Marketing is still the number one essential practice in spreading awareness for your product, service, or brand. With consumer satisfaction and expectations constantly changing and evolving, paying attention to the current trends is a good way to stay ahead of the competition. Joining Jim today is Amy Hughes, senior director of dealer intelligence at Experian, to discuss what goes into an effective auto marketing campaign.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Welcome to the show Amy.
Amy Hughes: Thanks, Jim. Always great to be here with you.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Absolutely. Yeah, great to have you. Talk to us, you know Experian is got one of those names out there that everybody’s familiar with. Consumers, dealers, if you’re in business, you know that name. Talk to us a little bit about some of the insights that you guys provide to automobile dealers and to the auto industry and how you’re now playing a bigger role in the marketing of vehicles.
Amy Hughes: Sure. Sure.
Jim Ftizpatrick: For manufacturers and dealers.
Amy Hughes: Sure, you’re right. We’re so blessed to have a fabulous, global brand.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, that’s for sure.
Amy Hughes: You know, we cover the three things that in the automotive industry, you need to understand to sell more cars. The car, the customer and credit.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Right. Right. Right. Yeah.
Amy Hughes: When you combine the insights the way only we can, really, we’re the only single source provider of all of those data sets.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Oh, really?
Amy Hughes: Yes.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Okay, wow, that’s a pretty unique offering then.
Amy Hughes: Yeah, sure. We can really help dealers turn data and insights into something very usable, like more meaningful relationships with their customers, better intelligence on making decisions for all of their operations. The marketing space, in particular, there’s a wealth of data around the best way to sort of build that intelligence into your conversations with your customers. We’re really offering some insight to dealers at the very, very local level. Most of the time we’re talking about industry standard kind of metrics. Is the market going to be up? Is it going to be down? If we can tell a dealer, this is exactly how many cars we’re predicting we’ll sell in this zip code, near your store.
Jim Ftizpatrick: That’s pretty strong.
Amy Hughes: They’re going to want to see that and then kind of reinforce that with, and this many are coming out of equity. This many are at the end of their loan. This many have recently moved into this area.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Very valuable data.
Amy Hughes: Have a student going away to college. Yeah, so just adding that insight and intelligence on top of data is really what we’re looking to do for dealers.
Jim Ftizpatrick: With dealers trying to run a much more efficient dealership nowadays, and NDA has dealers spending upwards of $700 a copy, which is crazy, right? Combine that with margin compression on the front end, every dealers trying to find every possible way that they can shave expense out. When you provide a service and a product that says, “No, no, only advertise and send this specific message to that guy or girl that’s in the market right now for your product.” You can really save a tremendous amount of money in advertising, can’t you?
Amy Hughes: It really adds up.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah.
Amy Hughes: It really adds up when you just begin to focus geographically, demographically, and then really what message resonates best a Honda Accord buyer in Knoxville, Tennessee versus a Toyota Camry buyer in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You just really need to know those local nuances. It allows you to shrink, most of the time, the radius of your digital spend. It also allows you to just retain a more relevant conversation because you’re understanding how these people live their lives.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, for sure.
Amy Hughes: And how they want to be messaged to.
Jim Ftizpatrick: It also allows you to stay in touch with that customer all the way through, not just the sales process, but also the service process too. You can bring those customers into the service department on an ongoing basis because as you know, we’re challenged in the industry, only get about 30, 35% retention in service for the cars that we deliver, which is a crazy low number. We’re always trying to battle that. It’s all about connecting with that customer in a timely fashion. Right?
Amy Hughes: Yeah, getting ahead of it.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, exactly.
Amy Hughes: Getting ahead of and anticipating what their needs are. One of the opportunities that we’ll be offering dealers at NADA is come see the actual number of new car shoppers who are going to be active in some way in the zip code. [inaudible 00:04:17].
Jim Ftizpatrick: That’s pretty cool.
Amy Hughes: Using that wealth of data. Painting a picture that matters, painting that, not just talking numbers for the sake of talking numbers but painting a picture that matters to the dealer and that’s really what we do.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Right. Every dealer that’s listening to us right now says, “Well, I run a tremendous amount of money in digital marketing. I’m buying keywords and I’m buying phrases. I’m buying retargeting ads and pre-rolls.” And what have you. Those are great, right? Obviously. This is something different than that, isn’t it?
Amy Hughes: Right.
Jim Ftizpatrick: This is taking a little bit more of an intelligent approach to the marketing.
