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The importance of taking a data-driven approach to dealership marketing

Thanks to digitalization, supporting a data-driven marketing plan isn’t as costly or difficult as it was in the past.

The auto industry is constantly changing, and dealers from coast to coast are facing inventory shortages, diminished customer loyalty and increased competition. Incorporating predictive analytics into automotive marketing makes all the difference when attempting to reach prospects with the goal of turning them into future customers.

It’s important for dealerships to identify data-driven audiences across their loyalty, service and conquest portfolios that are well qualified, likely to respond and preparing to return to market. Predictive analytics empower dealers to plan marketing campaigns that engage and convert prospects with personalized messaging and offers.

By taking a data-driven approach to targeting and engaging audiences, dealers can provide tailored resources and messaging that make each consumer’s journey more seamless and efficient. 

The impact of prioritizing marketing

Even when customer demand is high, marketing should always be a top priority for dealerships. Staying in consistent communication with your audience is key to both conquesting new customers and protecting loyalty buyers from competitors’ marketing attempts, especially as buyers are more likely than ever to switch dealers or brands.  

A data-driven marketing plan is key to staying competitive, creating market demand and maintaining your dealership’s reputation. Thanks to digitalization, supporting a data-driven marketing plan isn’t as costly or difficult as it was in the past. With several new releases on the horizon in 2023, it’s important dealers prepare their marketing efforts now to engage customers before they return to market. 

Dealers must formally assess what high-performing, personalized marketing looks like at their dealerships. According to a Meta survey, 81% of U.S. car buyers say they would like to receive personalized mobile messaging from their preferred auto brand. The more your team understands the needs and behavior of your audience, the better they can predict customers’ behavior and the messaging they’ll respond to.

Additionally, every dealership employee should understand their role in the process to support your marketing efforts. By aligning customer insights to connect the dots between departments and unifying a team’s approach, dealers can leverage predictive analytics to engage audiences across platforms. 

The power of data-driven audiences

The backbone of most data-driven marketing campaigns is first party data, or the information you collect on your customers, ranging from their purchase and maintenance history to their clicks and actions on your website. This is the data that lives in dealership sales platforms. 

In today’s hyper-competitive market, dealers can’t afford to rely solely on first party data. To accurately identify customers earlier in their buying journey, dealers need to look deeper at the factors driving a prospect’s purchasing decisions via intelligent, predictive insights. 

By layering in third party insights from reputable data providers, dealers can enrich their available audience data with additional details like household demographics, financial information and more, painting a clearer picture of available opportunities.

Building and targeting data-driven audiences empowers dealers to better understand and engage their existing customer bases and deploy efficient conquest marketing campaigns.

digital retailingMore: How to create more personalized marketing for your car dealership


At the dealership level, predictive analytics help identify and understand dealer prospects before they ever reach out, giving dealers the chance to send personalized marketing and set the stage for an excellent buying experience. 

Dealership marketing technology supports dealer success

To remain successful throughout the year, dealers need to ensure they’re consistently engaging the right customers with the right messaging. But as the customer journey gets longer and the competition gets fiercer, dealers need to take a data-driven approach to maximize their marketing ROI. Dealership marketing technology enables dealers to leverage customer data to predict and automatically advertise to the buyers most likely to convert.  

Finally, advanced marketing tools give your team the opportunity to expand overall reach and frequency of marketing messages, reaching additional customers as part of dealers’ top-of-the-funnel marketing activities.

As the automotive industry continues to experience peaks and valleys, it’s important to monitor marketing tactics on a consistent basis. By using predictive analytics to target and engage customers with a multi-channel approach, dealers can reach customers wherever they are in their buying journey.


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Steve DeWitt
Steve DeWitt
Steve DeWitt, senior director of business development at automotiveMastermind, part of S&P Global Mobility.

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