Today's consumers have been sliced and diced more than a Thanksgiving Day turkey. They've been segmented, targeted, identified, cooked, and tracked. They have become prey, stalked mercilessly by retailers and big business intent on learning everything they can about their customers so they can sell them more soap, toothpaste, and orange juice. The smartest businesses know when to send a coupon, when to reach out with an email, and what triggers are likely to cause that particular consumer to jump at an offer.
Are auto lenders doing all they can to achieve the same result?
Algorithms, buying patterns, payment histories, credit reports, and recorded call transcripts all offer insights into consumers' buying patterns and behaviors. Lenders should be mining that data to develop specific offers meant to woo new business. If I have a 720 credit score and no outstanding debt, it's likely that I'm not interested in paying interest. So send me an offer for a 0% loan, provided I fully qualify when I apply. If you have a 650 credit score and bank with a different institution, you should get an offer for a mid-interest loan with the option for a lower rate if you open up an account and sign up for auto-pay. If your neighbor has a 680 credit score and has checked out a specific make and model vehicle on your website three times in the past three months, hit her with a rebate offer if she buys in the next 30 days.
Today's markets are getting smaller, not bigger. Companies that make broad offerings -- like network television -- are losing ground to those who are offering the right deal at the right time.
It's important that lenders stay on the right side of fair lending laws when making specific offers to specific individuals.
I've written about the importance for lenders to reach out with the right offer at the right time. But this idea takes it one step further to illustrate that lenders need to better tailor their offers to be more specific to the people who are on the receiving end.
There's a world of data to be mined. Mind you, it's easy to overthink an experiment like this and get too specific. Lenders need to look at all the data that is available to them, analyze it, and make informed offers that people are going to understand, be interested in, and accept. But simply splashing a generic offer on a billboard or TV screen isn't going to cut it for much longer.