Marketing Measurement in a Captive Finance Company

I had an interesting visit with an automotive captive finance company last week.  Like many enterprises, they are struggling to develop a marketing measurement strategy.  It’s a unique situation, because the finance company doesn’t sell cars… but they have a critical role to play.  Captive finance companies can help accelerate the repurchase frequency of existing owners, and are uniquely positioned to leverage analytics across a variety of sources; the brand, the finance company themselves, and other industry sources.

Here is a sanitized copy of my first thoughts.  I’m interested in your thoughts on the subject.

Good morning Joe,
I spent some time this week thinking through the challenges you are facing, and what I would suggest as a potential action plan.


There are a number of major challenges in the industry, that you are undoubtedly facing, not the least of which is Attribution.  Some of the traditional approaches, including “last touchpoint” need to be completely reimagined.  The reality is that humans make buying decisions for a wide variety of reasons, and it’s almost never based on the very last engagement.  All the more, how do we address attribution as a captive finance company?

Key questions to answer as a part of your measurement strategy:
  • How do I measure the actual outcomes I am looking to drive?  (And how should I refactor the way I think about outcomes?)
  • How do I connect my outcomes directly with those of my partners at the brand who are actually selling the vehicle?
  • How can my outcomes and analytics drive new purchases, or accelerate repeat buying behaviors?  (Can we drive early lease turn-in, and shorten the sales cycle from 3 years to 2?)
  • Can our 1st party data (information about our clients who have a line of credit with us) be combined with industry and brand data to better predict which potential customers are in-market now for a new purchase?
  • How can I maximize our marketing spend, in combination with that of our partners, to assure a buy-though rate that is better than the national average?
Audience First:

There is a very real opportunity to change the way we approach marketing spend, client engagement, and the overall customer experience, and it’s an emerging trend called Audience First.  The goal is to commoditize the various properties or channels such as Facebook, etc., and focus first on the actual audience you want to engage.  This empowers you to get the outcomes you want, without being held captive to the various properties who want to add audience segments on top of what you were seeking.  When they add audience, they increase their revenue opportunity, but an Audience First strategy allows us to maximize and focus our spend.

Data Management Platform (DMP) at the Brand:
If I’m not mistaken, your parent company recently purchased a new DMP.  This Data Management Platform will have what’s called a “household identifier”.  Your captive finance company could use this household identifier to do what we call Equity Mining.  Equity Mining allows us to identify how many trade lines a household might have, not only with you,, but also combined with credit score data, and potentially something like an in-market predictor score.

I hope these thoughts are helpful to you.

The Unexpected Benefits of Enterprise Analytics and Business Intelligence Investments


When you consider the business benefits of investing in analytic and business intelligence capabilities, traditionally we think about uncovering inefficiencies, exploring new business models, and predicting the future.  Certainly no-one would deny that those benefits might be substantial, but there are some latent benefits that come along with the effort.  In this brief series, we will explore these latent benefits, including:

  • an opportunity to improve your focus on business value
  • improved use of global common apps (and a rationalization / reduction of unique applications)
  • improved workforce utilization
  • increased utilization of your enterprise data warehouse (or justification for your first EDW)
  • reduced datacenter expense
  • reductions of shadow-IT expenses (or the transfer of that budget to IT)
  • improved information security

I will admit some aspect of a chicken & egg issue here.  Any analytic or business intelligence effort is only as good as the data available.  Are these benefits therefore simply prerequisites; the table stakes required for a good BI or analytic capability?  I don’t think so.  It’s important that we be intentional about capitalizing on these benefits.  Let’s explore in some detail:

Focus on Business Value

As an enterprise begins to invest time, technology and talent into BI and analytics, there should be a prioritization process that is focused on business value.  Depending on the size of your organization, it might be as simple as listing your biggest opportunities, rank-ordered by business value potential, and get to work.  In large enterprises, you will need to go a level deeper.  One method I’ve used charted multiple investment opportunities, showing the size of the opportunity, the complexity involved, and how long it might take us to get a product into the market.  It gave our executive leadership the chance to select a mix of investment opportunities that made good sense for the business.

Ultimately, no matter what method you use for prioritization, you will have no limit on the investment opportunities.  A new business intelligence or analytic capability is a good excuse to test your ability to prioritize your efforts based on business value.

In the next post, we will begin to explore how these efforts can have a tangible impact on your bottom line.  In the meantime, if there is anything I can do to help you on your journey, please make sure to connect with me.

Reimagining Automotive Loyalty for Conquest Sales

ReImagining Loyalty for Conquest Sales

I was honored to be invited to speak at a conference on the topic of leveraging predictive analytics to understand automotive buying behavior, and it’s potential impact on conquest sales.  It’s easy in a growing market for automakers to show year over year sales growth, but when things start to level off as they have recently, winning customers from your competitors becomes increasingly more important.

I hope the presentation is of value to you, and as always, if you would like to connect, please make sure to reach out.  I’m happy to help in any way I can.

Hi, I’m Mr. Right. Someone said you were looking for me?

UPDATE: I’m excited to say that I am no longer looking for career opportunities.  I lead a business intelligence team at Quicken Loans.  If you are in the market for a new house, or want to refinance, let me know.  I will connect you with a special team of bankers who will take great care of you.

In an effort to communicate that I was looking for new career opportunities, I considered some of history’s worst pick-up lines.  I think I found it.

My awesome wife of 22 years will confirm that I’m not looking for a personal relationship, but I am actively exploring my next career steps.

I’ve been blessed with a broad background:
    • Predictive Analytics and Big Data
    • Agile Application Development
    • Business Intelligence / Data Warehousing
    • Information Security
    • Cloud / Hosting / Co-location
    • Network / Connectivity
    • Product Development and R&D
    • P&L Responsibility
    • Marketing Engagement / Consumer Loyalty
    • Incentive Optimization
    • Transformation Consulting
    • Executive Management and Board Service
Given my background, I’m interested in:
  • leadership roles in any of the above
  • a CIO role at a small to medium sized organization in the Detroit Area
  • or anything that takes advantage of the current mega-trends toward mobility, autonomous and connected vehicles.

If you think we should talk, please connect with me at:

I’m looking forward to meeting you.