For brands to effectively traverse crowded market terrain filled with countless unexpected hazards and detours, they must have clear and thorough insight into who they are, how they fit into the overall environment, and how their target audience perceives their brand and products. Given the complexities of the digital landscape, where customer affinities can shift on a dime, and numerous variables – both internal and external – that obscure the best marketing routes, crossing that treacherous terrain is no simple feat.
The automotive industry epitomizes that dynamic, susceptible to societal, governmental, and environmental trends that can quickly dismantle even the soundest, most meticulous of business and marketing strategies. Therefore, brands in the automotive space need to be agile, capable of pivoting direction quickly and effectively, to tailor their message to those numerous variables.
Automotive brands obviously aren’t helpless in their constant effort towards better engaging their target audience, having vast reservoirs of data available to them that, at least theoretically, provide an extremely useful roadmap towards the end of the marketing rainbow. The problem, of course, is sifting through all of that data, looking for nuanced bits of information that, collectively, provide actionable insight and competitive advantage when implemented correctly.
O360: Innovative, Unique Insight For the Automotive Industry
At Oculus360 (O360), our singular goal is to leverage machine learning and AI-driven technology to provide brands and industries – including the automotive space – the tools needed to efficiently and effectively collect, analyze, and act upon those mountainous collections of consumer feedback and marketplace data. Through our comprehensive solutions – Digital Landscapes, Consumer Portraits – and the immensely beneficial psychographics, and brand advantages they generate, automotive brands can create and implement fully informed strategies with incredible precision, finding and engaging even the most fickle and discerning of customer bases.
Brand loyalty isn’t what it used to be in the automotive industry. Generations of families no longer drive the same make of car just because that’s what the Smith or Jones families have always done. Automotive companies must now deliver their honed message directly on the mark with little room for error. With the guidance of O360’s insightful and comprehensive tools, market participants can use a detailed roadmap of their surroundings to find their ideal consumer segments, deliver an engaging message, and ultimately realize the ROI that distinguishes the very best of the automotive vertical from the also-rans.
Digital Landscapes: Know Who You Are and Where You Fit
The power of social influence is nothing new. Between review sites and consumer conversations about brands and products occurring across numerous channels, the digital environment is overflowing with unprompted, unbiased opinions about a variety of different topics that both directly and indirectly impact a company. Finding the right conversions out of the thousands, often millions of data points, however, has traditionally been impossible due to the incredible amount of resources required to find those needles in the proverbial haystacks.
That is precisely what O360’s Digital Landscapes tool is designed to accomplish – our AI-based platform cleanly and efficiently sifts through the massive volume of consumer conversations to isolate those that impact a specific business and their place within an industry. Such insights are particularly important for automotive firms as the entire sector is sitting at a critical crossroads. Auto brands are in the midst of a rapid transition from the laborious production, distribution, and sales models of old to a new, dynamic framework that matches the heightened expectations of a younger-skewing, hyperconnected audience. Automotive companies’ approach with customers must change to meet modern demands.
From a survey by Deloitte, less than 1% of car shoppers were satisfied with the traditional, long-standing process of buying a car through a dealership and the time-consuming hassles involved. Furthermore, Generation Y drivers – otherwise known as the coveted millennial demographic – value the customer experience three times more than a vehicle’s design. Obviously, with such rapidly changing customer demands, understanding how the target consumer segments perceive an auto company’s brand and products relative to competitors is critical insight in properly crafting an effective marketing message.
By leveraging our proprietary machine learning and natural language processing platform, Digital Landscapes reveal everything from loud, obvious trends to subtle ebbs in a slowly shifting tide that could cause massive repercussions for the auto industry in the future. Our approach isolates a wide range of data points from online consumer conversations, including:
Each set of data points is further categorized by brand, demographic segment, product, and product category to expose granular details. Collectively, the segmented data serves as a sound footing for content and messaging tailored specifically for a cautious and particular auto market customer base, culled directly from their own opinions and perspectives.
Just as importantly, Digital Landscapes reveal critical insights into an auto brand’s overall health as well as that of their competing companies, once again based on consumer conversations. Those insights help a brand create strategies based in a proper context, relative to the many market dynamics that influence consumer behavior, sentiment, and perceptions. For brands in the automotive industry, those dynamics include macroeconomic forces at play, trends in taste, and even political forces that impact the industry. No matter how complicated the playing field, O360’s platform provides invaluable guidance and sense of direction.
As target demographics continue to skew younger, bringing with them substantially different affinities and expectations than generations past, auto brands need to have as thorough an understanding as possible of their customer segments. In other words, they need to know what makes them tick. Perhaps even more importantly, that understanding needs to be constantly, repeatedly refreshed as customer behavior evolves over time.
