The automotive industry has staked a strong claim on innovative marketing tactics–and the proof is in the sales. High consideration purchases like a vehicle often require different strategies than smaller, one-off purchases, but the trends seen in automotive are starting to turn up in other industries. With that in mind, it’s important to understand what automotive marketing is doing that’s keeping it ahead of the curve (and keeping other industries in a hurry to catch up).

Personalization at Every Turn

One key difference in the automotive industry is a truly personalized digital experience. Many marketers tend to focus on consumers only after they reach a point in their customer journey when they’re close to making a purchase. Automotive, on the other hand, nurtures consumers from the beginning of the shoppers’ journeys and creates a personalized experience throughout the customer journey.

For example, a consumer may begin the consideration stage by visiting an automotive website to research a vehicle. Thereafter, that specific model of interest then reappears on their Facebook news feed, is served in a display ad, or included with a special email offer. The automotive industry is focused on connecting a consumer’s experience across all of the digital platforms they use, which in turn helps consumers feel more engaged throughout multiple touch points. Customers have grown to expect that brands deliver messages tailored to their interests, and that’s why personalization is so important.

However, personalization can’t happen without information, and that’s where data management comes into play. Automotive marketers have access to a lot of customer data, but more importantly, they use it wisely. Ideally marketers should be able to reach consumers with a message that makes that consumer say “Wow, they knew what I wanted before I realized it myself.”  The right data combined with an effective strategy can do exactly that. Automotive marketers use their data to better serve customers and create personalized experiences that make the journey to purchase more streamlined and intuitive.

Cross-Generational Marketing

The automotive industry is relevant to audiences from age 16 to 76 and beyond–that’s a wide age range, and a wide array of ways in which audiences may interact with the industry. That’s what makes demographics so important, particularly within the context of personalization. Automotive marketers are constantly looking for new ways to connect with potential customers, understanding that their digital strategies should be ever evolving based on their target demographic.

For example, consider the difference between marketing to Baby Boomers and Millennials in the automotive space. Both warrant a strong digital strategy, but how those strategies play out is different, and rightly so.

About 76 million Americans can currently be categorized as Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), and 3 out of 4 of them use the internet, according to Pew Research. This means that despite stereotypes of an older generation with no interest in or understanding of the digital space, Baby Boomers are actually quite active online–in fact, a third of all online and social users identify as Baby Boomers. The key to reaching them lies in understanding their priorities, like the desire for luxury and safety in a vehicle, and architecting a marketing strategy to reach them.

Millennials, meanwhile, are widely considered to be the most tech savvy generation, and value things like personalization in their vehicles, brand authenticity, and a seamless digital experience that allows them to bounce from mobile to tablet to laptop and back again. Because the automotive industry already bakes personalization into so many aspects of digital, they are succeeding in much of what Millennial consumers desire. The industry is also beginning to embrace Millennials as a strong source of revenue–as an age group, they have an estimated $1.68 trillion dollars in spending power, according to CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights. 

The consideration of a wide age range allows the automotive industry to truly take advantage of every aspect of the digital space, personalizing it for their audiences in a way that a narrower scope of demographics may not allow. While not every industry is so highly relevant to every demographic under the sun, they can still learn from the techniques currently being used by automotive marketers.

Ultimately, the automotive industry isn’t just keeping up with marketing trends, it’s setting the trends–and other industries are taking notice.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)