By Joe Shaker, Owner of Shaker Auto Group, and CEO of TruVideo

Data isn’t everything, but it sure does shine a light on what people want. The pandemic only accelerated what was already becoming clear: automotive customers most value transparency, personalization, and clear communication. Specifically, they want to engage in ways that are convenient and comfortable for them, supported by experts they trust. The evolution of video, data, and communication in the auto industry is unfolding in real-time.

Accelerated Behavior and a Necessary Partnership

The pandemic took us to a place we were going anyway. A growing number of automotive groups started to make transparency the focal point of business well before life changed in 2020. With the changes came a different set of customer expectations.

We must solve the problem of trust.

The best way to build trust is to truly know and understand your audience. The data collected from video utilization and engagement can provide this information, opening up a wealth of knowledge for OEMs and dealers. The catch is, they need to take their relationships to the next level and form a mutually beneficial partnership in order to serve their customers.

It’s incumbent upon the dealers and OEMs to work together- closer than ever. Without that partnership, both parties are going to miss out on so many opportunities, plus the chance to better support our customers where they are in the buying process.

When the parties come together to combine owning and curating data – this is the future of branding.

Make the Data Digestible and Relevant

Data without concise, usable reporting is ineffective data. A streamlined dashboard, which takes behavior data and translates it into a simple, readable, and actionable format is easier to decipher for service and sales managers. It empowers them to better serve their customers.

The metrics have changed, too. The old website benchmarks- time on page, bounce rate, unique visitors- none of that matters as much anymore when it comes to pinpointing customer needs, wants, desires, and shopping behaviors. Instead, it’s utilization of video, time in length, time on video, quality, shares, and views that translate into something tangible. It’s “sentiment analysis” – seeing pain points as they occur. Using sentiment analysis enables dealers and OEMs to see how people feel, in real-time, instead of waiting four days for the survey, which is often too late.

Delivering on Brand Promise

Everybody is watching video. It’s plain and simple. That’s how people of all ages want to consume content. Customers are more particular than ever before about how, when, and why they are contacted. In the automobile industry, it’s become important to talk to customers on their terms- not ours.

There are questions that must be asked. How can the message be better delivered? What channels do our customers want to see us on? Can we create the appropriate message, in the appropriate format, at the appropriate time to create a personalized and valuable experience?

The answers to these questions aren’t just important for the dealerships, but for OEMs looking to leverage this information to fulfill their brand promise. The answers to these questions are the most valuable pieces of data before, during and after a transaction- and that will become evident during the next 5 years.

Giving Customers What They Want

We’ve got to get focused on stuff that matters.

Educating the customer so they feel comfortable with and confident in the product is essential, especially as the market evolves to electric. The dealerships have the advantage and opportunity to roll with these changes faster than others can. They can scale their approach quickly and communicate it well thanks to their well-oiled infrastructure.

For example, 90% of consumers would rather have an asynchronous buying experience than a live one, (they can explore on their own terms, when it is convenient for them, as opposed to a live conversation.) Provide quality video content and they will consume it, process it, and make buying decisions from it. That’s what the data shows.

Focusing on data and communication is the future of branding, customer retention, sales and service in the automobile industry. My advice? Don’t change the way you do business, change the way you communicate.

About the Author

Joe Shaker is the owner of Shaker Auto Group and CEO of TruVideo, a conversational commerce platform that uses text and video to help dealerships understand buyer behavior and drive customer engagement.

Author: Christine Corkran

Digital Dealer