Using Analytics to Power Creativity

Using Analytics

3 pro tips for optimizing your marketing

With more tools available for gathering data than ever before, the world of marketing has opened up and is fast becoming the most exciting aspect of running a business. There’s so much to know about the consumer, and technology gives much of this info to us in real time.

Clearly this is exciting for the numbers nerds among us (left-brainers), but according to VistaDash President Dan Moore, it’s just as exciting for the creative-types (right-brainers).

“Analytics doesn’t take away from creativity,” he says. “It gives creativity a roadmap.”

Moore is left-brain dominant – a bit of data he got on himself while working for VinSolutions shortly after it was bought by AutoTrader in 2012. Employees were asked to take the 120-question Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument psychometric assessment to learn about how they think and how they process information. Scoring polar opposite to Moore was coworker at the time Joey Little, now Director of Social Strategies for AutoAlert.

“It got me thinking: Do we have too many people out there on social media going by the seat of their pants, not thinking about the end result?” Little says. “The last few years, I dove into data.”

And that is where the best results are born, according to Moore: where analytics and creativity meet. Here are Moore’s three tips for ensuring that your marketing is a good balance of both.

1. Find a trusted, agnostic data solution

First and foremost, your data must be transparent, coming from an agnostic vendor, Moore says. This means that the vendor doesn’t have any hidden agenda, is willing to share all data with your dealership, and is dealer-focused.

But just as important as having transparent data is having data that’s meaningful.

“Our job is to get past the fluff of the gray area and let the data speak for itself,” Moore says of VistaDash. “With page views, bounce rate, time spent on page, etc., the information you’re actually looking for can get lost. What dealerships really want to know is, do I have shoppers or do I not have shoppers? And are they opportunities? That’s what we focus on.”

It’s important that the vendor displays the data in a simple, easily digestible way that leads to action, but also provides an option for additional help with interpreting data and digging deeper in case it’s needed.

2. Take data-backed, creative action

Now that you have all that powerful data, it’s time to get creative. This is where AI falls significantly short of human capabilities. Your dealership team can take advantage of the power of social media, customer experience, and other relationship-building tools and tactics to create opportunities for new ways of marketing.

Moore gives an example of how data drives creativity: Say your data shows that your lease penetration is really low, your finance is high, you make money on the back end of the service contract, and your average buyer is 40 years old. Your creative mind might say, “Great, I’m going to create a unique finance offer targeting the 35 to 45 age group. And then I’m going to do a $199 crafted lease special to the younger gen, trying to pull them into the brand.” Then you come up with the creative imagery, messaging, delivery, etc.

3. Follow the results, and pivot

Once you’ve verified your data and taken action, follow up on the results. Capitalize on what’s working, and adjust what’s not.

One fairly recent example of how changing up your marketing can lead to incredibly powerful results happened during the 2016 presidential election. Hilary Clinton’s team spent way more than President Trump’s did, but Trump proved successful. Many contribute that to the way in which Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital director, used Facebook to micro-target critical groups and even entire states, like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. He made tiny adjustments to social media campaigns, like changing the color of Trump’s tie, based on what was working with what audience.

Can that be too time-consuming?

“He won, so it does work,” Moore says. “Look at the data, pivot. Look at the data, pivot. If you’re pivoting and making ground, that’s time well spent.”

For further marketing inspiration, Moore recommends checking out the WWE (yes, World Wrestling Entertainment) as an example of a group that’s doing both traditional and digital marketing right.

“Watch the elections too. As a marketer, that’s when I go back to school,” he says. “I don’t get caught up in the politics; I get caught up in the movement. What are they doing on social? How are they pivoting? It’s fun to watch, and you can learn so much.”

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