How Automakers Can Drive End-to-End Results

December 16, 2019 Paula Skier, VP, Business Development, Nielsen Auto Cloud

There’s an explosion of new ways to consume media. We see new tech, new platforms and new distribution channels, from wearables to virtual reality, connected homes and connected cars. It’s increasingly customized, personalized and interactive.

This creates a huge challenge for every advertiser, especially auto marketers: How do you cut through the clutter and connect with your best customer? In the end, it’s all about relevance -- getting the right message across, at the right time and place -- for your message to resonate. When you understand your customers, you have a significant competitive advantage.

In this post I’ll show how accurate, actionable data and advanced modeling techniques can help automakers increase relevance, make more informed decisions, and direct investment to the marketing tactics that work best. Let’s dig in.

Generating Awareness

Collectively, your media touchpoints with consumers—throughout the path-to-purchase—must reinforce your overall brand story and elevate it in consumers’ minds. We looked at campaigns from some of the largest global advertisers to get a sense of how they were approaching their advertising across platforms and the audiences that they were reaching.

According to the Nielsen Auto Marketing Report, TV drives the highest level of ad recall of any channel by a wide margin—over 2X greater than print, the next highest channel in terms of ad recall.

We also found that TV remains the primary driver of audience reach. The average number of impressions was nearly 8X greater than the digital impressions in these campaigns, which confirms where these advertisers are investing and the audiences being delivered from TV.

The chart below demonstrates how different media channels can influence a consumer’s path to purchase.

How media channels influence path to purchase

Auto Marketing Challenges 

Given this complex path-to-purchase, understanding which marketing tactics actually drive revenue and growth may be the hardest part of your job. The quantity of data and channels you could track is exploding, but it’s scattered across multiple systems with no easy way to tie it all together. To add to the complexity, consumers are more aware of privacy and security.

You’re looking for clear answers—but you’re getting different stories from different data. And you’re under pressure to make all that data tell a single story so you can react quickly and assess performance holistically. 

Most marketers measure across traditional and digital media. But channel-specific metrics, weeks-old data and coverage gaps can throw off your accuracy, too. Your data may only be refreshed every few weeks or months, but you’re making decisions and digital buys every day. That mismatched speed can cost you in a big way. 

Plus, it’s hard to get a complete picture of your consumers and how channels are working together to drive a particular KPI when new channels keep emerging.  Even more troubling, falling back on legacy approaches means that you can’t prove how you’re contributing to the growth of the business. 

Assessing Marketing Effectiveness

Everyone is consuming media across multiple platforms and devices. This provides an opportunity to engage with consumers across the purchase journey. But many of the platforms with which they engage are walled gardens, each one measuring itself.

Without a holistic view across platforms or comparable metrics, it’s extremely difficult to assess the effectiveness of a campaign. How can marketers tackle the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities?

Here are three steps to manage big data purposefully and get expected results. Following these will let you potentialize your own assets (your data), target and message effectively, increase ROI and deliver beyond expectations by building data-driven strategic intelligence.

Step 1: Structure and Supercharge

To unleash the power of your data, it must be organized in a way that’s relevant and useful.  For example, you’ll want to understand different segments within your customer base so you can communicate with them differently. 

The first step is to make sure your data is set up in a way that supports a single customer view.  That means connecting your first-party data with a unified, persistent ID and a tech stack that allows you to get the most out of it in a flexible, real-time and secure manner.

While first-party data is extremely valuable to marketers, often it’s not enough to get a full view. Most marketers need additional data providers to get a complete view of their audiences beyond just transactional information they may already have.

There are lots of different platforms and providers.  And in light of today’s privacy-sensitive environment, it’s more important than ever to make sure data is ethically sourced. So do your homework and invest with the right partners; it will pay off.

Step 2: Activate Everywhere

Find your audience wherever it is and activate on those channels. Auto marketers can reach consumers across hundreds of cross-channel media and content platforms including TV. Our research shows that there is power in combining traditional and digital channels. Leverage a coordinated mix of broad reach and targeted media, with careful consideration of the synergies between channels. 

Use sequential messaging and make sure your creative tells a cohesive and compelling story. Using TV and radio for brand building throughout the path to purchase—especially at the outset—and combining these efforts with personalized marketing via digital (including social), can effectively encourage purchase consideration.

Step 3: Measure and Optimize

Measure what matters. Ask the right questions: Who did the campaign reach? How did it change attitudes? How did it change behavior?

With precision targeting and good planning, you can increase reach while reducing waste. By reaching the right audience with the right message, you’ll increase relevance and resonance. This will ultimately have a greater impact on behavior and drive sales.

Begin by using these three steps to activate across the ecosystem. Generate predictive audiences based on insights gained from first, second and third-party data. Use this information to create data driven marketing strategies. Then personalize across channels to data-powered consumer journey stages and measure the most relevant outcome KPIs.

KPIs on the auto path to purchase

Driving End-to-End Results

In today’s digital age, speed matters. If you’re not able to maximize each touchpoint in the consumer journey -- and do so quickly -- you could be missing opportunities to influence key audiences and take advantage of new and influential advertising channels.

No matter what your role, you need to make accurate decisions about your strategies, audiences, tactics and timing, so you can create the best experiences for your customers, and the greatest returns for your business.

Leveraging the power of data, platforms, and modeling methodologies—without compromising accuracy or actionability—will allow every member of your team to get the fast, reliable insights they need to inform their decision making and drive results.

Solutions for Auto Marketers

Did you know that Nielsen has a suite of solutions specifically designed to help automakers cut through the clutter, increase marketing efficiency and improve return on ad spend?

Nielsen Auto Cloud is a robust marketing and measurement platform that combines data and insights of Nielsen Marketing Cloud with exclusive Power Information Network® (PIN) vehicle sales data and car-buyer intelligence from J.D. Power. It also includes omnichannel advertising and campaign measurement capabilities for optimizing marketing performance. 

See More

Watch our session at the 2019 J.D. Power Auto Revolution Conference on demand: Connecting in a Fragmented World

Learn More

Find out how Nielsen Auto Cloud can help you be a better auto marketer here

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