AI is the ability of a machine to perform the cognitive functions that we associate with human minds, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with the environment, problem-solving, and even exercising creativity. Examples of technologies that enable AI to solve business problems are robotics and autonomous vehicles, computer vision, virtual agents, and machine learning.
The adoption of AI is becoming a unique competitive edge in the market today. According to Statista.com, the global investment in artificial intelligence (AI) shows that between 2010 and 2013, global expenditure on in-vehicle experience AI amounted to some 3.2 billion U.S. dollars.
Marketing and Sales teams of automotive OEMs and their franchised retailers can capture massive value if they can translate AI's potential—and that of its increasingly sophisticated techniques and tools—into concrete change. The benefits that AI is said to bring are:
- It Will Increase Sales
AI collects data on the customer's buying journey, which can be used to personalize a sales effort. This can be by up-selling and cross-selling to customers with individualized offers and personalized pricing.
- It Increases Efficiency And Time Management
By using AI in the business, it can assist in automating and optimizing Marketing and Sales operations. These activities include sales forecasting, product configurations, stock allocation, and after-sales service operations.
This provides an opportunity for staff to focus on high-value activities instead of getting bogged down on maintenance and busywork. The automation of sales and marketing operations will free up time for agencies and marketers to focus on more strategic long-term thinking, following up on leads, and tackling profitability.
- It Lowers the Marketing And Sales Cost
The benefits of AI technology transformation are seen in the efficient execution of tactical sales and media budgets and the margin improvements from more customer-centric packages, and pricing.AI can help dealers customize email, banner ads, texts, and other marketing efforts to target the right customers at the right time – with specific inventory, offers and details that data proves they're interested in.
- AI Can Improve Customer Service Experience
Nowadays, the customers' paths to purchasing a car begin online, which is now the first place when searching for cars. Eighty per cent of car buyers research online for a new car and take approximately 14 hours on average to identify one. Also, more than two-thirds of customers make their purchasing decisions online. In this digital arena, customers value the fast and seamless offline and online experience.
For the brands that do not meet these expectations, they lose customers quickly because the overall experience — online research to ownership is below average.
In Which Ways Can AI Be Used In Automotive Marketing?
1. Smart Targeting
As your website visitors navigate your website, it is important to know that you are not looking for the same thing: some are first-time parents looking for safe family vehicles, others have just retired and want a fast car. Others just need an oil change. With AI, you can create a system that regularly tracks and synthesizes data. It then uses it to make real-time predictions about customer interest, deliver relevant content, and record the customer's responsibility. This happens with predictive analytics, which allows your website to communicate with each visitor differently.
Therefore, a first-time website visitor might see your New Arrivals on Sale, while another on your service pages is shown a maintenance package– all with optimal timing.
This type of system is more scalable than what we know is personalizing the experience. In this way, you can reach more people, and with more accurate predictions and less work, with exponential results over time.
2. SEO Optimization
An SEO strategy should involve optimizing your website for it to be relevant and valuable for vehicle shoppers. The search engines are able to determine the value and rank your site should be for searchers. How do they do it? With AI, of course. It is able to read and comprehend text and evaluate for relevance. SEO with AI is able to interact with the current machine learning search engines to bring more traffic to your automotive website.
3. Efficiency in Sales
Customers have always had a need for faster and more convenient sales processes. Some examples of how to make it more efficient are to provide customers with paperwork via email for use on their devices wherever they are. By aiming for a totally customized process with automation and personalized recommendations, customers can enjoy the often-confusing sales process.
4. Integrate Programmatic Advertising
With today's overflow of information and consumers' attention spans decreasing, advertisers need to engage customers at the perfectly timed place and a perfectly aimed message to market effectively and efficiently. Therefore, marketers are relying increasingly on programmatic advertising. This online marketing technology refers to the automation of online media-buying activities. It includes real-time bidding on advertising spaces, optimization of marketing campaigns, and displaying individualized advertisements (“creatives”) based on customers' individual characteristics. By 2022, programmatic advertising is expected to make up 71 per cent of global digital advertising spend.
OEMs can use AI to determine which customers to market to, through which marketing channel, with which message, and at what time. By employing programmatic advertisement, which is based on AI at its very core, OEMs can utilize AI's ability to continuously make these complex, split-second decisions based on vast amounts of data.
5. Create a Lead Management Automation System
Dealers scaling down their sales teams have a hard time managing the customer leads that exist in their own CRMs. Other leads they miss come through customer calls or emails, OEMs' or their own websites, and their local marketing efforts. Additionally, sales-boosting measures, such as taking the opportunity to offer new cars or additional services to customers that come to the dealership for a service appointment, are rarely executed consistently.
OEMs can use AI to win additional customers (e.g., through more consequent lead management) and increase the revenue that is realized with each customer (e.g., through up- and cross-selling). AI can be used to create a lead management process much more consistent. E-commerce players, with their end-to-end data ranging from online marketing and website interactions to actual sales, already showcase AI-enabled lead management automation. These players let AI systems analyze their data sets to predict which customers are most likely to close, and they focus their Marketing and Sales activities there. They learn from every interaction and sale and constantly optimize the user experience and marketing activities. Similarly, OEMs could employ AI to score incoming leads and prioritize Marketing and Sales activities accordingly.
In conclusion, New, pure EV brands such as Tesla and NIO are building their Marketing and Sales customer experiences into a world-class, frictionless online retail experience. Importantly, all these companies have one thing in common: early on, they clearly recognized AI as a key enabler and foundation of their future business success. They have been acting on this premise with leadership and consequence ever since. Won't you join them today?