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How auto marketers should respond to the on-demand transportation revolution

This week’s guest blog post is contributed by Aimee LaFerriere, Industry Strategy Manager, Automotive, Oracle Data Cloud.

The past decade has been a wild ride for the auto industry. Vehicle sales collapsed and then recovered.  

Urban populations expanded and mobile phones got smarter with apps offering secure, convenient ways to access products and services.

In the wake of these trends, new on-demand transportation service models emerged—including ride-hailing and car-sharing—offering disruptive forces to traditional taxicab and automotive business models.

Vehicle utility and ownership

As these new services take root, Americans think differently about vehicle utility and ownership.

While millennials are often cited as the early adopters of transportation services (seen as slower than other generations to own vehicles), a study by the Center for the Digital Future found that more people of all ages view on-demand transportation services as alternatives to ownership.

How auto marketers should respond

As automakers test and deploy car-sharing and ride-hailing technologies to stay ahead of rapidly evolving industry trends, auto marketers must consider how new transportation models will impact their sales approach.

Key ingredients to success will 1) incorporate a keen understanding of the newly emerging spectrum of transportation service models and users, 2) rely on deep insights to identify and reach people on this spectrum and 3) require powerful data to drive highly targeted marketing campaigns.

Automotive marketers will need to tackle the following three key issues as on-demand transportation evolves.

1) Move beyond buyers

While on-demand transportation models continue to be tested and adopted, the targeting conversation must expand beyond matching vehicles to near-term buyers.  

Consider people who do not own a vehicle and rely entirely on public transportation and on-demand services.

Find households who choose to sell or forego replacing a vehicle and instead use on-demand services as a secondary mode of transportation.

One new group to target that offers the highest potential, are drivers using their own aging vehicles or taking advantage of special leasing programs to provide ride-hailing services in new cars.

2) Identify a new marketing goal

Every marketing campaign needs a target. Without vehicle sales as a bottom line, how can auto marketers gauge success?

New goals emerge that draw from both the technology and the automotive marketing spheres:

  • Identifying new users. Prospect for users of alternative transportation, encourage them to consider your service.
  • Conquesting from other brands. Grow your customer base by getting your message in front of users of other ride-hailing and car-sharing services.
  • Recruiting drivers for your “fleet.” Reach current and prospective drivers to ensure vehicles are available and services are highly utilized.

3) Use data to find this “new” customer

It’s the marketer’s challenge to pivot messaging as ownership patterns change, or in the case of those who never owned a vehicle, attract and reach them with relevant messaging.

To get this messaging in front of the right audiences, use third-party data to efficiently and accurately:

  • Profile heavy ride-share users to define the market.
  • Improve geographic targeting to reach areas where on-demand services are heavily used, such as urban centers and college campuses.
  • Focus on building audiences aligned from a demographic, lifestyle and behavioral perspective, suppressing those who are avid users. Don’t waste marketing dollars on presently loyal individuals
  • Reach drivers with entirely different messaging about the reliability and benefits of your service.

Looking ahead, marketers must understand how essential life stages are to vehicle ownership. How do ownership and on-demand service usage change when children are born and residences shift between urban and suburban?

Will ride-hailing services become the preferred way to manage kids’ carpools? Will retirement and aging create a new generation of ride-hailing users?

This is an unprecedented time for automotive marketers, but with challenges come opportunities. Oracle Data Cloud’s team of auto industry and data experts are here to help navigate the spectrum of ownership.

Contact The Data Hotline to maximize campaign performance for vehicle sales or on-demand service campaigns. (What's The Data Hotline?)  

About Aimee LaFerriere

Aimee is the Industry Strategy Manager for the Automotive team at Oracle Data Cloud.

Aimee has more than nine years of experience in the automotive industry, previously in dealership operations/parts and service management.

Stay up to date with all the latest in data-driven news by following @OracleDataCloud on Twitter and Facebook!

Image: Shutterstock


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