Using Data To Establish Consumer Loyalty

Given that it is of course cheaper for an automotive brand to retain a customer rather than find a new one, the importance of up-to-date customer information is absolutely crucial. Although not an exception, the automotive industry relies heavily on accurate data when it comes to brands trying to secure repeat customers. While it is one thing actually promoting after sales to a customer, it is another to expect them to remember such detail in 12 months time.

As soon as a manufacturer’s free warranty or service plan runs out, which in most cases is after the 36-month mark, the chances increase that a customer will shop elsewhere when they next need service or maintenance work carried out on their vehicle. An automotive brand will suffer if it doesn’t have an effective after sales strategy in place.

The great thing about a car product is that there are many opportunities when it comes to predictive marketing; the insight needed to define an effective and efficient after sales marketing strategy. But it isn’t now enough to just base predictions on purchase history and a timeline resulting from that. Complex analytics must combine predictive and forecasted events with life cycle events and duty of care messages targeting specific customers. This approach allows a brand to communicate with customers before its competitors do and we’ve found for some of our clients that this leads to a conversion rate of 29 per cent. By anticipating future customer requirements, behaviours and preferences, automotive marketers can act in a more targeted and timely manner to maximise sales opportunities.

By having a fully automated, and centralised, marketing programme in place, timed reminders and offers can be delivered to customers through direct marketing activity. Likewise, using the customer data available to automotive brands, these communications can be tailored to individual needs to ensure that customers are targeted in a personalised and relevant way, whether that is by post, email, through the phone or in other ways. It is, however, important not to restrict the data that is collected; the wider variety of data sources used, the broader the information that a brand has on its customer. This in turn helps to create a more holistic view of individual customers and their future needs to allow personalised communications that will help to increase engagement rates, footfall in the dealership, revenue and ultimately profitability.

One of the benefits of this approach is that it can be applied to lapsed customers too, using historical data gathered to reactivate these people and help the brand deliver increased revenue.

It isn’t rocket science, but it is sad to see how many brands get this wrong repeatedly. Any marketing programme is only as successful as the quality of its data so it is of paramount importance that this is right in the first instance and is cleansed effectively. Using out-of-date or lapsed data can have a terrible effect on the success of a campaign and the customer’s subsequent view of the brand. Getting it right really is the only option.

To extract the maximum possible value from a customer, data must be used in a sensible and effective way. By identifying when and to what messages individual customers and prospects are most likely to respond to will ultimately deliver a high quality sales pipeline. There is so much insight locked up in databases and unlocking this information helps to ensure an intelligent and  successful after sales programme is implemented. The results will speak for themselves: better customer retention, delivering the right customer service and increasing the propensity to cross sell successfully to more customers.

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