Four Facts about the Changing Model of Dealership Marketing

Today’s AI for Tomorrow’s Customers

Data is the fuel your dealership’s marketing machine uses to run. How well that machine runs, however, depends on how you process that fuel.

In a recent article previewing the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), iProspect’s Jeremy Hull noted that one of the technologies marketers should pay close attention to is artificial intelligence (AI), specifically its growing role in the field of predictive assistance and analytics. While this technology looks to be a factor in all areas of marketing, it’s especially crucial in automotive sales — and dealers who ignore it do so at their own peril.

Here are four facts about AI and predictive analytics that can offer insight into this new philosophy on modern marketing.

Fact No. 1: AI Isn’t Coming — It’s Already Here

Because of the role it often plays in popular science fiction, the term “artificial intelligence” may sound like tomorrow’s technology. The truth is that it’s already playing a part in the way the modern consumer shops and the way forward-thinking companies are presenting themselves to those customers.

AI is the tool that predictive analytics is built around, and it is a game-changing technology. Where traditional analytics look to the past, predictive analytics examines the data consumers generate — through their browsing history, purchases, behaviors and other information — and calculates what they’ll do in the future. What will they do next? What do they want? Will they defect to your competition? What messages can your dealership send to keep them happy and loyal to your dealership?

It takes massive amounts of data and calculation to build a view into the future — far beyond the capacity of a human staff. By using the AI-powered technology that currently exists, however, your dealership can look into the future to better serve your customers.

Fact No. 2: AI is Better for You, and Better for The Customer

Contrary to some prevailing “wisdom,” people don’t automatically object to marketing. What they do object to is having their valuable time wasted and being bothered by obnoxious ads battling for their attention. The difference between “Junk mail/spam” and “good to know” communication is relevance. Getting a blanket “we’ll buy your car” offer when you’ve just purchased a vehicle? Spam. Getting a coupon for an oil change when the “change oil” indicator on your dashboard just sprang to life? Good to know.

In his article, Hull points to the beauty brand Shiseido and its use of AI and predictive assistance to benefit both the company and the consumer. Shiseido uses an app to help people find the right makeup for their skin type through the seasons of the year. In doing this, the company gets valuable information about those individual consumers which allows them to tailor relevant marketing messages directly to them and predict their future needs.

Because of the nature of the business, dealerships know a great deal about their customers. Through the use of predictive analytics, dealers can keep the customer engaged through the lifecycle of the vehicle, from sale through service, based on the actual needs of their vehicle, and then back to sale again.

Fact No. 3: Customers Expect It

Far from being “future tech,” customers have come to rely on the use of AI-generated selections. Even more, they are increasingly demanding it.

Amazon might be the most visible supplier of the “you may also like” suggestions based on the consumer’s shopping behavior, but other companies — such as Google, Netflix, Apple, American Express and more — have become experts in predicting what the customer wants or needs and then providing them with curated choices that will resonate best.

Looking for a vehicle can be an overwhelming experience for consumers, with the vast array of makes, models, trim packages and financing options available to them. When your dealership brings AI into the mix, your marketing and sales presentation can help them narrow down the field until they feel comfortable making an educated decision from a hand-picked selection of options.

The vehicle buying process is seen by most as an antagonistic process; many shoppers would rather go to the dentist than walk into a dealership. With the proper approach, however, the dealership can be seen as the customer’s partner in the process. Anticipating their needs in the first step in reimagining the sales process.

Fact No. 4: The Time is Now

Artificial intelligence is here, and it’s only going to become a bigger factor in marketing from this point forward. The advantages in using this technology, both from the perspective of the dealership and the consumer, are clear. Dealers who hope this is just a passing fad or a “flavor of the month” technology will put themselves at an ever-increasing disadvantage. Customer behaviors are constantly evolving and the expectation of relevant communication — especially when it comes to a major purchase like an automobile — is only going to grow.

Marketers from all industries are looking at predictive assistance and analytics to grow their businesses and keep their customers satisfied. With the AI-powered tools available to them, dealerships are in a prime position to take full advantage of this technology.

Contact Outsell today to learn more about our unique AI marketing capabilities.