The automotive industry has seen a seismic shift as new technology and massive amounts of data flood this evolving landscape. Changing consumer behaviors, increased demands for connectivity, trends toward alternate types of mobility, and the convergence of the online and offline world have put the automotive consumer firmly at the center of car brands’ strategies.
It goes without saying that auto companies must be more committed than ever to understanding today’s consumers on a one-to-one level, including what drives them, what motivates them, and what they are looking for in their next vehicle. Developing an understanding of consumers at such a personalized level requires numerous data sets and analytical capabilities to develop a rich, omnichannel customer view.
In KPMG’s “Global Automotive Executive Survey 2017,” automotive executives were on the same page about the value of data. According to the research, “84% of executives absolutely or partly agree that data is the fuel for the future business model of auto companies.”
Consumers produce mountains of data every day–information about who they are, their intent to purchase, and more. Examples of third-party data include:
• Demographic data: Information such as households with new children (might upgrade to a larger vehicle), teenage drivers (might purchase a first car), or lifestyle attributes, such as environmentalism or an interest in the outdoors (hybrids or four-wheel drive), can take targeted marketing to the next step. Income, marital status, occupation, hobbies, lifestyle, and age are other examples of demographics that can be used to create targeted marketing messages to which consumers are most apt to relate.
• VIN marketing data: Information on vehicles and their owners, such as make, model, and year, or data such as engine size, fuel type, drive train, engine block, and engine cylinders.
• Trigger data: Consumers who might be in-market for a new vehicle based on life events, such as new movers, new teen drivers, newly married, or newly retired.
• In-market indicators: Consumers who have shown active intent to purchase, such as consumers who have recently visited a dealer location within the past 24 hours.
Not only do consumers produce loads of data, but so do today’s connected vehicles. According to an article by Hitachi Data Systems, a connected car will upload 25 gigabytes of data to the cloud every hour. That’s equal to about a dozen HD movies and exceeds the storage capacity of most smartphones today.
Combining and analyzing the various pieces of information from different vehicle systems can reveal driving habits, frequently visited locations, an occupant’s taste in music, potential maintenance issues, and a myriad of other insights into consumer behavior.
Of course, who actually owns this vehicle-generated data is another topic of discussion. KPMG’s study revealed that while over 30% of executives said they believe that OEMs are the owner of consumer/vehicle data, over 41% of consumers said they believe that the owners/drivers of the vehicle are the sole owner of the vehicle/consumer data.
When asked about customers’ willingness to share their data, 81% of executives said consumers are likely to share their consumption behavior data. In comparison, only 58% of consumers said they are willing to share their consumption behavior data, indicating that there needs to be a clear value exchange demostrated to consumers when it comes to sharing their information.
The automotive market is constantly changing–not only vehicles themselves but the ways consumers shop. Some sources predict that 10 million self-driving vehicles will be on the road by 2020, and, every year, connected technologies keep consumers eager to see what the next wave of advancements will bring. While vehicles become more sophisticated, so do consumers themselves. They are more knowledgeable and have access to more information online to help them make a purchase decision.
One thing is certain: There is certainly no shortage of data for getting to know today’s auto consumers. And consumers expect automotive brands to collect and use this data to create highly personalized experienced across multiple channels. The future of automobile brands depends on it.