we always have these technological “eras” that revolutionized how we think about our marketing and customer communications. It used to be mobile responsiveness, then it was how to apply smart machine learning. Now because of all the information flying around, we’re moving into the next phase of data orchestration and connectivity. This is the missing piece in the accelerated dealer-tech adoption we’ve seen over the past year and a half that will be key to a successful digital infrastructure. Modern retail and machine learning decision-making are mostly just givens at this point. Connecting the data in a meaningful way and minimizing data silos is our next priority as an industry.
Data orchestration is the process of taking siloed, disjointed data and connecting it together into one organized, cohesive system. Historically, this has been quite difficult in automotive because the data sources are not built in a way to share information easily. Today, there are new technologies focused on solving this for dealerships to continue the focus on seamless customer shopping experiences.
Let’s discuss why this is so important for automotive.
I cannot tell you how many times I went to a dealership’s website, looked at a specific VDP, filled out a form, and then got an email about a totally different vehicle. Or, other times when I went to a dealership’s website, looked at 2-3 vehicles, and then got retargeted by an inventory specific ad based on my search (sounds promising right?); However, when I click on the ad, it takes me to an oops page (404 page) because the car was already sold and/or taken down from the website even though the ad is still driving traffic to that VDP. I even see back to school Facebook ads running mid-November, which is clearly no longer relevant.
Challenges like these are a function of the information overload we’re facing. There is data and information everywhere and because it’s not connected, it’s creating really poor user experiences. Your dealership needs to invest time and resources into understanding what data orchestration is and how you can implement this at your dealership.
Map all data silos
Map out all your customer touchpoints and data sources into one spreadsheet or document. This makes it crystal clear to understand where and how you’re communicating to your customers and how that data is then fed back to your dealership. Once you have this mapped out, you can understand what is extremely siloed and what needs to be connected.
Find a data hub
There are a couple softwares that do this well-- find them. Invest in technology that connects your systems and customer touch points so you can create seamless experiences. This part of the process will also probably involve consolidating vendors. Ever have a lead from a chat that also converted on a trade in? Were you able to see one solid customer journey, or two journeys for the same lead? That’s what we’re talking about here: consolidate.
Data orchestration is only half the equation. Once you have connected data, it’s critical you can execute and take action based on insights. For example, are your ads reflecting information from your CRM? Are your email follow-ups based on website activity? Making sure your marketing machine is leveraging the orchestrated data will be key to success in 2022.
While this may have seemed impossible five years ago, technologies outside of automotive have proven the possible and shown us the importance of data orchestration and connectivity. This trend to connectivity and orchestration is playing out all over society in different systems. In the tech ecosystem we've seen the emergence of micro-services and data coordination systems like Kubernetes and Docker. In IoT (internet of things) we've seen IoT opps to connect data from numerous sensors and orchestrate the information. There are endless examples that prove its path to automotive digital is coming soon to perfect the customer journey.
Let’s get started.
Ilana is an expert in sales, digital marketing, and business development. She is constantly thinking about how to perfect conversion funnels to build brand awareness. As VP of Marketing, Ilana works to engage audiences and expand market share. She contributes thought leadership for tech companies in and out of the automotive industry including Dealer Refresh, Dealer Marketing, and for the DrivingSales community blog.
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