9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


The Future of Automotive Marketing is Open Data

None of us is as smart as all of us.

When it comes to digital marketing, nothing could be more true. The more information you have about a customer, the more likely you will sell them a vehicle. If you know exactly what they want, what they have been searching and what their buying history is, you have a complete picture of the buyer and can talk to them appropriately.

The Power of Open Data

Open, connected data enables businesses to have this complete picture of an individual and take action on that information.

In the vast majority of industries, this is true. In virtually any industry, a business can create a quick website on SquareSpace, add a Facebook widget to the page, send a reply to a form submission with MailChimp and follow-up with a survey using Survey Monkey.

The software is simply a tool, interchangeable pieces which can be cobbled together to make a solution – a sort of makeshift system – that is more valuable than the sum of its parts. The ability to connect the data leads to mind-blowing efficiency and power. Suddenly, sites like Zapier enable businesses to automatically send invoices, marketing material, social media messages and set-up calendar events without lifting a finger.

One industry, however, stands alone: automotive.

The Mafia Ring of Automotive Software

I hesitate to say industry because it is more like a mafia ring. A dealer signs up for a service and doesn't own their own data.

  • When you ask to export the data from your CRM, you are told you have to pay or blocked altogether.
  • When you ask a website provider like Dealer.com, Dealer E-Process or SearchOptics to add your own forms on their site, they say “no way.”
  • When you look to connect call tracking from SEM providers with marketing automation, you're told it's not possible.

Automotive software companies are holding dealers hostage. There is zero API access without paying and no effort on the part of the software companies to help dealers connect to other services.

Their thinking is simple: The longer we keep people trapped in our maze, the longer they are customers.

  • This thinking used to permeate the office walls of Microsoft Dynamics CRM until Salesforce came along and passed them by.
  • The same thinking was built in to BlackBerry, until the App store and Google Play helped to crush them.
  • And of course, the good people of Microsoft Explorer didn't want to connect to anyone, so Chrome and Firefox said, no problem, we'll take care of that.

Technology is more powerful when it is connected. Marketing is more powerful when it is connected. Ergo, automotive marketing has not reached its full capacity.

The Future of Automotive Marketing is Open

The future of automotive marketing has to be open. It may take months or years for the shift to occur, but it is coming.

Companies like DealerTeam are already pushing the envelope, building a CRM and inventory management right on top of the, “please connect to me,” Salesforce platform.

Here at 9 Clouds, we are doing the same. Marketing automation is the next step for digital marketing in the automotive industry. For it to work well, it has to be connected with as much data as possible. That's why we are busy building connectors and integrating with the heart of our client's data.

Sure, we get told no a lot, but we find a way to access the data, and we know: all dinosaurs die.

If you're a software company, don't be a dinosaur. Create API access and connect your tool with the rest of the digital world. The more you are integrated, the more customer retention you will have.

If you're a dealer, demand access to your data. It's yours after all. You should not have to pay for it, beg for it or jump through hoops to get it. Open, transparent data guarantees you are getting what you paid for and guarantees that all the work you are doing today will be available to you regardless of your website, CRM or DMS platform.

The ethos of the Internet has been set. From net neutrality to open API's, the trend is towards collaboration, not manipulation. 

It's time marketers in the automotive industry got onboard.

Learn About Open Data

Want to know how to connect your data for a powerful marketing solution? Request a free marketing assessment. We'll provide recommendations on how to get started and show you the results you should expect from your data.

Request a Free Marketing Assessment

Image: Joan Grífols