Summertime is typically one of the busiest times of the year for both new and used car sales as people are gearing up for vacation or getting ready for the upcoming school year. With inventories of cars and trucks in much shorter supply heading into holiday weekends like Memorial Day or July Fourth, this summer may look very different. Pent up consumer demand makes it critical for dealers, OEMs, lenders, and agency partners to be even more targeted in finding potential shoppers. To stay competitive, it is not only important to identify who is actually in-market for a new vehicle, but also to identify who has the financial capacity to buy one.
As the country relaxes pandemic-fueled restrictions, the automotive industry now finds itself coping with inventory challenges to meet increased buyer demand.
Fewer Incentives Make Each Customer Interaction Crucial
Identifying financial capacity is crucial for automotive transactions today. During the first quarter of 2021, the average financial incentive on new vehicles fell 20% from a year earlier, according to research firm J.D. Power1. With fewer incentives and more competition for the same shoppers, dealers and OEMs must have a clear picture of each customer’s financial capacity to capture potential sales without leveraging traditional incentives to obtain final approval.
In response, automotive brands and agency partners are combining traditional vehicle promotion data along with audience targeting segmentation data and insights. This data will help brands and agency partners better target consumers who are not just in-market for a vehicle, but those who have the financial capacity to make a vehicle purchase. This advanced set of data and insights provides the ability to target in-market make/model intenders along with their estimated financial capacity. OEM brands and agency partners can then run more effective retention, acquisition, and conquest campaigns across digital channels.
Extra Layer of Audience Segmentation Data for Stronger Campaign Targeting
In the past, OEM brands and their agency partners have leveraged datasets based on unverifiable survey or panel data. This is where audience segmentation comes in. Instead, sophisticated data today like differentiated data from Equifax is uniquely built using robust data sources, including anonymized, direct-measured data, estimated income and asset data, as well as aggregated credit information. This data only available from Equifax is uniquely predictive of a prospective buyers’ financial capacity.
Why is this important? Not all high incomes are the same. Every household leverages debt differently. Differentiated data assets like audience segmentation can help OEMs gain fuller visibility into a person’s or household’s financial standing by taking credit-income spending behaviors into account. With this additional information, OEMs have the ability to target people differently based on their unique financial situation - all while maintaining user privacy.
This level of data enables OEMs and advertisers to differentiate and reach online consumers that are more likely to have the financial capacity to truly purchase their products and services. Anonymized household economic data combined with discretionary spending, credit, demographics, buying behaviors, and insights into make and model preferences, deliver better-matched auto audiences that are more receptive to holiday campaigns and offers.
No doubt, the summertime buying season will feel much different this year. As the country relaxes pandemic-fueled restrictions, the automotive industry now finds itself coping with inventory challenges to meet increased buyer demand.
However, with the right data and insights, automotive brands and agency partners can ensure they’re getting the most out of their creative campaign investments by identifying the right customers who have the spending power to maximize each and every dealership or website visit during the summer.
Joey Watson is currently vice president of the auto direct and marketing services team at Equifax. He leads and supports a team that manages relationships with the nation's largest automotive dealer groups, OEM’s and marketing agencies.