Memorial Day weekend in the United States marks the unofficial kick-off to the summer car sales season with car dealerships nationwide utilizing the holiday weekend to attract customers with incentives, deals and promotions.

Much like in recent years though, affordability remains a key issue as the industry faces challenges in maintaining sales volumes due to high prices and interest rates. While there are some signs that affordability pressures may ease as summer begins, dealers need to maximize every opportunity this Memorial Day weekend to get a jump on the summer selling season.

In the fiercely competitive automotive landscape, understanding a consumer’s financial capacity to absorb affordability challenges is paramount for dealerships seeking to thrive. With the evolution of technology, data has become the cornerstone of marketing strategies, enabling businesses to pinpoint potential buyers effectively. However, the choice between using precise, measured data and traditional survey data can significantly impact the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Let’s delve into the importance of these approaches in identifying in-market consumers who can afford to buy cars.

The shift toward data-driven marketing

Gone are the days when marketing decisions were based solely on generalized demographics. Today, data-driven insights reign supreme, allowing auto dealerships and OEMs to target their efforts with surgical precision. Whether it’s understanding purchasing patterns, income levels, or creditworthiness — data serves as the compass that guides dealerships toward their target audience.

More data drives better decisions, and marketers have access to valuable insights including detailed financial characteristics, aggregated credit scores, and purchasing behaviors of potential customers. This wealth of information enables dealerships to identify individuals actively in the market for a vehicle and, more importantly, those who have the financial means to make a purchase.

Precision marketing: Measured versus survey data

Measured data provides dealerships with tangible insights. Instead of relying on assumptions or estimates, dealers can make informed decisions based on accurate information. This not only enhances the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, but also minimizes wastage of resources by targeting individuals most likely to buy.

While surveys have traditionally been used to gather consumer insights, they come with inherent limitations. Survey responses may be biased or inaccurate, leading to skewed results. In the fast-paced world of automotive retail, relying solely on survey data may result in missed opportunities and ineffective marketing strategies.

When comparing precise, measured data with survey data, the advantages are clear. Real-time, comprehensive insights can be utilized to more effectively reach consumers, enabling dealerships to tailor their marketing efforts accordingly. From identifying high-potential leads to customizing messaging based on financial profiles, dealerships can maximize their return on investment and stay ahead of the competition.

In an industry driven by competition and evolving consumer preferences, leveraging precise, measured data is no longer optional — it’s essential for success. A data-driven approach provides marketers with a strategic advantage, enabling them to identify in-market consumers who can afford to buy cars with unparalleled accuracy. By embracing measured data solutions, dealerships can unlock new opportunities, streamline marketing efforts, and ultimately drive growth.

Dealers, OEMs and agency partners can enhance their creative campaign investments by identifying the right customers who have spending power now, ensuring that the holiday weekend serves as a launchpad for a successful summer car sales season in an increasingly competitive market.

Angelica Jeffreys is vice president sales, enterprise alliance – automotive for Equifax.