Amy Hughes: It is. It is because the blessing, and a bit of a curse in automotive advertising is that we hit that reset button every month. Right?
Jim Ftizpatrick: That’s right. Hero to zero.
Amy Hughes: Right. The question every month again is, “Will I sell more cars?” Right? And that’s fine. That’s an absolutely fair question. The question we pose back to our dealer partners is, “Well, have we looked at the data to feel confident about those two things?” Right? It’s very telling when you look at the opportunity to really reduce that spend. We can allocate it other places, for sure. You want to maximize that opportunity because the manufacturers, you know allow us the luxury of really maximizing that spend through co-op dollars and other things. But if you can make every campaign smarter, right? If you can find, reach, and retain profitable customers then everyone feels much more comfortable at the end of the month. That’s really what we set out to do.
Jim Ftizpatrick: It’s all about predictive data, right?
Amy Hughes: It really is. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim Ftizpatrick: That’s kind of the new trend in automotive marketing is to find that individual, if you can, as you said, in my market that has a propensity to lease a vehicle, and guess what? There lease is up in the next 60 days or the next 90 days. I’m sure the information that you’re able to provide is to say this person is, there lease is up in a year, so, let’s start slowly marketing to them now so that when they make that decision, which is usually about 90 days outside of their lease expiring is when they start to really.
Amy Hughes: You know what’s fascinating is, and I’m thrilled to share this with you. 63% actually, you know, sort of come out of that lease before the maturity date.
Jim Ftizpatrick: That’s something.
Amy Hughes: Yeah, so they’re way ahead of it and dealers aren’t really aware. The other really valuable solution-
Jim Ftizpatrick: Wow, 63.
Amy Hughes: -for dealers is that historically, utilizing that type of intelligence has come with a lot of restrictions from offer of credit, I can only find that out because I’m a Lexus dealer, I know it about my Lexus customers.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, I can imagine, sure.
Amy Hughes: The modeling of this intelligence allows for a lot of flexibility. Allows for Omni channel campaigns, and it allows for conquest campaigns. Getting ahead of the pull ahead programs for manufacturers. If I’m a Lexus dealer and I want to really dig into Infinity or Mercedes or BMW, whatever that conquest opportunity shapes up to be at the local level, it’s a strategic advantage to a dealer to grow their market shares.
Jim Ftizpatrick: This has both an offensive, or an offense, I should say play as well as a defense because if I don’t have a program like this through a provider like Experian, but my competition does, guess who’s after my clients? Right?
Amy Hughes: Right.
Jim Ftizpatrick: I want to make sure it’s almost like an insurance policy. To make sure that we’re taking good care of our own customers. We’re connecting with them because we known that if a guy down the road has this available to them, they’re going to be hitting our customers pretty hard, aren’t they?
Amy Hughes: Sure. Sure. There’s that additional intelligence that we talked about from our customer database that really helps you get that advantage by resonating. What a Lexus dealer shop, I mean Lexus customer is shopping for could be very different. The message that they really want to receive in that journey could be very different.
Jim Ftizpatrick: I could imagine.
Amy Hughes: Being able to look at, like I said, all of those data sets, the car, the customer, the credit, and learn from it all in one place it really does empower the dealer to make faster decisions and be more competitive.
Jim Ftizpatrick: I can imagine.
Amy Hughes: Like you said.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, for sure. And know more about that customer by the time they either call, click or come in. Right? You really know the full file on that individual, right?
Amy Hughes: Yes. Absolutely.
Jim Ftizpatrick: You know how to proceed with them.
Amy Hughes: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You can geographically decide how much of that you want to take on. Right? Because our BDC departments and even some of our sales floors are looking to constantly optimize, streamline, meet the customer where they are. If you want to dip your toe in and just begin with a small group of zip codes that are important to your growth or important for your conquest strategy. We have a dealer who actually received some funds from the manufacturer recently to work on some conquest campaigns and the data for that was very, very specific. You need to be able to conquest Jaguar against this particular, you know. Dealers are used to working with direct mail companies and fulfillment houses.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Sure, yeah.
Amy Hughes: But, when you can layer in that additional intelligence of I’m not just blasting to households we think have that vehicle in there garage, I’m actually layering in that not only do they have that vehicle in their garage, they’re coming into equity on that vehicle.
Jim Ftizpatrick: That’s huge. That is huge.
Amy Hughes: Or they might have, maybe not in a Jaguar scenario but they’ve just opened a student loan, so we know you’re going to have a kid going off to college. Just taking a broad view and then localizing it.
