Marketing studies tell us most purchases are emotional decisions rationalized later with logic. If you could flip the order and use a rational process to first establish an emotional connection with a consumer, you would have greater control over your positioning—and your sales.
Don’t get me wrong. Data gathering is great. But understanding the data helps you know what you don’t know. By mining consumer data intelligently, you get more than just a picture of who they are as consumers. You get a picture of who they are as car buyers.
But where do you start? Sources for consumer data can be overwhelming: vendor data, census, surveys, public records, white pages, summarized car data, and so on. Fortunately, third-party solution providers can collect, aggregate and help interpret the data for you. From Google Analytics to vehicle registration numbers to online shopping habits to demographic data, you’re able to build a profile of not only the vehicles consumers are purchasing in a particular area but the messages they want to hear. Best of all, such business intelligence enables you to know where and how to spend your marketing budget more efficiently.
Here are three steps to follow before investing in your next marketing campaign:
- Target — With powerful data analytic tools at your disposal, you’re able to pinpoint the most successful locations for each specific model down to the zip-code level. Whether you’re mining by radius or location. Polk statistics for new vehicle registrations or Experian’s AutoMarket DNA database or your own DMS, you’ll benefit from unique industry insights. Start with the numbers to get a view into market share by manufacturer and model, as well as loyalty calculations and migration patterns. Don’t forget to target by zip code and not just by radius. Hypertargeting can enable you to reach more potential customers while keeping your ad spending flat.
- Understand – Try to understand the mindset of your prospects in each specific area. Consumer patterns are constantly studied by such data industry leaders as Dataium, a single source for aggregation of online shopper behavior that collects billions of behavorial events each day. Understanding how consumers respond today is critical for anticipating their future responses.
- Connect — This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. You’ve identified solid prospects for specific makes and models, now it’s time to stand out from the rest of the marketing noise and actually connect with those prospects. You do this by identifying the language, offers and media that they will find most receptive. The right words and offers can start the conversation on a positive note and help build both trust and consumer confidence.
Returning to my original premise about the benefits of making an emotional connection with car shoppers, I’d like to share with you the results of a marketing test we performed at String Automotive. We tested landing pages for ten different dealerships covering six makes in four markets.
First, we identified where we wanted to target by make and model. Next, we identified our target demographics by zip code. Lastly, we identified our specific segments. For example, would we be targeting older or younger consumers, sophisticated singles, middle-aged couples with children? Once we identified each segment and its core attributes, we wanted to know which type of advertising would most likely work. Internet advertising scored high with our targeted zip codes, so we focused our test on a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign.
We used Mosiac®, Experian’s household-based consumer lifestyle segmentation system, to identify messages that would resonate, such as “hassle-free,” “incentives” and “flexible financing options.” We added those keywords as bullet points to the landing page and tailored all of the model pages accordingly.
We ran the pilot program for 90 days and were astounded by the final results. Our conversion rate jumped by 360%. Our bounce rate dropped by 27%. Perhaps more importantly, our action rate or value-per-view rate increased by 271%. This means site visitors submitted a form or clicked a call button. In other words, they did more than just look or lurk. They felt moved to act because our messaging and offer resonated.
Marketing guru Seth Godin encourages marketers to understand that “no one cares about them. People care about themselves.” By digging deep and understanding your data analytics, “dry” data can help your dealership show that you care about consumers. You can make an emotional connection to them. And that connection could be your shortest path between turning prospects into customers.
It’s a Herculean task, to be sure. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone.
Author: Ken Kolodziej
Ken Kolodziej is the Co-Founder and CEO of String Automotive. String’s Dealer Positioning System® collects, sorts, and cross-references all of the rich data available to the automotive industry, and converts it into clear action plans for each unique dealership’s local market. String Automotive is the only vendor in the automotive industry to become a “Google Analytics Certified Partner.” EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.