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4 Ways Location Intelligence Can Rescue Declining Auto Sales

Recent reports show that US auto sales suffered a significant decline in 2018, and it’s possible this slowdown will continue throughout 2019. To combat this trend, car brands are juggling traditional marketing tactics and troves of consumer data in an effort to position themselves at the perfect spot in the funnel during the buyer’s journey. One strategy auto marketers should look to deploy: location intelligence.

By analyzing unique visitors to dealerships across the US, auto marketers can leverage location data and in-market auto buying insights to paint a better, more holistic picture of who their target buyer is (for example, are they in the market for a luxury vehicle or a more family-friendly vehicle?), reach more prospective buyers by upgrading their end-to-end buying experience and — hopefully — close more sales.

Here are four more strategic ways auto marketers can benefit from the use of location intelligence:

Find the Competition

Understanding where a target consumer goes during the new car buying process can help brands and marketers better identify their true competition. For example, conventional wisdom says that Ford and Chevrolet (or BMW and Mercedes) compete for buyers, however, location intelligence data suggests a different story.

A recent analysis by Gravy Analytics found that new car buyers at Chevrolet and Ford often visit more aspirational brands such as Mercedes, Lexus and Audi during their new car search. By understanding how prospective buyers interact with the competition, marketers and brands can make more informed decisions about everything from pricing and inventory to promotions and staffing.

Find True In-Market Buyers

Gravy’s data also found that nearly 70% of in-market auto consumers visit just one brand to make their purchase. What’s more, the average time between when we first see a prospective auto buyer and the last is just 25 days. This means auto marketers have a small window to use highly-targeted messaging to attract these in-market buyers — if not, they risk losing the sale to the competition. Audience insights and location intelligence gives car brands a chance to reach this target audience with their offer before they’ve made a final purchase decision.

Reach New Buyers

Beyond better identifying the competition, location intelligence can also help brands potentially draw customers away from competitors. Take, for example, an in-market Chevy buyer — he/she may visit both Chevy and Mercedes dealerships multiple times, signaling that he/she might be open to upgrading to an entry-level Mercedes. Equipped with this information, an auto marketer can target this type of potential buyer with a “can’t miss” offer to not only get them in the door but also sign on the dotted line.

Consider the Full Customer Life Cycle

The customer journey doesn’t end with a new car purchase. Automakers can use location intelligence to stay engaged with buyers during the tenure of their lease and/or purchase decision. By integrating location and behavioral insights — such as shopping activity and brand affinities — marketers can leverage this more holistic view to determine what motivates their customers in order to better engage with them (i.e. tickets to a nearby concert, a coupon for an oil change or a special offer on the latest model).

With a strategic approach, anonymized and aggregated location data can help auto brands strengthen their relationships, increase engagement (both current and prospective), boost sales and maintain an edge above the competition.

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