It’s in an auto advertiser’s best interest to leverage additional data sources and tools to drive the best online marketing results. But auto makers are also sitting on top of tons of their own data, and that data is extremely valuable when it comes to online advertising. The issue is that it’s offline and needs to somehow be brought online in a way that is compatible with other online marketing tools.
The process of getting this data online is called onboarding, and there are few advertising verticals that benefit from this practice more than automotive. Auto makers have very detailed information about customers who have bought their product, right down to when the customer last purchased a vehicle, how often they get service, and where they live.
As an example, German auto makers with 20 million U.S. customers only wants to message to folks who own their vehicles that are three years old. If that data is onboarded, it’s possible to take the three-year owner list and append it to match online browsers. This is much the same way advertisers make a list for direct mail, only it’s now online, using a cookie to target. The advertiser can serve these car owners with online trade-in promotions, new lease offers, service packages, driving tips, or other messages.
Alternately, this onboarded data could be used to avoid current owners completely. In our example, once the auto maker has access to their offline data in their online tools, they can suppress the 20 million existing owners and only target attractive potential first-time owners. The same insights could be applied to the company’s website so that owners view a landing page that is different from what non-owners might see.
An even greater benefit of onboarding is that it allows marketers seeking cross-channel integration to run parallel campaigns online and offline. An online campaign can be used to support the offline direct mail campaign, with mailers sent to households that the advertiser is trying to target online.
It’s important to remember that onboarded data isn’t as precise as direct mail or email marketing – after all, those are channels where the consumer has shared some identifiable details in the form of their name, address, or email address. In online display, advertisers are combining the onboarded data with other sources into a complex model that helps them find the most appropriate consumers for their message.
Regardless of whether advertisers try to drill down to their existing customers, it’s still important for them to tap into their offline information for online campaigns. Those are the insights that should drive online marketing plans and help craft the audience profiles that auto advertisers target. The most advanced marketing plans are built on a combination of data sources and tools that feed into each other, allowing the marketer to target a specific audience, monitor their success, and keep building on each subsequent campaign.