O360’s Consumer Portraits focus on providing that window into the consumer psyche for brands, creating an in-depth view of the target audience based on the information they already publicly share online, primarily through social media platforms. By integrating tone and content in a message that creates a more personalized approach to marketing – including information from social media on their personalities and top interests, frequented media channels, preferred celebrities, and brands – campaigns can drive more conversions and intensify a consumers’ engagement level with the brand and product.
For companies in the automotive industry, Consumer Portraits don’t just reveal vital information regarding a customer’s taste in automobiles, they also provide a more comprehensive, detailed picture of their affinities towards their favorite brands and products across all industries. This thorough perspective of their overall preferences can be extremely beneficial when creating messages meant to establish a more intense and durable connection, extending brand awareness to potential customers while introducing new products to existing ones.
O360 designed the Consumer Portraits component of the platform to give brands the opportunity to better understand what drives consumer behavior. When combined with all of the insights provided by our AI-driven platform, brands can optimize their content across all channels to truly reflect the voice of the audience which, of course, amplifies engagement and can lead directly to better conversion rates.
When a brand takes full advantage of the insights revealed by Consumer Portraits, the resulting psychographics give marketing efforts a far higher level of precision in reaching particular audience segments. Psychographics – which are essentially the culmination of analysis on personality profiles and the various emotional triggers that play such critical roles in individual consumer behavior – can be extremely powerful in extending brand and product awareness to both new and existing customer segments.
To use an example from the automotive industry itself, Porsche recently used psychographics to deepen the impact of their advertising and speak to their core audience – affluent males – in ways that the brand’s marketing previously avoided. Rather than the prototypical windswept, winding roads featuring a high-performance sports car rushing through beautiful terrain, Porsche has expanded its content to speak to other areas of their audience's everyday lives. Psychographics created a more well-rounded portrait of the typical Porsche consumer, allowing ads to portray fathers taking kids to school in a Porsche or rehydrating after a long workout standing next to a beautiful piece of German engineering.
In the Porsche example, psychographics allow the brand to place the end-user in a more germane and, therefore, practical context that speaks to the most authentic of their target segments affinities and lifestyles. Consumer Portraits are used to find those ideal examples of context and heighten engagement levels with the consumer. Whether the brand is a luxury sports car or a family-oriented SUV, companies in the automotive vertical are best served providing their audience real-world examples of how their vehicles can seamlessly fit into an individual's lifestyle, improving their lives along the way.
The potent combination Digital Landscapes and Consumer Portraits creates a distinct brand advantage that serves as a roadmap of sorts, detailing where and how to target individuals within particular consumer segments. Simply put, that advantage guides a company to their ideal audience and then explains how to focus on those people and differentiate the brand and product from the rest of the marketplace in the consumer's eyes.
Automotive companies can now leverage the information provided by O360’s Digital Landscapes and Consumer Portraits to target their customers in the most impactful way possible. Rather than a general approach intended to speak to a broad swath of the audience and hoping to engage a few, brands can now use a far more honed process, conveying emotion and impact in a more personalized manner that intensifies engagement and, ultimately, conversion rates.
O360 in Action: Lincoln Consumer Case Study
As a real-world example, the Lincoln Motor Company and its agency, Hudson Rouge, use O360's platform for their seasonal sales events. The brand leverages the platform to analyze which vehicle attributes are perceived as strengths or weaknesses by specific target audience segments, for example, male and female Gen X and Baby Boomers. O360 analyzes nearly one million online consumer conversations from a wide variety of consumer-oriented and product review sites to reveal natural, unaided, unbiased opinions that would be almost impossible to attain using surveys or focus groups.
Relying on the platform’s innovative machine learning capabilities and natural language processing, we are able to isolate Lincoln's target generations and apply vehicle attributes thematics that are considered essential to particular vehicles, like the popular MKX and MKT SUVs. We apply those attributes to similar vehicles from competing firms to see precisely where Lincoln holds an advantage in each consumer segment. The results are integrated into their marketing campaign to both steer the message as well as inform the content to maximize engagement levels.
Through this approach, Lincoln realized a 4 to 6% lift across all segments, more than doubling the previous year's figures. Likewise, the brand experienced a 15% improvement in click-through rate through targeted digital advertising built to resonate with each segment. Given the traditionally slim conversion rates within the automotive space, these types of results can have a substantial impact on ROI and translate into significant revenue increases.
The marketplace in the automotive industry must evolve in lockstep with a dynamic, continually changing target audience to differentiate their brand and product line from fierce competition. Using the insights provided by O360’s innovative, AI-driven platform, auto companies now have access to a detailed roadmap as they traverse their way across the crowded and complicated marketplace.