Data strategies are top of mind in the automotive industry, where connected vehicles are becoming data-gathering hotspots. As original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) take a data-driven approach, having a data procurement strategy is essential to keep value for the customer at the center of any initiative.
Unlocking data monetization in the age of connected vehicles
Data monetization has been a catchphrase in recent years. Data-driven companies are ambitious to leverage new, rich data sets beyond their own business operations or product optimization. Thus, the field of data monetization has become a serious value driver. For instance, in other industries, retailers are monetizing data to establish direct, consent-based relationships with customers. But it’s a risk—returns are limited and not aligned with expectations. In fact, data monetization in the auto industry has developed differently than originally imagined.
Automakers were among the first to monetize their vehicle data as soon as connected cars hit the road, and they captured the ever-expanding data sets of their vehicle fleets. The OEMs' ambitions were not only to use the data sets for safety monitoring, maintenance or product development but also to sell them to interested outsiders.
Bubbling new revenue streams were promised. Expectations from the auto industry reached an all-time high. But then, reality struck. Returns were nowhere near what was expected. Often, third-party demand did not generate the millions in additional revenue that had been hoped for. As a result, initial optimism in the auto industry faded.
After this disappointing experience, many OEMs are back at the drawing board and rethinking their external data monetization strategies. Some manufacturers are even going as far as to stop exchanging data with other parties altogether.
Instead, they want to tap into the value of the data itself. To do this, they are turning the focus inward to explore the full potential of connected vehicle data to create new business models that can serve customers better. To achieve this, OEMs are considering the following:
What data can be captured through vehicles
What customers want and expect
What OEMs can offer
These considerations can help automakers differentiate themselves and enable them to unlock the value they have promised from their vehicle data.
There are two key areas of data collection for OEMs: inside the vehicle and outside the vehicle. Things like location and how drivers behave in the vehicle can be tracked inside the vehicle; meanwhile, apps can track behavior outside of the vehicle. So far, the level of services offered by OEMs is mostly based on data collected inside the vehicle rather than through apps. This is one area where customers seek value, and it’s a huge opportunity for automakers to impress them. But to maximize potential benefits, OEMs should explore what their customers want.
Understanding what car buyers want will improve customer relationships—and drive better business decisions. There are many ways a vehicle shopper can engage with an auto brand. Throughout each interaction, OEMs have the chance to take the time to build trust with customers and demonstrate that they are ethical and positive stewards of customers' data.
Customers want to know how their data is being used, and providing complete transparency is a win for brands. This includes transparency on what data they are collecting, how it is being used, and who it is being shared with. Though this is required by data privacy laws, proactively establishing this transparency is critical to building trust.
Customers want to be in control of their data—what data is being collected, when it is being collected, and who it is being shared with—in a seamless experience. This further builds customer trust, as they find comfort in their control over their data if they feel it is being misused.
The auto industry is already focused on providing real value to customers through experience, safety measures, convenience and cost reduction. To drive the adoption of paid connected vehicle services, or any service offering monetizing data, the customer wants to be explicitly aware of the value being offered to them. It needs to outweigh the cost and risk of sharing their data disproportionately.
There are three categories of services where OEMs can shine, in particular with data sharing, to benefit their customers:
- • Usage-based insurance
- • Fleet management
- • Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
According to a report by the RAC Foundation, the average car is driven as little as 4% of the time. This is where usage-based insurance—also known as pay-per-mile, pay-as-you-drive, or pay-as-you-go—can make a huge difference to the lives of vehicle owners. This type of insurance is based on driver behavior and depends on data that indicates how far a vehicle is driven, where it's driven, and how it's driven.
Ownership rates are declining as more people and businesses prefer to rent vehicles. Fleet management, or the organization and coordination of vehicles, enables more usage from vehicles compared with the 4% usage rate under usual ownership.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) allows people to get from A to B via a myriad of transportation options. Expanding travel choices is a golden opportunity for OEMs. Whether they partner with train, scooter, plane or ride-sourcing companies, creating a connected ecosystem of partnerships can offer people ease of transportation by paying a premium for easy access and being insured on that.
Customers need to feel in control of their data and, increasingly, their mobility options. OEMs can maximize the value of vehicle data from customers to provide frictionless and enjoyable travel experiences—whether that is a daily commute or a long-distance trip. At the same time, ethical and transparent usage of people’s data is a priority when building relationships and an ecosystem of trust between OEMs and their customers.
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