Jim Ftizpatrick: That’s phenomenal.
Amy Hughes: Yes. It’s fun.
Jim Ftizpatrick: That’s really what it’s all about in the automotive industry moving forward, obviously, it’s been around now for a few years and dealers that are listening that are on your program, I’m sure are going, “Yeah, Jim, this is something we’ve been doing for the last few years.” It’s certainly something that all dealers need to take a look at. For the dealers that do, and I’m just putting my dealer hat on right now to say, you’re getting really, you’re drilling down with these customers. Do you have a team that helps me as a dealer navigate through all of this and understand it better? Kind of like a training or to work with our people?
Amy Hughes: We do. We have a group of phenomenally talented performance managers. They host monthly market guidance calls with the dealers to plan that attack, that strategy.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Wow, that’s cool. Like an ad agency.
Amy Hughes: It’s an unbiased approach of course because we’re not spending those dollars for you, but what’s fun because you mentioned the ad agencies, is that the ad agencies join the calls as well. Imagine just having an analyst of the industry at your disposal.
Jim Ftizpatrick: No, it’s huge.
Amy Hughes: To work with your team and to really in the middle of the month tweak it, adjust it, put the gas pedal down on this particular type of campaign. That’s so valuable. That empowers you to meet your number with much more confidence.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Right.
Amy Hughes: The new cars sells number in particular.
Jim Ftizpatrick: What are some of the challenges that auto dealers have, that auto dealers face when it comes to reaching the end market car buyer? You know?
Amy Hughes: Sure, end market is changing with this type of intelligence. Right?
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah.
Amy Hughes: I would just go back to that confidence of am I choosing the right medium? Am I working with the right data providers on social? Are my ad words fully optimized? Can really get lost in that cycle of digital effectiveness without intelligence at the household level. Right? Intelligence that speaks to these types of triggers, we call them. Right? Not just triggers that are related to credit but triggers that are related to you know, you just had a new baby. What does that mean? It’s different than-
Jim Ftizpatrick: Very valuable.
Amy Hughes: Yeah, historically we’ve looked at end market in ways that sort of propped up our ability to better digitally market but we’ve tracked that based on well they were on third party website perhaps and I want to re-target them. This is infinitely more sophisticated than just that, which is nice.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, sounds like it. Yeah.
Amy Hughes: There’s an initiative within Experian called the automotive marketing engine that our OEM team is really putting into enhance the audiences with that type of end market model and utilizing again the power of those three databases, the car, the customer, and the credit. Just makes it stronger.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, right. You’re going to be out at NADA in a couple of weeks?
Amy Hughes: We are.
Jim Ftizpatrick: I’m sure you’re have an entire team out there. If dealers and managers that are interested in coming by and getting a demonstration on this and learning more, you’ll have a team out there to do that?
Amy Hughes: Yeah, we’d love it. Sure. Yeah, we have our field team will be in the booth. You’ll get to meet the person who runs in your market and can come in and consult with your store.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Oh, cool. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah.
Amy Hughes: Really have some valuable insights. We have a free market analysis on the dealer marketing information that I’ve shared with you.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Very cool.
Amy Hughes: Then an automotive risk analysis for our auto check products. Please come and see what-
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, dealers, you got to take her up on that because it’s, first of all, it’s free. You’re going to be at NADA anyway so learn more about your market, their product that’s going to take you over the top. I’m sure they’re very competitive in their fees and such. Otherwise they wouldn’t be around as long as they have been. Amy Hughes with Experian, I want to thank you so much for joining us on CBT.
Amy Hughes: Thank you.
Jim Ftizpatrick: You can be sure I’m going to be coming by because I want to get a full demonstration on this as well. It’s all about, as dealers know, about being smarter with your ad dollars today, being much more efficient and only marketing specific messages to specific buyers, end market buyers at that time. That to me is the special sauce in all of this.
Amy Hughes: Sure. The profitability goes through the roof when you do it.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Oh, there’s no question about it. Yeah.
Amy Hughes: Having the lens and seeing that is really valuable.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, for sure.
Amy Hughes: Thanks for having me by.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no question.
Amy Hughes: We’ll see you at NADA.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Yeah, well, like to have the follow-up talk with you after NADA, see how it went and see how many dealers you’ve gotten on board.
Amy Hughes: Sounds great.
Jim Ftizpatrick: Take us up on it dealers. Thanks again.
Amy Hughes: Thank you Jim.
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