Ninety-seven percent of organizations use data for their businesses and 94% of those organizations report data challenges or inaccuracies.1 In fact, 69% of these organizations reported that those inaccuracies negatively impacted customer trust and perception. Their data is targeting the wrong people and they’re losing customers because of it.

In the data analytics world, the term “garbage in, garbage out” is a common expression. It’s a simple way of saying that inaccurate data will produce inaccurate results. If you have dirty data in your DMS, your marketing will be garbage, turning away current customers, negatively affecting conquest customers, and ruining your ROI.

This is a problem that permeates the automotive industry.

Why This is An Issue

The problem is that many dealers don’t take the time to make sure that the data in their system is actually good. Some dealers’ databases are so mired in useless or outdated information that simply taking the database and using it in a raw format to market not only wastes money, but it’s also ineffective.

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Duplicated records are being created at many touch points – in sales, service and parts. People move. Their phone numbers change. They change employers, which could affect their e-mail addresses. Perhaps a husband and wife both exist with the same contact information.

Many vendors, however, simply take your list and send your message – whether that’s via e-mail or direct mail – to the contact information you provide. The real problem lies in the fact that not only is this costing you money, in many cases it never reaches the customer. In addition, it could be serving to annoy your customers by delivering the same message multiple times.

Many dealerships employ policies of non-duplication and collecting full and complete information from customers, but not many enforce it. They rely on their CRM to catch the duplication and prevent it. It’s much too easy, however, for a salesperson to bypass this duplication by simply entering different information – whether it’s intentional or not.

Multiple customer IDs for the same person in a DMS are not uncommon. There are many opportunities in which duplicated or erroneous information can be introduced into a dealer’s database, yet there isn’t typically anybody at the dealership with the time and skillset to analyze and prevent this.

What You Can Do About It

Whether you are doing your own marketing or partnering with a vendor, it’s imperative that the information you are using is accurate. Sending your message to tens of thousands of people accomplishes nothing if the information about those people is wrong. It only costs you more money and sets your campaign up for failure.

Dealers should make sure that their CRMs are current with the most up-to-date information possible and avoid duplication. By doing this, they will see reduced marketing expenses and higher conversions. Accompanied by highly targeted campaigns, not only will dealers see higher conversions and more ROI from their marketing efforts, but they will also be able to ensure that their message is being delivered to the right people at the right time.

Simply thinking about achieving this goal may deter dealers from tackling it, but I assure you that it will cost dealers more money to not do it than they realize. If you don’t have the bandwidth to accomplish this, find someone who does!

That one mailer that didn’t get delivered could cost you a sale. How many of those do you want to miss?

Our industry is continuously seeing changes as a younger generation begins to take the reins at many dealerships. While this generational shift is seeing an increase in leaders who recognize the importance of highly targeted marketing in their growth strategies, it’s important they recognize that, not unlike a house, their marketing is only as strong as the foundation it is built upon.