And, of course, there are the software applications and hardware that make this depth of personalization economically and logistically feasible. Tom Dickman, vice president of product development for DME’s Automotive Group, says the agency uses Adobe Creative Suite 2 to develop creative. The XMPie software suite then brings AutoNation’s customer information and creative together. It generates the logic needed to print four-color variable data direct mail, and creates digital versions for use in e-mail. Variable content direct mail pieces are printed on Xerox iGen3 printers.
Gearing Up for New Challenges
The success of AutoNation’s new service marketing program has prompted Zientarski to consider other possible applications for the variable content approach. Working again with DME, AutoNation now is rolling out a campaign to promote sales of new and used vehicles. The campaign currently is being tested for select manufacturers, and Zientarski expects to implement it across all of AutoNation’s brands and dealerships by late summer.
Called the “Ownership Statement Campaign,” it will benefit from data sourced from third-party data provider Edmunds. Edmunds is a prominent provider of automotive information, such as estimated values of new and used vehicles and model specifications. AutoNation is extracting information about the vehicles its customers own from Edmunds’ Web site and appending that information to customer records.
At the heart of this campaign are quarterly ownership statements sent to AutoNation customers who are projected to be in the market for new vehicles. These ownership statements are four-color variable print mailers. They show the newest model of the vehicle already owned by the customer and include comparisons between the customer’s current vehicle and some new vehicle alternatives.
The comparisons are designed to establish an economic argument for new car ownership. The issues they cover are:
Depreciation—Variable content indicates the projected trade-in value of the customer’s current vehicle based on condition. As these statements are sent quarterly, the customer is able to track his or her current vehicle’s depreciation over time.