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INSIDE TRACK

Written by Beth Walter, Sr. Product Manager – Digital Marketing

May 26, 2021

We have all heard that third-party cookies are going away. Apple’s new operating system is asking users who log on if they want to be tracked, while Google has committed to phasing out third-party cookies on Chrome by the end of 2022.

What very few people are talking about is the new “cool kid” on the block: zero-party data.

Zero-party data is data that a customer intentionally, proactively, and knowingly shares in exchange for something of value. Typically, that something of value is a piece of content such as a how-to guide; but, it can also be a better user experience. For example, if the user shares the make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of a car they own, they can make a service appointment without having to constantly retype information.

Funny thing is, for many in the digital marketing community zero-party data is not a new concept. Zero-party data has been around since the beginning of the internet. A brilliant marketer and entrepreneur named Seth Godin created a company called Yoyodyne that perfected the art of effortlessly collecting zero-party data in a very entertaining and mutually-beneficial manner. This style of marketing was dubbed “permission marketing” and was so successful Yahoo eventually bought Yoyodyne.

Today’s zero-party data is not much different. And, when you think about it, this concept fits squarely into today’s society. Modern consumers are extremely impatient: they want what they want, exactly when and how they want it. Zero-party data allows for just that – when it’s executed correctly.

For example: Tom and Jeff order a pizza online to share. Tom wants ham and pineapple on his half, and Jeff wants pepperoni and olives. When they go to check out, Bob’s Pizza asks them to create an account with an email address, phone number, and address so they can save the order for next time, when they can just click the reorder button. Tom and Jeff win because they do not have to refill any of the information fields, and Bob’s Pizza wins because they have your information for marketing to you in the future.

So, what potential applications of zero-party data could help us improve automotive marketing? To find out, we need to figure out what assets or experiences we can offer for which current or potential customers may be willing to trade their data. Think in terms of customization – what would make their lives easier, better, faster, less repetitive, or more productive? For example, a customer may trade their information for things like:

  • Vehicle ownership updates, including warranty information
  • A more customized experience when they come in for service, such as being offered their favorite snack or a coffee prepared their favorite way
  • Loyalty program participation
  • Charitable donations
  • Scheduling alternate transportation in advance

You can also start with something as small as asking for and honoring a customer’s preferred method of communication.

Start big or start small – but start right now. Zero-party data is the next must-have automotive marketing tool if you want to be successful.

Written by Beth Walter, Sr. Product Manager – Digital Marketing


AutoPoint dealership and service center software transforms the vehicle ownership experience, bringing together every service necessary for providing unmatched automotive customer service. Our industry-leading tools empower dealerships and OEMs with a robust technology platform that demystifies sales and customer retention.

Our powerful software suite contains every tool dealerships and OEMs need to promote sales, launch effective digital and email marketing campaigns, provide maintenance support, supply proper documentation, and increase customer retention. Our comprehensive software solution supports you every step of the way so that you can ensure top-notch customer satisfaction.