• You don’t have to go into a dealership anymore to find the car of your dreams. Buying a car online is as easy as ordering a last-minute gift. The e-commerce behemoth Amazon recently teamed up with Hyundai to sell cars in its online showroom, and Cars.com is now helping consumers find new wheels with their AI-powered matchmaking platform. Whether customers are buying online or just “window shopping” on their phone or laptop, marketers can use the wealth of data available to determine the data-driven narrative that is most likely to garner consumer attention.

    From buying a car online to in-car infotainment in connected cars, let’s explore three technology trends that are transforming automotive marketing strategies and the customer experience:

    The Internet is the New Dealership

    The internet originally revolutionized the car-buying process by giving consumers more access to information than ever before. Automotive marketing experts are realizing digital channels also have the potential to cut out the step in car purchasing most people hate: haggling with the salesperson at the dealership. The 2016 Beepi Consumer Automotive Index found that 61% of Americans feel they’re being taken advantage of while they’re at the car dealership.

    If you’re in this 61%, take comfort in the fact that you can now choose a make and model, negotiate and agree on a final price, submit credit information and get approved, review paperwork, and pay for the vehicle entirely online. With this digitally-driven customer journey, consumers only need to go into the dealership to do a final review and drive off with their new ride.

    Optimizing the Customer Experience with Data

    Much like their customers, today’s automotive brands have access to more data than ever before. Automotive marketing professionals can use social listening tools to establish an always-on feedback loop with drivers. These tools can help marketers learn more about their customers, while also providing a way to address consumer feedback quickly, generate more leads, monitor campaigns, track competitors, and improve their product. Dealerships that use such tools can see an increase in sales. A recent report from Reputation.com found that dealerships that track and improve their online reputation can achieve a 40% sales boost over dealerships with abysmal online reviews.

    Car companies can also analyze customer data to optimize their automotive marketing campaigns, bringing measurement to the pre-launch phase rather than post. Integrating data into actionable marketing ideas helps auto brands target customers in a more data-rich and data-driven manner. For example, combining CRM data with third-party finance data helps auto marketers and advertisers identify better prospects for leases, refinancing, or preapprovals. Also, creating customer profiles of their best customers from an audience identified in a data management platform can help inform personalized automotive marketing campaigns.

    Changing the Dashboard with In-Car Marketing

    The personalized experience doesn’t end after the customer drives off with their new car. As more drivers purchase cars with digital dashboards that can be used for mobile commerce, customizing the in-car experience has become a technology trend in the automotive industry. McKinsey estimates that monetizing the data from connected cars will become a $750 billion industry by 2030, including the direct marketing of products and services to consumers, and from sales of data and targeted advertising.

    In-car commerce technology in connected cars allows consumers to pay for gas, order food, and see offers from their favorite brands on their digital dashboards, Mobile Marketer reports. It may only be a matter of time before the car truly becomes the new living room, as Oren Abrams, account executive at LiveRamp, mentioned during RampUp on the Road in Los Angeles.

    More automotive marketing professionals are realizing the benefits to the different touch points consumers have with auto brands in person and online. Using data to personalize the customer’s auto experience from start to finish can help make sure they return when it’s time for a new set of wheels. Next time you’re in the market for a car, thank digital media and big data for making your experience more comfortable and personable.

    Want to learn more about how technology is transforming marketing in your industry? Join us at RampUp on the Road in Dallas on Oct. 9 to hear industry leaders share insights on how to take digital marketing strategy to the people-based level.

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