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How to Target Automotive Audiences and Drive Campaign Results

The automotive industry is competitive. Online advertising spend is expected to reach $23 million by 2025, expected to grow at CAGR of 16.2%. Combine these high stakes with the unique demands of each consumer, and you set a pretty high bar for growth. For automotive brands to succeed in this highly dynamic market, it’s crucial to identify and understand auto intenders at their core. By recognizing the specific needs, preferences, and aspirations of these consumer segments, automotive brands can tailor their marketing strategies, product offerings, and customer experiences to create more meaningful connections and drive growth.

In this post, we delve deep into the world of automotive audiences, exploring the various consumer segments and shedding light on their characteristics, motivations, and behaviors. Keep reading for key strategies for automotive brands looking to target auto intenders plus unique insights on how to reach them. 


4 Different Types of Automotive Audiences

The first step to successfully targeting auto intenders is to understand the different types of audience segments and the groups that lie within them. Automotive audiences can be broken down into four different types of segments. 

1. Demographic Segmentation

2. Psychographic Segmentation 

3. Geographical Segmentation 

4. Behavioral Segmentation 

Let’s dive deeper into each type of market segmentation and the audiences within them. 


1. Demographic Segmentation: Unveiling Auto Consumer Diversity 

Demographic segmentation refers to the practice of dividing a target market into distinct groups based on various demographic factors such as age, gender, income, occupation, education, and family status. This segmentation strategy allows advertisers to tailor their marketing messages and campaigns to effectively reach and engage specific demographic groups within the larger automobile consumer market.

Millennials: The Tech-Savvy Generation

With the rise of digital technology, millennials have become a significant target audience for automotive brands. Born between 1981 and 1996, this tech-savvy generation values connectivity, sustainability, and convenience. They seek vehicles equipped with advanced infotainment systems, integrated mobile connectivity, and eco-friendly features. Furthermore, millennials often prioritize ride-sharing services and value the option of flexible ownership models. Here are a few helpful insights on millennial car buyers: 

  • 88% use the internet to research their car purchase.
  • Millennials take longer than other generations to decide what car to buy, on average 16.9 weeks. 
  • 70% of younger millennials cite technology features as “must-haves” when purchasing a car. 

Generation Z: The Next Wave of Consumers

As the youngest consumer segment, Generation Z, born from the late 1990s to the early 2010s, represents the future of the automotive industry. This generation has grown up in a digital era, and is known for being constantly connected and mobile-centric. Interestingly enough though, despite their digital fluency, these auto intenders prefer to make their purchases at the dealership. In the car buying process, they also value comprehensiveness and transparency. 

Insights to be mindful of when targeting auto intenders from this generation: 

  • In a recent study, 81% of Gen Z consumers stated it was important to take their time to understand their options while buying a car. 
  • 87% of Gen Z buy their cars at a dealership, even if they may start their research online.
  • More than any other demographic, Gen Z wants to work with a knowledgeable sales representative.


2. Psychographic Segmentation: Understanding Consumer Mindsets

Psychographic segmentation involves dividing a target market into distinct groups based on psychological and lifestyle characteristics, attitudes, values, interests, and behaviors. This segmentation strategy focuses on understanding the motivations and aspirations of auto intenders to create advertising campaigns that align with their unique psychological profiles.

Luxury Seekers: Elegance and Prestige

For automotive brands operating in the luxury segment, targeting consumers who value elegance and prestige is paramount. Luxury seekers are willing to invest in high-end vehicles that reflect their status and taste. They appreciate exquisite craftsmanship, cutting-edge technology, and personalized experiences. By providing exceptional service and offering customization options, luxury brands can cater to this exclusive audience.

Adventure Enthusiasts: Thrills and Exploration

Adventure enthusiasts seek vehicles that enable them to embark on thrilling journeys and explore the world around them. Whether it’s rugged SUVs for off-road adventures or convertible sports cars for exhilarating road trips, this target audience craves excitement and versatility. Automotive brands can appeal to adventure enthusiasts by highlighting performance capabilities, robust designs, and innovative features that enhance the outdoor experience.

Eco-Conscious Consumers: Sustainability Matters

In an era of heightened environmental consciousness, automotive brands have an opportunity to target eco-conscious consumers. This audience segment prioritizes sustainability, fuel efficiency, and reduced carbon footprints. Hybrid and electric vehicles, powered by renewable energy sources, appeal to these consumers who seek to minimize their impact on the environment. By emphasizing environmental initiatives and investing in green technologies, automotive brands can capture this growing market.

Family-Oriented Individuals: Safety and Practicality

Families represent a significant target audience for automotive brands. Individuals with children prioritize safety, spaciousness, and practicality when choosing a vehicle. Family-oriented consumers seek features such as advanced safety technologies, ample cargo space, and rear-seat entertainment systems. By addressing the unique needs of families, automotive brands can build trust and loyalty among this demographic.

Performance Enthusiasts: Speed and Power

For automotive brands specializing in high-performance vehicles, targeting performance enthusiasts is vital. This audience segment seeks speed, power, and precision. They appreciate vehicles that deliver exhilarating driving experiences, refined engineering, and track-ready capabilities. By showcasing impressive performance metrics, advanced handling systems, and aerodynamic designs, brands can attract the attention of performance-driven consumers.


3. Geographical Segmentation: Addressing Local Preferences

Geographical segmentation involves dividing a target market into distinct groups based on their geographic location or specific geographical factors. This segmentation strategy recognizes that consumer preferences, needs, and behaviors can vary based on where they live or the characteristics of their geographic location. Auto brands can utilize geographical segmentation to tailor their marketing efforts to specific regions, cities, or even neighborhoods, considering factors such as climate, terrain, infrastructure, and local transportation needs. 

