The Situation: The “Funnel” has bottled up thousands of BIG data points about car shoppers for years. But the automotive sales funnel that we all have grown to love is now gathering, organizing, and channeling ever-more massive amounts of matched-up data on the personal buying habits, demographic characteristics, financial standing, and lifestyle behavior of automotive consumers.
Stalking Apps, GPS Trackers, EZ Passes, Ad Networks, Credit Card Issuers, cell phone providers, & auto industry analytic companies are now using APIs, Data Mining, and behavioral marketing, and “Situational Targeting” to know how we get to work, what we eat, and what we are about to buy—including our next car—creating intimate data-based portraits of everything we do in our familial and professional lives.
What seems to be going on? Data and Market Research Companies in the automotive sector are combining their resources, technology, data bases, and predictive algorithmic programming with huge data base acquisition and data marketing & mining companies to capture and exploit vast amounts of new flows of information about consumers who are using the Internet to communicate, research, and buy goods and services. Worse yet they are “selling” it to any company possible for huge revenues streams without anyone really knowing the size, content, extent, and scope of the information these Big Daddy Companies are delivering and even exploiting.
Data is King & The King knows all about us: Content may be Queen, but data is the new language and revenue source for those companies who aggregate, track , and store information about what consumers are doing everyday on the Internet including Facebook, Twitter, bank transactions, teleco payments, set top boxes, Go To Meeting conferences, and of course, search queries. More information about Internet activity has been collected in the past two years than all the years before.
What does this mean to automotive dealers, OEMs, industry systems providers, and marketing companies? First off, it suggests that the “Funnel” is no longer a purchasing funnel but is a “Tube” or a “Tunnel” or even a large “Straw” that will suck or channel a body of behavioral, personal, and financial data about a potential auto buyer into a databank or minefield where all this information is stored, accessed, sold, and delivered about a given individual for their entire life upon request and payment..
What this means to dealers? First, forget concern and investment in lead generation by dealership management because now the consumer data companies and industry providers who control the new “Consumer Journey” in the “Data Tube” the “New Funnel” will have so much more information about as potential auto buying consumer that the dealer can buy this information with everything as dealer could ever ask for from buying patterns, credit standing, income, expenditures, location, education, kids, divorces, and even some “dirt” that people would rather not be out there.
Now You will truly know Customers for a Lifetime: Second, it may well enable as dealer to gain the Life Time Customer that they and the OEM have always sought. By having access to almost day to day activities of an existing customer, the dealer can establish a communication format, monitor and respond to known changes in the customers situation, and almost anticipate when a vehicle needs to be serviced, replaced, or upgraded.
Predicting Earthquakes, Congressional Action, and New Car Purchases: Fracking may cause more and bigger earthquakes in the Midwest or the Big One may come to California. Internet tracking may produce tornadic outrage among consumers & Congress soon—and consumers will be not so subtly propositioned with what maybe a predictive purchase offerings from automotive dealers and OEMs. These pre-qualified, informed, and targeted car customers will “delivered” to the subscribing dealer client by a Big Data provider —ready to sign paperwork and drive off the lot. And Big Daddy Data will have started the whole thing including when every one of us is ready to buy our next new or used vehicle. We are all going down the Tube, together.