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Drive Your Ambition: Drive Customer Experience to Improve Business Outcomes

A staged approach to audience expansion, targeting, and activation put an auto motors manufacturer on the fast track to lower cost per acquisition and increased conversions.


Large auto motors manufacturer continues to enjoy year on year growth through the development of highly efficient, affordably priced new gasoline and electric powered automobiles.

With the advancement of audience technology platforms, brands are increasingly looking to run a business-driven audience strategy, have the technical knowledge of the platforms combined with a data-driven mindset to activate the data itself.

The challenge the auto motors manufacturer faced was to connect customer experiences with business outcomes in an increasingly complex technology and data driven landscape. We found that audience strategy is the golden thread that binds everything together.

As such, the manufacturer and Merkle identified audience strategies based on the manufacturer's 3-step customer experience in order to connect customer experiences with business goals: near market, in-market, and owner relationships. This approach requires a deep level of experience and understanding of the consumer journey, digital data, marketing and audience technologies, advertising, and advanced analytics.  


Auto motors manufacturer and Merkle used audience strategies to connect customer needs and business needs.


Stage I: Near Market: Prospecting Audience Expansion

We selected a seed audience for effective prospecting expansion and built the prospecting lookalike models based on this selected audience. We then overlapped the lookalikes with 3rd party data of cookies who are in-market for a new car. These lookalike cookies allowed us to identify potential clients  that mirror similar behavior as our existing customers, and 3rd praty data helps find those who are in the market for a car. Lastly, we deduped people who are already in other retargeting segments, e.g. recent buyers or visited our sites, to ensure our segments did not bid with each other. This resulted in an expansion of our universe by 10x than when we first began the process.


Stage II: In-market: Accurate Audience Targeting

We turned a generic acquisition targeting strategy into an accurate and holistic segmentation by leveraging the SF Audience Studio (DMP) across 3 use cases: suppression, frequency capping, and analytics. The DMP allowed us to drive success with known users, save media budget, and generate insight. Through suppression, the DMP stopped the bleeding of wasted media spending immediately. It also gave us the ability to do frequency capping on a global level across multiple segments/products and prevent overexposure from occurring. SF Audience Studio coupled with our site analytics provided great insight into our best clients.


Stage III: Owner Relationship: Cross-channel Identification and Activation

The objective was to retain owner relationships through personalized service and support by using 3rd party owner data to strengthen owner identification and relationship. By combining 3rd party data with 1st party manufacturer  owner data we were then able to target them with relevant messages via cross-channels, digital channels, display, search, social, website etc.   



Of Q1 media campaign impressions (13M) are over-targeted
Decrease of over-targeted impressions on DBM from April to May
campaign CPA Decrease in overall campaign CPA from April to May

Lower CPA for popular model DMP retargeting segments.

Higher conversion rate comparing with site retargeting segments for Crossover vehicle

Keys to success

  • Always start and stick to a clear business objective. When it comes to technology implementation, it’s easy to put a lot of focus on the data and technical setup, but we found a strong and over-arching organizational support is needed in any data or technology project.
  • A clear outline of roles and responisbilites, auto manufacturer as the owner, Merkle as the operator and Salesforce the provider kept everything running smoothly. It could be different engagement to engagement (this varies from engagement to engagement).
  • We needed a well-outlined roadmap with audience targeting at the heart of the plan whilst leveraging a use case driven approach. Let the use case drive the technical and data work that has to be done.

Discover how we did it. Contact us today.

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