Blaggers Guide to big data and automotive marketing

Blaggers Guide to big data and automotive marketing

Andrew Pink, strategy director, OgilvyOne Melbourne

For the fourth and final installment of our big data blagger’s guides, we’ve chosen a subject close to both our hearts, automotive. 

As cars become more and more reliable and sophisticated (five year warranties, longer service intervals and intelligent systems telling you when they need intervention), manufacturers are having less and less customer contact. As a result, they’re finding it harder to remain relevant in the driver’s post purchase world.

With meaningful opportunities for customer engagement diminishing, so consequently does brand loyalty, making the increasingly distant retention battleground harder than ever to win. This is underlined by the steady decline in repeat purchase rates.  

But just as digital communications were once seen to be killing off traditional mail services, only to be later saved by massive growth in online shopping and parcel distribution, I believe technical innovation that enables more effective digital integration will allow manufacturers to remain relevant to owners, bonding them to auto brands in ways not previously considered.

It follows that as mobile has become the 3rd screen, in-dash and in-headrest monitors will become the 4th, delivering tangible and relevant content to users.

Wondering where to find the nearest (and cheapest) service station? Searching for the perfect testing ground for your new off-roader? Want to know which retailer offers a 25% discount for flashing your key fob at the register? Integrated internet-enabled technologies give carmakers the platforms to serve this kind of information on demand or via push notifications in your car.

The real challenge for carmakers is not the technical enablement of one-to-one communications like these, but rather the ability to understand customers to the level that’s needed to ensure they receive meaningful, useful content.

Building sophisticated customer profiles is therefore the bedrock from which auto marketers can drive highly relevant customer engagement that will ultimately deliver owners back to the forecourt more frequently and in higher numbers.


David Pountney, general manager, DT Melbourne

Andrew makes a good case for the in-car screen claiming the title of 4th screen. This could be where we see some of the biggest innovations in technology and data integration.

Historically long product release cycles in automotive have prevented the rapid evolution of in-car technology, but as we saw at this year’s CES in Vegas, in-car technology is following mobile trends. Manufacturers are starting to open up their in-car software development kits (SDKs) and embrace open source operating systems such as Android.

An open operating system not only attracts software developers, it facilitates the integration of in-car systems with external datasets. Fuel pricing, parking space availability, safety warnings and crowd sourced traffic congestion are all likely data overlays in the near future.

Geo-fencing, a wireless networking technology that creates clearly defined boundaries for location-aware devices, is another contextually aware use of data in the early stages of marketing adoption and offers exciting opportunities for brands to offer cross promotion activities with car manufacturers. For example, pulling into a fast food drive-through could trigger in-car notifications of promotions for selected manufacturers or models and potentially even trigger applications that enable integrated touch screen ordering.

Throughout this blagger’s series, we’ve seen that big data and technology go hand-in-hand. The digital age is driving a massive  increase in the Volume, Variety and Velocity of data, yet the continual evolution of technology also represents the best opportunity to wrangle that data to add value to brand experiences.

As we said at the start of this blagger’s series, it’s not how big your data is, it’s what you do with it that counts.

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