Will Dataium Revolutionize Automotive Digital Marketing and the Role of CRM?
Part 2 – click here for Part 1
I’m confident that Dataium executives have seen the golden opportunity to change the way marketing decisions are made in our industry. They are sprinting to create the largest and most powerful network of consumer behavioral data to become a market leader of this emerging industry.
If the Dataium “cloud intelligence” database is the richest available, OEM’s will be compelled to license their feed to enhance their marketing strategies. CRM vendors will want Dataium consumer data feed to create more powerful CRM processes.
Does Dataium have any competitors today? It looks like they have a head start but being first does not guarantee the largest market share in the long run. As I looked at the opportunities in the automotive industry, could Autotrader build a similar model to create greater enticements for dealers to use their newly acquired products and services?
Autotrader.com and subsidiaries may be playing nice with data aggregation companies today but what if one day they stopped? What if they used their end-to-end digital automotive products and services to offer a compelling set of business intelligence tools that a dealer could not afford to ignore?
If Autotrader decided to compete with Dataium, how would this impact the quality of Dataium’s network? Since Dataium does not own websites, do power players limit their upside potential?
Let me suggest why Autotrader may want to build their own consumer intelligence model…
Dealers are not easily compelled to change their website platforms and cringe at the thought of changing the CRM or DMS system. What if Autotrader gave
them a large financial incentive, by offering intelligent CRM functionality, to make that painful short-term change acceptable? Could new business intelligence tools inside of VinSolutions CRM create hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits per store? I think so.
Autotrader Digital Assets
Autotrader.com, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, which also owns the Manheim Auctions, has recently made a number of strategic acquisitions. Little details have been shared on their strategy but the Dataium presentation connected the dots for me.
Autotrader has recently purchased Kelley Blue Book, vAuto, and most recently VinSolutions. If you look at the rich data that could be data mined from Autotrader.com and KBB.com and then leveraged with vAuto and VinSolutions CRM the potential is enormous.
The potential for a private Autotrader data network is even greater when you consider that Cox Enterprises owns a number of very large newspapers and media outlets. Each of these digital affiliates collects data on consumers that visit their websites. With millions of visitors coming to Cox owned websites, why wouldn’t Autotrader consider competing with Dataium?
So, if they leverage the data that they have and want to transform the automotive industry, this “fantasy” would only be missing two pieces.
Autotrader Needs a DMS Platform They Control
Autotrader is missing a DMS platform that would connect dealership financial data to sales and marketing data from the Internet. The two major DMS providers are Reynolds & Reynolds and ADP/Cobalt with a number of smaller companies in the market.
ADP/Cobalt is clearly creating a robust digital marketing platform. ADP/Cobalt has made massive strides to develop a stronger platform with enhances services to meet the needs of dealers. Their accomplishments have placed them in the top recommended website providers for 2011.
It would be hard for me to believe that Autotrader would consider an ADP relationship based on the momentum that the ADP/Cobalt marriage has produced.
Reynolds & Reynolds has been strangely quiet from a digital marketing services perspective. Their website technology and marketing tools have lagged the marketplace. Could R&R be resting on their DMS laurels?
I have the least insights into Reynolds & Reynolds, but from industry veterans I asked, an Autotrader deal would seem unlikely.
DealerTrack has a “market pricing” tool (AAX), which competes with vAuto. This adds some complexity to a potential marriage. A partnership with Autotrader may be appealing to DealerTrack to jumpstart their market share and to take advantage of dealers that have little loyalty to ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds.
Let me state that dealers have strong reasons not to change their DMS; it’s disrupting to business operations. However, if the benefits of a VinSolutions CRM system powered by ZMOT data deliver an unfair competitive edge to dealers on an Autotrader integrated marketing platform, ADP and R&R better have a new client retention strategy.
The Autotrader Data Network
If the DMS issue was resolved and all parties worked to create a data integration strategy, it is likely that Autotrader could shake up the automotive industry. In an ideal world, Autotrader would offer rich data sets and tools to offer dealers from the start of the car sales process all the way to the final sale and into service retention.
For used cars, the Autotrader platform would have data on Manheim pricing and then make sure that dealer cars are properly merchandized on Autotrader and VinSolutions websites using market-pricing tools.
Consumers who visit Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader, a VinSolutions website, or any number of websites in the Cox Enterprises network could be tracked, consolidated, and rolled-up into actionable information in the VinSolutions CRM product.
When this network is completed, it would create strong competitive advantages for dealers. It will also create a very compelling case for OEM’s to consider Autotrader as a recommended platform for franchise dealers.
If such a product were created it would make a strong case for dealers to uproot their DMS and CRM systems. There are no truly compelling products on the market today that would motivate a dealer to change their DMS. Business intelligence tools may be the killer app for established DMS providers unless they offer similar functionality with partnerships with Dataium or similar companies.
Autotrader Needs Marketing and Education Strategy
Dealers are just starting to understand that their advertising and marketing budgets must go under significant review. Progressive dealers are moving a significant portion of their budgets to digital strategies that can be measured.
Dealers are just learning about the importance of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) and how review websites are impacting their sales and marketing investments BEFORE a customer ever contacts the dealership.
The potential that the Autotrader network offers or Dataium business intelligence tools will be limited by dealer education and confidence. The benefits of rich data are based on an understanding of ZMOT. The transformation of business rules and processes based on rich data automation will not be without skeptics.
Will these companies create a strategy that a dealer can understand?
Will the presentation be convincing enough for dealers to uproot their DMS systems?
Will dealers have confidence that the implementation will be well supported?
I have the opportunity to educate thousands of automotive professionals a year and communicating new digital concepts is not without unique challenges. Companies that will be offering new automotive business intelligence tools must develop a consulting and training strategy to accelerate market opportunities and market share.
Does The Autotrader Network Put Cars.com In Play?
Dealer.com is a smart company. Last year they purchased EpikOne, a company that specialized in metrics strategies, media measurement and user experience optimization without much fanfare. Dealer.com has significant market share and they have not been sitting idle during the Autotrader buying spree.
Will the potential for a powerful AutoTrader data network create new alliances with major website players and Cars.com, EveryCarListed.com, or the Automotive Advertising Network (AAN)?
Will companies like ADP/Cobalt and Dominion Dealer Solutions expedite the integration of their individual technology platforms? What about the powerful stand-alone website providers on the market today?
Many questions and too few answers are available at this time! What you can count on is that PCG Digital Marketing will be keeping dealers apprised of the latest developments in search marketing, website technology, and digital marketing strategy.