Customer Data Platforms are changing the game, and not just for Ads.

By Ian Cruickshank

Increase Profits Front and Back With Your Data

In today’s dynamic digital marketing landscape, where change is the only constant, navigating the shifting tides is like steering a ship through uncharted waters. Envision yourself as a brave captain embarking on a journey armed not with maps but with your innovation and adaptability as your guiding stars. Your daily challenge will be navigating unpredictable media currents, uncharted reefs of technological shifts, and the ever-looming storms of shifting consumer preferences. Yet, in these uncharted waters, you will discover unexplored opportunities and chart new courses to success. With data as your unwavering guide, you can be the exemplar in the marketing world, embracing change as the compass to unprecedented horizons.

Recent developments, such as the demise of third-party cookies and the increasing restrictions on data tracking, have left many businesses scrambling to find new ways to connect with customers. This is where Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) become a required addition, offering car dealerships a unique opportunity to thrive in a data-driven landscape.

The Evolution of Data Tracking

In the “before” era, businesses heavily relied on third-party cookies and tracking mechanisms to gather customer data. However, the introduction of iOS 14.5 and stricter privacy settings in Safari has made it clear that this approach is no longer sustainable. With more users opting out of tracking and email becoming less reliable, car dealerships must adapt to the changing landscape.

What Exactly is a CDP?

A CDP, short for Customer Data Platform, is a game-changer for car dealerships. At its core, it is a tool that tracks and compiles all shopping and purchasing behaviours, creating comprehensive customer profiles across multiple Dealership systems. 

CDPs collect data from various sources, including sales, service, parts, AdWords, email, and websites, all derived from first-party data (Think DMS, CRM, Website, Ads Platforms, etc.). This treasure trove of information provides a holistic view of customer interactions and preferences.

While marketers have always coveted this kind of information, other departments within dealerships can now harness its power to enhance performance in-store.

Turning Data into Action

So, what can a car dealership do with all this data? The possibilities are virtually endless. Here are a couple of basic ways CDPs can revolutionize your dealership’s advertising:

  1. Create Audience Segments and Personas: CDPs allow you to segment your customer base into specific groups, making it easier to tailor your marketing efforts.
  2. Personalized Messaging: With detailed customer profiles, you can communicate and convince people more effectively by delivering personalized messages that resonate with their preferences.

But we see the potential to be even more significant when these insights become actionable in-store:

  1. Enhance Sales: CDPs provide valuable insights into customer behaviour. For instance, if a customer has a history of purchasing multiple vehicles without much negotiation, you can hold firm on vehicle cost or explore add-ons like pre-paid services.
  2. Service Suggestions: Use data to make service experiences memorable. For example, if a customer with an older car shows interest in a new vehicle on your website, offer them a sales demo instead of the usual loaner. They will love the treat of the new car, and your sales team may land a new deal.

Why Do You Need a CDP, and How Do You Fuel The Machine? 

The benefits are clear: Better marketing, increased likelihood of closing sales, higher transaction rates, and enhanced profitability. But you’ll likely need to shift your thinking. When your team is processing leads, data collection will become nearly as important as closing the deals. Focusing on clean lead data and collecting data from various touchpoints, including website activities, is crucial.

Expanding Your Data Arsenal

Here’s how you can gather more data to augment your CDP:

  1. QR Codes: Place QR codes on cars in your lot, enabling potential customers to access vehicle details easily and give them a good reason to share data. (Perhaps a price change alert)
  2. Sign-In Kiosks or Wifi: To capture customer information, implement kiosks for sales and service, similar to restaurant waitlists.
  3. Content on Website: Create engaging content encouraging visitors to provide information. (Enriched brochures about the vehicles they are researching or signups to be on a newsletter or VIP Event lists. 
  4. Multi-Step Acquisition: When acquiring contacts, consider using multi-step processes like contests to gradually build customer profiles. (Start with first name and email; progress to last name and phone number later.)

Getting Started Today

Implementing a CDP doesn’t have to be overwhelming and there are ways that you can dip your toe in these digital waters. 

Here’s what you can do right now:

  • Service: Leverage your service calendar and sales history to identify customers nearing the end of their leases and offer them enticing upgrade options.
  • QR Codes: Place QR codes on all your cars, linking to Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs) instead of traditional window stickers. This not only provides up-to-date information but also enables post-visit tracking.
  • Enhanced Website Engagement: Implement Chat on your website, instantly allowing customers to seek assistance and start the data collection there.

As we navigate the uncharted waters of the digital marketing world, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) emerge as our steadfast sextant, guiding car dealerships to newfound success in an era of diminishing tracking options. By harnessing the power of customer data, dealerships can set sail toward greater profitability on both the front and back ends of their operations, creating a voyage where both business and customer thrive in tandem. It’s high time to unfurl the sails and embark on this data-driven journey, charting a course toward the next level of dealership excellence.


Digital Advertising, Digital Retailing