Urban Dwellers: Compact and Maneuverable

Urban dwellers require vehicles that are suited to the challenges and demands of city life. Compact cars, electric vehicles, and hybrids are popular choices among this target audience due to their maneuverability, fuel efficiency, and reduced emissions. Additionally, urban consumers often prioritize connectivity features, parking assistance, and compact designs that enable easy navigation through crowded streets.

Suburban Residents: Space and Versatility

Suburban residents tend to prioritize spaciousness and versatility in their vehicle choices. They require vehicles capable of accommodating larger families, transporting cargo, and handling diverse road conditions. SUVs, minivans, and crossover vehicles appeal to this target audience due to their ample seating capacity, expansive cargo areas, and robust performance capabilities.

Rural Communities: Ruggedness and Utility

In rural areas, consumers often prioritize ruggedness, utility, and off-road capabilities. Whether it’s for agricultural purposes, outdoor activities, or traversing rough terrains, individuals living in rural communities require vehicles that can withstand challenging conditions. Pickup trucks, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and four-wheel-drive SUVs are favored by this target audience due to their durability and versatility.

Global Markets: Catering to Diverse Cultures

Automotive brands with a global presence must adapt their strategies to cater to diverse cultures and preferences. Consumer behaviors and priorities vary significantly across different regions of the world. Whether it’s left-hand-drive vs. right-hand-drive markets, climatic considerations, or cultural preferences, understanding the nuances of each market is essential for automotive brands to effectively target their audiences.

4. Behavioral Segmentation: Uncovering Consumer Actions

Behavioral segmentation involves dividing a target market into distinct groups based on their purchasing behavior, brand loyalty, usage patterns, and other behavioral factors. This segmentation strategy focuses on understanding how auto intenders make buying decisions based on their behaviors and preferences.

Brand Loyalists: Cultivating Long-Term Relationships

Building strong brand loyalty is crucial for automotive brands to thrive in a competitive market. Some consumers exhibit a strong preference for particular brands due to their past positive experiences, emotional connections, or perceived value. By consistently delivering high-quality products, exceptional customer service, and engaging marketing campaigns, automotive brands can cultivate long-term relationships with loyal customers.

First-Time Buyers: Capturing New Opportunities

First-time car buyers represent a unique target automotive audience that requires special attention from auto brands. These consumers are entering the market for the first time and often seek affordable options, financing assistance, and reliable vehicles. By offering entry-level models, attractive financing deals, and comprehensive customer support, brands can capture this segment and build brand loyalty from the start.

Brand Switchers: Seizing Competitive Advantages

Brand switchers are consumers who are open to exploring different automotive brands and switching their allegiance. These individuals may be dissatisfied with their current vehicles or seeking new features, technologies, or pricing structures. By understanding the factors that drive brand switching, automotive brands can tailor their marketing efforts and highlight their competitive advantages to attract these consumers.


FAQs for Targeting the Right Automotive Audiences

Q: What role does market research play in identifying auto intenders and target auto audiences for automotive brands?

Market research plays a pivotal role in identifying and understanding target audiences for automotive brands. It involves gathering data and insights about consumer preferences, behaviors, and motivations. By conducting surveys, focus groups, and analyzing market trends, brands can gain valuable information to create accurate buyer personas, refine their marketing strategies, and align their product offerings with consumer needs.

Q: How can automotive brands effectively target multiple audience segments simultaneously?

Targeting multiple automotive audience segments simultaneously requires smart segmentation, so messages, channels, and experiences can be tailored to each specific segment. Data solutions like Lotame’s end-to-end data collaboration platform, Spherical, can help identify key demographic and behavioral attributes for data empowered marketing, allowing marketers to create targeted campaigns that resonate with niche audiences, across screens.

Q: What role do data and analytics play in reaching automotive target audiences?

By leveraging consumer data, brands can segment audiences, create personalized marketing campaigns, and predict consumer behavior. Analytics provide valuable insights to measure campaign performance, optimize strategies, and allocate resources effectively. This data-driven approach helps automotive brands engage with their target audiences more efficiently, deliver relevant content, and enhance overall marketing effectiveness, leading to improved customer engagement and business growth.

Q: Where can I access high-quality audience segments for my auto campaigns?

Lotame Data Exchange offers marketers a breadth and depth of safe, high-quality data sources for audience intelligence, scaled enrichment, and cookieless activation anywhere. Our prepackaged auto audiences are available in more than 50+ platforms today — DSPs, SSPs, social channels, analytics and measurement platforms. Additionally, you can work with Lotame data specialists to create custom blends of first-, second- or third-party data across web, mobile, and TV.

Lotame Data Exchange audiences are available for cookieless activation on all browsers, devices, and platforms via our cookieless identifier Lotame Panorama ID™.

Wrapping it Up

Identifying and understanding different audience types is key for automotive brands looking to target auto intenders. By tailoring messaging, features, and experiences to these target automotive audiences, auto brands can establish connections, drive engagement, and foster long-term loyalty. 

Lotame’s end-to-end data collaboration platform, Spherical, can help automotive brands onboard, unify, model, enrich, and activate both known and unknown first-party data in smarter, faster, and easier ways. By leveraging Lotame’s platform, automotive brands can combine data internally and partner externally for actionable customer intelligence, data informed audiences, and identity powered activation. Bring together first-party data and tap into built-in analytics powered by the largest global data marketplace to inform audience segmentation, growth, and planning.

Seeing is believing! Watch this short demo to see the Spherical platform in action.