Marketers are missing valuable driving behavior data

How can marketers adjust to such a monumental change in customer behavior over the last few years, and what lessons can they take away from it?

The ways consumers live their lives have changed dramatically in recent years. They move, shop, work, eat and sleep differently — leaving marketers to figure out how best to reach them in their altered, yet still busy, daily lives.

But overwhelmed marketers might find solace in solutions coming from a somewhat unlikely place — how drivers behave behind the wheel. They’re back on the road at pre-pandemic levels and with every mile driven, tech companies are getting a better idea of how drivers’ behavior is different. They’re driving faster and at different hours, and even choosing to get in the car over public transportation more than they did before the pandemic. Understanding this change in movement and rethinking age old KPIs and driving data can teach us a lot about evolving customer value.

Bringing innovation and new measures of value to marketing

During the pandemic, brands experienced a fundamental shift in the way their customers went from point A to point B — whether they realized it or not. Sixty-percent of Americans said they drove less during the pandemic, and there’s evidence of riskier driving habits and an increase in serious crashes. While most marketers don’t need to account for risk in their own customers’ behavior, they do need more accurate intelligence. The commutes, routines, last-minute errands, road trips and social gatherings that require driving look radically different than they did two years ago. Marketing teams can no longer bank on customer ‘normal’ behavior to drive sales or engagement.

So, how can marketers adjust to such a monumental change in customer behavior, and what lessons can marketers take away from it? As more robust driving datasets give us a deeper understanding of customer behavior, there are a variety of new ways marketers can put what this information reveals into practice.

  1. Re-evaluating long-held KPIs:  In auto insurance, understanding risk is part of the job. Riskier drivers shop for auto-insurance more frequently, making them prime targets for quick wins on click-through rates and low customer acquisition cost. The problem? Risky drivers may be easy to court, but they are expensive to insure. To solve this, forward-thinking auto insurance marketers are incorporating lifetime value (LTV) into customer acquisition cost (CAC) calculations through the use of driving behavior data. Marketers are identifying customers with nearly five times the LTV thanks to robust datasets that assess driver movement and risk.

Similarly, car dealerships and auto repair shops are starting to use driving behavior data to identify and target riskier drivers that may need their services on a more regular basis due to their driving habits. But to do so, they’ve had to embrace new technology and be willing to incorporate new ways of evaluating customer risk beyond traditional means. The lesson for marketers in other industries? If you’ve experienced a fundamental shift in the way your customers behave, seek out bigger and better data that can help you understand the change. The results are proven: According to research published in 2020 by William Blair, companies that focus on higher customer LTVs are measurably more technologically mature and attractive to investors.

  1. Making more informed and equitable decisions: Auto industry marketers are using driving data at scale to better classify the risk of a potential new customer — and they’re using information that’s fairer and more equitable to drivers than a credit score or income. With the benefit of better data, insurers are getting a more individualized, up-to-the-minute understanding of a driver when they are preparing a policy.
  2. Gaining a deeper understanding of the customer through data: The billions of miles and millions of active devices that help auto insurance marketers understand their customers better can also help all marketers reach their most valuable customers. Imagine having a digital roadmap that identifies the wealthy drivers who pass certain restaurants, shops and points of interest (POI) each day on their way to work. That kind of reliable, real-world intelligence could power new marketing campaigns with ROI that’s much easier to track.

Marketers in the auto industry are pivoting quickly after the pandemic thanks to an innovative approach to data. This has helped them contextualize the changing movements of their customers and use that information to gain a deeper understanding of customer needs. By incorporating longer-term factors into KPIs and consistently seeking better data to make more informed decisions, all marketers can benefit from a new understanding of their customers.

Headshot of Fred Dimesa
Fred Dimesa
Fred Dimesa is the Head of Marketing and Aggregated Data Products for Arity. Fred has more than 20 years of experience in developing strategies and launching new businesses in the technology space. Prior to joining Arity, Fred led efforts to relaunch Liberty Media’s business and held senior roles at IAC’s CityGrid business unit. Fred began his career as a strategy consultant with Monitor Group where he was responsible for providing strategic advice to Fortune 100 companies. Fred holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Southern California.