We always talk about creating personalized, seamless customer experience across marketing channels. There shouldn’t be any kinks in the user’s journey—customers should be able to pick up exactly where they left off, regardless of how, where, and when they interact with your brand.
This concept of building a seamless connection has been translated into the automotive industry. Cars are getting a lot smarter these days and behind that intelligence there’s technology. Various technologies can recognize the driver, self-park the car, predict maintenance, etc. and with them comes a host of new data possibilities.
Now, think of these different technologies as marketing channels and the car owner as the customer. The automotive Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection across all of these various technologies to create a unique experience for the car owner. Novel automotive IoT connectivity speaks to the broader demand for individualized experiences—wherever and whenever available—and how one industry is doing things a bit differently.
Why Individualized Experiences Matter
Today, partially as a result of a pandemic-induced digital transformation, customers are accustomed to hyper-personalized marketing tactics. In the latest iteration of personalized marketing, customers are starting to assign high value to one-on-one interactions with brands.
As McKinsey said, “In the best personalized experiences, retailers make the customer part of the dialogue and leverage data to create one-to-one personalization. Customers receive offers that are targeted not just at customers like them, with brands targeting at the segment level with broad-based offers, but at them as individuals, with products, offers, and communications that are uniquely relevant to them.”
It only takes one brand implementing an individualized approach to create a snowball effect on customer expectations. These new expectations have extended into the automotive industry. From self-driving cars to memorized seat positioning based on the driver, driving a car has become a hyper-individualized experience.
Automotive IoT as a Continuation of Individualization
Before we explore specifically how automotive IoT is an expansion of individualization, let’s break down what the “Internet of Things,” in general, really means. In short, it’s taking things and adding capabilities of the internet—digitizing an experience that perhaps was previously only physical. This gives “things” a cross-channel capability they may not have had before.
They can now connect with each other or their environments via networks to create a constant stream of communication and feedback, customizing the experience for each end-user. For the automotive industry, in particular, this opens the door to a whole new realm of individualization.
Connecting With Each Other
A vehicle, as a whole, can be considered a “thing,” so having the vehicle communicate and share information externally is one application of automotive IoT. There are a number of ways for vehicles to communicate using the Cellular Vehicle to Everything Network (CV2X). This includes Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle to Pedestrians (V2P), and Vehicle to Network (V2N).
The common thread in all of these forms of communication is how they impact the drivers at the wheel. In V2V communication, the exchange of information between vehicles can help both drivers understand their unique surroundings to provide a safer path to their final destination. When a vehicle communicates, it collects information to understand what the world looks like for the person behind the wheel. Vehicle communication individualizes the driving experience based on an exchange of data.
Connecting With the Environment
In addition to a data exchange, vehicles have the ability to take in information from their surroundings to alter the user experience without relaying any information in return. One example of vehicles connecting with the environment is semi-autonomous vehicles.
Vehicles can interpret the information they have access to. Think about a car that can parallel park for the driver. The vehicle can use user- and context-specific information—what is surrounding their car—and turn that data into action to create a custom experience for the driver. Then through V2I communication, the environment can also collect information about the vehicle, and share that information accordingly to provide more information to the end user.
A Cross-Channel Experience to Supplement Automotive IoT
All we want, as consumers, is reduced friction and ease-of-use in our day-to-day experiences—and the automotive experience is no different. To supplement an interconnected driving experience, however, automotive brands need to extend this connected experience into their marketing techniques.
Below are three recommendations for elevating the automotive industry’s cross-channel marketing experience.
- Make sure mobile is part of the mix. Consumers are spending more time using their smartphones for research and browsing. In fact, “51% of car users search for their favorite models, locate dealers, compare prices, and read reviews via their mobile devices.” The mobile experience doesn’t have to end when they buy the car though. Maybe the user’s car needs servicing? Using the data from the vehicle, your marketing team can identify this and send a push notification or in-app message reminding the user to make an appointment at the dealership.
- Collect and use zero-party data. That is, get information about the customer directly from them. We say collect and use because collecting is only half the battle. Customers want to know the data you have is being used to their benefit—to create a better experience. “Nearly half of consumers in North America (45%) would be willing to share their data if it meant that it would enhance their customer experience.” If customers share their location, for example, your brand can get access to common routes and provide information to supplement the driver’s experience.
- Keep it simple. One of the keys to a seamless experience is ease of use. Customers need to glide through their experience and intuitively understand the next step in the process. “Simplified processes and improved experience are projected to increase car sales by a whopping 25%.” Here, brand consistency is key. Make sure the experience in the car, on your website, and in your app all look similar.
Customers prefer a personalized marketing experience and they also prefer a connected automotive experience. According to McKinsey “Consumers see tremendous value in connectivity, with McKinsey’s 2020 consumer survey on autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility (ACES) demonstrating that 37 percent of respondents would switch car brands to achieve improvements in this area.”
It’s clear that a cross-channel experience is becoming a part of life, no longer applicable to just marketing. Every day people are interacting with a unique combination of different channels, devices, and “things.” Your brand has to think about how to connect all of these touchpoints—beyond the marketing funnel—to develop an individualized experience.
Want more info? Check out our one-pager about What’s Driving the Automotive Industry.