Your data is only valuable to you. It’s worthless to anyone else. Oh, sure, we have heard tell of fly-by-night entities that have taken a dealer’s data and sold it to another dealer. My question is, was this entity in business for more than a couple of weeks and how much could you possibly get for selling names to another dealer?
So, how do you make your data even more valuable to you? You use it to Profile and you use it to quantify results.
What attributes set your customer file apart from the general population around your dealership? Reynolds and Reynolds can’t tell you, but they can sure make it hard for you to find out. They’ll hold your data hostage and tell you that they are protecting you. What they are doing is protecting you from using it in any scientific way that might actually help you find potential customers in your market area.
There are many reasons why a dealer needs to have their data available for practical and scientific purposes. The main point here is that your data isn’t valuable to anyone but you. Why, because the combination of customers that make up your data base is the only unique thing about it. Just about everyone in your customer data base is in some other automobile dealer’s data base. What makes it unique is the whole, the combination of consumers that create the possibilities for statistically significant profiling for future sales and service customers as well as being able to accurately measure your efforts.
Another important reason for you to have control of your data (not your DMS company) is to be able to fully quantify any marketing you do. You need to be able to match your marketing manifest with the sales and service contracts that ensue. Counting on anecdotal evidence such as ups is not the way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing. It needs to be quantified against the actual business that associates your marketing with the actual results, not the impression of results.