Unpopular Opinion: Data-driven Marketing Actually HELPS Consumers

Right now, many consumers are concerned that digital marketers are exploiting their online data. We understand how it can seem a little creepy if you don’t understand how it works. But when practiced as intended, targeted online advertising offers real benefits to the customer, not just the advertiser.

To see how, step into the shoes of a hypothetical dealership customer. You receive an email offer from your local dealership – an attractive lease deal, perhaps, or a trade-in promotion.

You could use an upgrade if the price (or monthly payment) is right, so you click the link to see more. When you get to the website, you don’t have to search for what you need, because you are automatically shown the same offer from your email.

You like to keep your options open, though, so you take time to browse. Meanwhile, on the other end of this exchange, a dealership salesperson receives alerts about your activities on the site and what you’ve shown interest in.

Then you find THE ONE – the car that will meet needs you didn’t even know you had until now. You want to get the process started, so you click the button to ask for more information and – what’s this wizardry? Your contact information, pulled from the email you clicked to get here, is already filled in.

Your request goes to a salesperson. To get the full picture, he’ll log into his CRM to see the email you were sent and the actions you took, including the specific vehicles and specials you browsed.

Naturally, the next thing the salesperson will do is what he’s been trained to do: give you a call.

Also naturally, you’ll do what everyone does: not answer the unfamiliar number, probably waiting for a voicemail before calling back.

Once you do connect, however, that salesperson is already armed with valuable insights: who you are, the content of the email you received, and what vehicles and offers you are likely to be receptive to.

The upside for shoppers is advertising focused on the products and services that truly fit your needs and interests. You don’t want to see irrelevant advertising, and marketers don’t want to pay to show it to you.

Good marketing is science: the science of data collection, interpretation, and implementation. When it’s done properly, it's the best way for businesses to know who their most profitable customers are, what they want, and what will get them to a purchasing decision.