String's Automotive Marketing Blog

What is Dealership Intelligence?

Posted by Ken Kolodziej

Aug 14, 2014 9:54:13 PM

Every day at dealerships across the country there are owners, general managers, eCommerce directors, and internet managers who are making decisions about the direction of their advertising and marketing. It isn’t like it was two decades ago when there were limited venues through which a dealership could get their message out to potential customers. Today, there are so many options that even dealerships with huge advertising budgets can only scratch the surface of the possibilities.

This has created opportunities, but it also poses challenges.  It isn’t just the plethora of vendor options in each segment of traditional and digital marketing. There is so much data about customers and the places that they’re going when considering a new vehicle, or even when deciding to service their vehicle, that it’s impractical for dealerships to make decisions based upon intuition alone.


This is where dealership intelligence comes into play. The concept and practice of business intelligence is nothing new. It might surprise some people to learn that it has been actively harnessed since the 1950s, that the term was first coined in in the 19th century, and that it has been in use to some extent since the rise of commerce within civilizations.

When we talk about “business intelligence,” we mean “the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes.” The automotive industry is the ideal playground to apply the philosophy of using business intelligence to purposefully direct advertising and marketing dollars. It’s also an industry that has unique nuances that require a deeper understanding than just about any retail industry on the planet.  These idiosyncrasies mean that shoehorning “one size fits all” analytics products into working with a dealership’s data will either fail or necessitate expensive customization.  A specialized industry necessarily requires specialized products and services.

With dealership intelligence, all of the available data is collected, sorted, cross-referenced, and converted into actionable information that offers clear direction. Dealers have a ton of data at their fingertips from website analytics, recent purchase and market share data, click-thru reports, demographics, and likely purchase intent. Individually, each of these reports can supply a wealth of information to guide a dealership’s advertising path. When viewed as a whole and integrated in a way that makes sense, we have an opportunity to dramatically improve the insights that these data points can provide.

In essence, the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts when it comes to data. It’s like taking several flashlights that one can use to guide them on along the path and combining them to create a flood lamp so that a dealership can see further ahead as well as get a wider peripheral view.

Here are a handful of questions that dealers ask every day that can most easily and accurately be answered when dealership intelligence is applied:

  •        Where do my ideal customers live?
  •        What models should I be promoting?
  •        What margins are realistic to expect from each model?
  •        Which advertising dollars are being spent wisely?
  •        How can we improve the effectiveness of a vendor’s product or service?
  •        Which zip codes have the greatest opportunity and what advertising should I apply there?
  •        Where are the easiest conquest opportunities?
  •        Are competitors creeping into my backyard and taking market share?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. With dealership intelligence, a dealership can continuously improve on its campaigns, make data-driven decisions about its vendors, consolidate its reports, and integrate diverse data points to form – and execute on – truly useful action plans.

String Automotive is proud to bring dealership intelligence to our industry through the Dealer Positioning System. The software that drives DPS combined with the proactive, hands-on analysis that we provide our clients every month helps dealers make empowered decisions about every advertising dollar they spend.

The data is available. Combining and analyzing it all in a meaningful way is how dealers can go from guessing to knowing about their advertising and marketing, and that is a powerful and profitable place to be. 


Topics: auto dealer analytics, dealership intelligence, business intelligence