An Introduction to Data-Driven Marketing for the Auto Industry

Automotive brands that implement audience-driven marketing in their overall strategies will reap the rewards of improved customer acquisition and retention, enhanced customer experiences, and higher revenue.

Consumers expect relevant messages delivered across the channels they prefer and at the time they choose. And when brands fail to deliver, customers are annoyed and often even driven away. To deliver this type of hyper-targeted marketing, an audience-driven approach is the essential ingredient for success.

Here are a few ways to get started.

Data-Driven Marketing Begins with a 360-View of Your Audience

Data today is bigger and more pervasive than ever before, and the automotive industry can no longer rely on internal data alone. Information that is sitting in CRM systems, billing, and shipping databases, or customer service centers is a great starting point, but to step up their competitive advantage, automotive companies need to have a 360 view of their customer audience.

What Audience Categories Should be Included in an Automotive Customer Audience?

1. Demographic 

Information such as households with:

  • Teenage drivers (may purchase a first car) or new baby (may need a larger vehicle)
  • Lifestyle attributes such as environmentalism or an interest in the outdoors (hybrids or four-wheel drive) can take targeted marketing to the next step.
  • Income, marital status, occupation, hobbies, lifestyle, and age are other examples of demographics that can be used to create targeted marketing messages for omnichannel campaigns.

2. Specialized Auto

Fields include:

  • Make, Model, and Year as derived directly from VINs. Porch Group Media uses proprietary methods are used to scrub out records where the vehicle is no longer on the road.
  • Engine size, fuel type, drive train, engine block, and engine cylinders
  • Response performance indicator models to let you know who your best prospects are.

3. In-Market Model

Dealers can target consumers who may be ready to purchase a car within the next several months with statistically modeled values that indicate a household’s inclination to purchase a vehicle. Porch Group Media’s In-Market Model can Identify consumers 4.2X more likely to purchase a vehicle within a 90-day time frame.

4. Follow the Car

This data identifies cars that a dealership sold or performed regular service on after they are sold to a new owner, so the dealer can contact the new owner with service offers. This means less wasted marketing efforts sending vehicle-specific pieces to consumers who may not own that car anymore, new service prospects by targeting new owners of vehicles that the center is familiar with, and optimized audience targeting with enhanced data and consumer insights.


Give Your Automotive Audience That New Car Smell

Did you know that U.S. businesses lose $3.1 trillion annually because of poor data quality? – IBM. Don’t let duplicate records, incorrect postal or email addresses, or outdated information hurt your marketing ROI.

Invalid data also hurts efficiency and performance – resulting in lost customers, lost opportunities, and wasted staff time.

Porch Group Media can provide automotive customer list cleaning solutions including:

  • NCOA (National Change of Address)
  • CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System)
  • Deceased Record Processing
  • Geo Coding
  • Name and Address Standardization
  • Merge/Purge Processing – Identify and validate email Addresses, confirm the email exists on a reliable domain and if the inbox accepts incoming mail, remove invalid emails, invalid domains, and known hard bounces.
  • Phone append, DNC (Do Not Call) processing, reverse match, address match, HTF Data (Hard to Find Data), wireless phone flag.

Leverage Machine learning to Predict Shopping Prospects and Timing

Porch Group Media’s machine learning algorithms create an audience that is likely to be in-market for a vehicle.

With information on over 270 million consumers, 200 million VINs, and 170 million email addresses, our automotive audiences provide the insights you need for the right consumer connections.

Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns

As more consumers turn to digital channels to browse and research their next automobile, dealerships must keep up by embracing multi-channel, audience-driven campaigns such as CTV, email marketing, direct mail, and digital advertising. Multi-channel mix of email plus display resulted in a 3:1 ROAS.


Connected TV (CTV)


Time spent watching traditional TV has been on the decline for some time now. And while linear is not dead, streaming is quickly gaining momentum and taking over.

87% of U.S. households now have a connected TV device – Leichtman Research Group. Without CTV advertising in the mix, advertisers may miss out on a large percentage of their audience–almost half (46%) of US households are only reachable on streaming TV, according to an MRI Simmons 2022 November Cord Evolution study

Email Marketing

Email brings in about 39% of a dealership’s leads, according to Larry Bruce, Vice President of Naked Lime. According to Naked Lime research, “emails fetch more than three times as many leads as direct mail (12%), paid search (11%) and organic search (9%). Traditional media, such as TV and radio, account for 4% and social media 2%.”

The key to successful email marketing lies in using analytics and data to segment marketing audiences. Email segmentation lets you cut through the clutter by providing offers and communications based on segmented audiences.

There are countless ways to use segmentation. For example, you may segment by demographics. One group of consumers may have school-age children and an offer for a larger family vehicle would be more appealing than an offer for a sports car. Different offers and different vehicles will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts as compared to retired couples. Consider a range of characteristics such as age; income; lifestyle; hobbies; make, model, and age of their current vehicle; whether they own or lease; location; and so on.

Direct Mail

With the rising emphasis on digital channels, old-fashioned direct mail is often overlooked. However, the advent of targeted automotive audiences has given new life to direct mail marketing, giving dealerships and auto brands new ways to pinpoint consumers with tailored offers.

By enhancing 1st party dealership data with 3rd party specialty automotive audience marketers can achieve a holistic customer view to craft highly targeted offers.

While direct mail can see positive results, it’s really going to show the most ROI when it’s implemented as a multichannel campaign. 

Digital Advertising

The auto industry spent 17.01M in digital advertising in 2022 – and is predicted to spend 19M in 2023- Statista

The use of data has become more sophisticated in the use of digital advertising, allowing for finely tuned audience targeting. Auto brands can choose to target consumers by a range of criteria and across platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and more. Examples of segments to target may include a mix of vehicle type, make, model, year, and in-market consumers.

Market to New Movers

Have your customer list analyzed and flag pre-movers or new movers. Or, create a new prospect audience of new movers.  

Why is this important? The average business loses 20% of its customer base that moves away in any given year – and these customers need to be replaced. New movers will spend more in the first six months of a move than the average consumer will spend in three years, and they are 5 times more likely to become a loyal customer if you reach them first.

1 out of 4 Mover Households Buys a Car


Audience-driven marketing solutions are here to tell you who is buying what types of vehicles, where they live, and which channels and messages are most likely to compel them to act. Now is the time to make audience-driven marketing the guiding force for your automotive marketing strategies.

Rev Up Your Automotive Customer Audiences

Need to increase car sales? Boost customer acquisition with our automotive audience and marketing solutions.

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