Through technology, dealerships and lenders have unprecedented knowledge of their customer needs before they ever enter the showroom. For example, many popular auto-review websites require consumers to fill in personal information in exchange for free tools such as vehicle reviews, trade-in values and loan calculators.

Dealers and lenders who access this information have a huge advantage, as they already know the buyer’s purchase timeline, the make and value of their trade-in vehicle, the specific models they are interested in buying and the channel by which they prefer to be contacted (email, phone, or text message).

Another example is customized online advertising. Using techniques such as remarketing, marketers now can tailor advertising to particular customers based on the vehicles in which they already have signaled an interest. For example, if a consumer ran several Google searches on various types of sport wagons, you can make sure ads for your own sport wagon begin showing up in sidebars and Facebook feeds.

It’s also possible to start advertising to online customers who have not yet signaled an interest, based on models created by defining ideal customers for lenders, OEMs or dealers.

If, after running relevant advertising, you decide to follow up with a direct mailing, the consumer already is familiar with your product. Suddenly, the ad experience has become more personalized, powerful and tangible.

By listening to your consumers and noting their preferences, it is easier to market to them. Not only do you know vehicles of interest, but you also know which channels they frequent and how they prefer to be contacted. This allows for powerful, synchronized messaging across all channels.

Finding the Right Blend

In today’s changed marketing landscape, integrating your messaging across a variety of channels – email, websites, social networks, direct mail, phone and dealership contact – will provide the greatest experience for consumers, and the greatest success for you.

This is the essence of customer-centric marketing: Speaking to consumers about what interests them, using customized messaging based on individual needs, and all via their preferred channels.

Remember that marketing is like coffee – your consumers will have a variety of tastes and preferences, and you can’t just brew a single pot of Breakfast Blend and let it sit.

By constantly monitoring the results of your current marketing approaches, you can produce fine-tuned campaigns that are highly targeted to the tastes of your consumers and, like that double latte with soy, much more satisfying as a result.

Kamal Tahir is vice president-Client Strategy at Datamyx, a provider of data-driven marketing in the financial services, automotive and insurance industries