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Just in time

Just-in-Time communication in automotive

By Noa Segol

Companies of all sizes and verticals are struggling with gaining customer attention.  In the United States, each day, the average office worker receives 121 emails. It is no surprise then, that most emails are not even opened. For retail emails, the average email open rate is 20.96% only.  It’s important to maintain a healthy database, so your email open rate will be on the higher end of this scale. When unsubscribing, the main reason users mention is: “I get too many emails in general.”  


From a marketing professionals’ point of view, less than 20% of individuals that marketers reach, are the target customer. This data is across all industries. Assuming that the automotive industry is no different, this means that on average, each franchised dealership in the USA is spending roughly $450,000 ($450,060 if you’d like to be precise) a year on advertisements that aren’t reaching the right audience. (According to an Accenture survey of  Chief Marketing Officers).


From a consumer point of view, irrelevant communication has driven approximately 15% of both US and UK consumers to stop buying products from a company entirely as irrelevant communication has reached the level of offensive. (According to the Gigya state of consumer privacy personalization report).

It may not come as surprising news, but the question of how to ensure you are avoiding sending irrelevant communications to your customers remains.


Just in time


Just-in-time marketing and customer communication

The just-in-time concept, also known as the ‘Toyota Production System’  was created to improve production processes, reducing the time from supplier to customer. Back then, unsold inventory lying in the factory was the main challenge. Using JIT concepts, the only materials housed in the factory were those that were needed for the work currently being done. As a result, companies were able to use lower levels of inventory, acquiring lower costs of turnaround and improved balance sheets. 


For marketing professionals, the current challenge is marketing messages and collaterals that are unused or shared with the wrong audience. ‘Just-in-time marketing’ and customer engagement are taking JIT concepts into marketing and the customer engagement world. Instead of throwing away money, trying to speak to everyone all the time, work towards a more efficient and effective marketing strategy.

Rather than overproducing broad awareness-building content that underperforms, companies should use just-in-time concepts to produce only the required outputs, at the exact moment of customer need, with the right message or offer that will generate a sale.

How can your dealership achieve just-in-time communication?  

Going back to the above mentioned Accenture survey, Just-in-time marketers also differ from their peers in how they manage another aspect of the marketing operations model which is their technology investments. Better performing organizations typically have great connections between their marketing and technology departments that enable the deployment of enhanced technologies.


The use of technology is empowering dealerships to better utilize the enormous amount of available data. For examples, consumers now expect to get personalized and tailored messages, instead of mass communication which may or may not be relevant to them. 

The same goes for service related engagements there is a need is to connect with customers based on real-time information catered towards them. Instead of sending to of all your customers a message that invites them for maintenance, send this message only to customers with upcoming maintenance due this month.  Whenever a customer’s car has a problem or a fault, interact with them to offer a solution to THEIR problem. Not surprisingly, in this case, these are messages that customers are happy to receive. 


Technology is the answer here as well. Turning every car into a connected car will enable cars to share information with their service providers even when the car is not located at the service lot. This is a key enabler to just-in-time service engagement and a game-changer for service-related communication.   Using Engie Connect, the dealership service departments can engage with customers right when a fault occurs and they need repair, or when their upcoming maintenance service is due. Leveraging the growing trend of mobile devices, engagement with customers can be done via an in-app message or email, in addition to the more traditional call option. 


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