Your Customers Want … What They Didn’t Know They Wanted


We’ve all been there, wondering if our phones are listening in on our conversations because right after we tell a coworker that we want a new fill in the blank, deals for one start popping up for us in different places online.

It can feel a little eerie, and leave us racking our brain for when we might have googled the item. But studies show that many shoppers actually appreciate this kind of personalized marketing, when done right. And that goes for car shoppers too.

Last year, worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. ran a study asking consumers to keep a mobile diary of their personalized interactions with various brands over the course of two weeks. The number one thing the participants valued when it came to personalized communications? “[R]elevant recommendations I wouldn’t have thought of myself.”

Let’s take a closer look at the two key points to this response:

1. “Relevant recommendations”: Consumers weren’t out shopping for extra-wide soccer cleats and then were happy to be sent links to deals on new basketball shoes. The recommendations were relevant to their wants and needs.

Car dealerships across the nation are experiencing success with this type of marketing using data-mining and behavior-predicting software like AutoAlert’s CXM (Customer Experience Management) platform. It takes myriad sources of customer data and creates customer-specific deals delivered right on time. These no-pressure offers drive consumers straight to the store. It also provides ways of connecting customers (both native and conquest) with relevant recommendations when they’re already in the service lane, or in the showroom.

2. However, the second part of what study participants valued (“I wouldn’t have thought of myself”) is equally important. Consumers want companies to make their shopping experiences easier, and they aren’t turned off by suggestions (as long as they’re relevant – see number 1!).

“To provide something a customer might be interested in, companies need to use more sophisticated recommendation algorithms to offer complementary products or services instead of just the things the shopper has already browsed or bought,” the McKinsey report deduced. “This might entail, for instance, suggesting a cocktail dress for someone who has just bought or searched for stiletto heels.”

When it comes to car shopping, AutoAlert’s software has perfected the timing on when to engage customers who are already in market, but what’s as valuable – if not more so – is that it also targets those who aren’t actively looking for cars online, which indicates they might not even be thinking about a new car. However, deals that give customers an opportunity to trade keys at about the same payment, and drive home a new car today, can be just what they didn’t know they wanted, as exhibited by other data collected.

Marketing to today’s savvy, plugged-in consumers requires knowing how and what they’re shopping, plus what might appeal to them that they hadn’t even considered. Intelligent software tools like those created by AutoAlert are essential for getting the job done right, and keeping your dealership competitive in a quickly changing market.

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