How Dealers Can Better Collect and Interpret Their Data – Amy Hughes, Experian


Experian‘s Senior Director of Dealer Intelligence, Amy Hughes, joined Jim Fitzpatrick on the CBT Stage at NADA 2020 in Las Vegas to discuss how dealers can better collect and interpret data insights.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Amy Hughes, it’s always great to see you here at NADA.

Amy Hughes: How you doing, Tim. Have they worn you out yet? 53 interviews.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I know. 53 interviews, it’s crazy. It really is nuts. What’s on dealer’s minds today? You guys are at the forefront of what’s happening in the industry, from your perspective.

Amy Hughes: Yeah, I’ve been fortunate enough to listen in on a couple of… Just yesterday I was at the Automotive Retail Forum. I think you were in the audience.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Amy Hughes: Margin compression is always at the top of the list. You heard also in that forum the discussion of what dealers can do in that particular case and in many other cases about these challenges by using data.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Amy Hughes: But I think, as you know, we’re all about data at Experian, that we’re all about making certain that dealers understand what to do with it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Amy Hughes: So I think in general, from NADA to automotive news, everyone’s looking to provide dealers a bit of peace of mind about that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Amy Hughes: And how to use it to face their challenges and really make a difference. Make it actionable. Which aligns well with our mission as well.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I know. Yeah. Dealers have CRMs. Isn’t that good enough?

Amy Hughes: Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? We look at the traditional metrics well. We write things in wax pencil, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: That right.

Amy Hughes: It’s not enough. And that’s where the burden is on us, as a provider of data to the industry, to help dealers bring data alongside their own metrics that show them where the real opportunity is. Where they can actually change those traditional metrics into quantifiable opportunity and direction. Yeah, the CRMs are pretty… They’re, they’re coming along. Right? They’re coming along. But if you stop your analysis there, you won’t have an understanding of what you’re missing.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. So these CRMs aren’t good enough. They need more, but dealers aren’t data experts. As you know. They need somebody that’s going to hold their hand. And also, I know we’ve talked about this back in the studio in Atlanta, where you guys have a team of people that will do just that, that will decipher what the data means and how to best use it. Talk to us a little bit about that.

Amy Hughes: Well sure. As you can see the technology in the industry is coming along as well, to help dealers not feel they need to be pressured by… I’m a data scientist today, I’m the general manager tomorrow.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I know, it’s crazy.

Amy Hughes: But you still need someone who can come alongside you, who does have those skills, and kind of help you understand how does this information align to your goals? How do you take the hyper local data and actually make it matter? And so that’s where our performance managers at Experian are just absolutely invaluable. They take our technology and the data within it, they combine it with the dealer’s data. And then you have a story in a direction for addressing whatever challenge your story has.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. There’s no question. Last time we spoke, when you were back in the studio a few weeks back, I told you that we spoke to one of your clients and they were like, “Oh my God, life changing for us.” You guys do such a great job for them. Because to your point, they don’t want to become or need to become that data expert themselves.

Amy Hughes: No.

Jim Fitzpatrick: They got to sell cars. They got to manage their sales staff. They got to do advertising. They do a multitude of different things. And now it’s like, “Oh, now become a data expert.”

Amy Hughes: Sure. No. And the thing is, we all have to do what we do well. And we simply need to enhance our understanding of how that opportunity can be shifted by the data and how a new perspective can be given to it. So by all means, we want data to infuse every portion of the dealership. But we want it to be alongside what they’re fabulous at, which is moving cars and helping their customers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And at the same time bringing cost down.

Amy Hughes: Yes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To be able to identify consumers based on the data to say, “No, this is where your marketing needs to go.” To bring down that cost, NADA says it’s $700 a car, thereabouts, to advertise. That’s crazy. And we’re not making enough money on the front end of the car to do that. So that number needs to drastically be reduced to $100 a car. Right?

Amy Hughes: Absolutely. And you don’t have a really solid sense of where that efficiency can take place until you overlay all of the data sets, and the traditional metrics that dealers look at every day, with where is the past purchase history in the market. And where is this specific model moving in your local market. So by aligning them, we really see significant efficiencies for dealers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And that is so big, because dealers are starving for that. Just talking to another gentleman before this interview here, plays a big role in the auto industry, and all I hear about is margin compression. Dealers aren’t making enough money. And at the end of the day, data needs to help that dealer in that area in a big way. Right?

Amy Hughes: Yes. And I think we have to be careful, or the data can lead us down that sort of race to the bottom.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. That’s a good point.

Amy Hughes: And so enhancing those traditional metrics with the intelligence that Experian can bring, really does paint a picture of profitability for dealers. So come see us so we can paint that picture for you, pull up your market and show you what it looks like.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And for the dealers that weren’t able to make it out to NADA, and they don’t have a chance to come over to your incredible booth here, talk to us a little bit about the next steps. If they’re listening to us right now and they want to learn more, what are the next steps for them to say, “Didn’t make it to NADA for whatever reason. But I like what I hear. I want to learn more about this.” What do they need to do?

Amy Hughes: So if you visit and you find yourself into our dealer technology and advertising marketing solutions, you’ll have a form that you can fill out. And one of our field experts will call you and do the same exact analysis that we’re doing here on the NADA floor.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Awesome. No obligation? They don’t have to sign up with you?

Amy Hughes: No.

Jim Fitzpatrick: You just do a full analysis. Doesn’t cost them anything. If they like what they see, they can go to the next step. If they don’t, you’re part friends. Right?

Amy Hughes: Yeah. We like to say, we’re going to leave you better than we found you. And with the wealth of data that we have, that’s very real. So we hope they’ll take us up.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. I’m familiar with your product through dealer friends of mine, and I say that if a dealer says, “I’m not going to go with you,” they’re not going to go with you yet, but eventually they got to go with you. So that’s how good the product is.

Amy Hughes: We like that. We want to be partners, for sure.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Thank you so much for joining us.

Amy Hughes: Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: It’s been such a pleasure, as it always is. And love to have you back in the studio in Atlanta soon.

Amy Hughes: Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Thank you.