The Drive for Data: The Future of Automotive Marketing in a Customer-Centric World

The automotive industry has long maintained a complicated relationship with the internet. Today, automakers have accelerated at unprecedented speed to leverage data to build, market and sell vehicles digitally. This research delves into how automakers are using data in new and innovative ways, both pre- and post-pandemic, setting the tone for how brand management, promotions and digital experiences are to be orchestrated in a customer-centric focused future.

What does this research reveal?
Following interviews with Winterberry Group and more than 30 automotive marketers (senior marketers at OEMs, dealer groups, and industry suppliers in North America and Europe), we learned:

  • COVID-19 is accelerating the industry’s shift to digital retailing. The economic crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus has vastly intensified the auto industry’s embrace of e-commerce as a platform for new car sales, as well as aftersales functions; online channels now represent the centerpiece of the auto marketing and sales effort
  • But poor online experiences are undermining the full potential of the “digital shift.” Lackluster digital retailing experiences—characterized by misalignment of dealer and OEM offers, absence of real-time inventory access—may stunt burgeoning consumer interest in online buying
  • Paths-to-purchase are fragmenting across a growing number of touchpoints, which is shining a new light on the importance of marketing attribution. Many automakers remain steadfastly committed to TV and other traditional advertising media, even as customers migrate their attention, interest and buying activity to digital channels
  • Across the industry, available data is plentiful, but siloed approaches to managing it are inhibiting insights and activation. Manufacturers and dealers maintain a bewildering array of distinct repositories for the customer, transactional and marketing performance data at their disposal—undermining its usefulness
  • The current disruption is challenging auto marketers to rethink their approach to… everything. The pandemic-sparked economic crisis has intensified the impact of systemic changes that were already upsetting long-standing norms governing how consumers buy and use cars

Why download this white paper?
Winterberry Group’s research dives deeper into the expanding and profound roles that data and digital experiences play in the customer-centric marketplace shift brought on by the pandemic.

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