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Turning Data into Actionable Intelligence


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By Brent Towne, Sr. Director of Consumer Data Strategy 

Today’s consumers expect brands to understand them better than ever, offering personalized products and services. Meanwhile, brands are investing in customer data and experience management to maximize customer satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value.  

But modern data capabilities don’t always translate into relevancy and efficiency for the consumer. Or generate value for brands. In part two of our DRiVEQ series, we will explore the challenges in translating data into dynamic intelligence. And we’ll highlight some of the most effective ways to improve consumer experience and engagement, as well as build value for brands.  

Obstacle #1: Signal Quality 

According to Cox Automotive’s SVP of Data Solutions, Ben Flusberg, not all data is created equal. Actionable intelligence requires high-quality data with depth, timeliness, and breadth. Think of data as raw material; it’s derived from fact-based events that have occurred in the past.   

An example of this is the Consumer Data that Cox Automotive sees across the automotive ecosystem each year: 

  • 2.3 billion online visits streamed in near real-time 
  • 80 million leads  
  • 20 million transactions 

This high-quality signal data is the raw material needed to derive highly reliable intelligence for automotive consumer needs.  

Obstacle #2: From Data to Intelligence    

It’s not just high-quality signal data that matters, but the intelligence that can be derived from it. Intelligence encompasses multiple data points combined with value-added processes, resulting in information that is both descriptive and predictive of future outcomes. The more timely the signal, the more timely, relevant, and reliable the intelligence.  

An example of this is the Consumer Intelligence Engine, powered by Cox Automotive’s DRiVEQ.  

Leveraging high quality signals, combined with proprietary state-of-the-art machine learning technology and advanced statistics, every year Cox Automotive derives more than 2.9 trillion insights, pinpointing consumer needs and intent across 120 million households. These insights have up to 91% reliability — as validated by transaction records — in accurately predicted outcomes. 

Making the conversion from data to intelligence requires the right talent and ever-evolving technology. With more than 75 data scientists, 2600 engineers, and 130 technical architects across 400+ agile delivery teams, Cox Automotive can not only translate its unique access to high quality signal data into highly reliable intelligence, but action that intelligence across an ecosystem of software applications that transform the consumer experience.   

Obstacle #3:  Application Integration 

This is where rubber hits the road: where intelligence translates into relevancy and efficiency for the consumer, helping brands meet the consumer wherever they are with helpful and relevant experiences in the moment.  

Data and intelligence are only valuable when integrations exist with the applications used for decisioning and outcome generation. In the context of an automotive consumer’s journey, any gaps in integration result in disconnect and friction for the consumer. Here are two great examples: 

  • Have you ever performed extensive research online, perhaps going through the steps to determine your preferred makes & models, value your current vehicle, and explore your financing options … only to walk into a car dealership having to start from scratch? In this example, the Customer Relationship Management software lacks integration with your online to in-store path to purchase, thereby requiring you as the consumer to start from scratch.   

Or perhaps, after you have purchased: 

  • Have you ever been targeted for weeks, or even months, to buy a product even though you’ve already purchased that product or something similar? This represents a gap in the brand’s ability to tie what you purchased back to its marketing persona and platforms.  

In both examples, the ad-tech and marketing applications are lacking the breadth, depth, and timeliness of high-quality signal data to derive actionable intelligence used to inform next best action and messaging. The result is a poor experience for the consumer, and waste for the brand.   

When applications are fully integrated with actionable intelligence, the results speak for themselves: 

  • Consumers spend 2x more time shopping on personalized websites.1  
  • Dealer websites achieve a 216% increase in website form submission rates.1 
  • Consumers are 4X more likely to pencil and submit an online retailing deal.1  
  • Personalized direct marketing messaging shows an 84% higher open rate and a 4.6x increase in click through rate.2  
  • Targeted ads see 3.4x higher post-click engagement.3  
  • Enriched leads become an actual purchase 22% more often than ordinary leads.4  

These results are proof that timely, reliable, and actionable intelligence, integrated and deployed through applications, improves relevancy, drives higher engagement and, ultimately, creates more value for brands. 

DRiVEQ is empowering automotive stakeholders to move confidently and decisively ahead of the industry. It’s dynamic intelligence, embedded in the applications utilized across the automotive industry every day. 

Learn more about DRiVEQ and how Cox Automotive’s ecosystem of solutions utilize DRiVEQ to create efficiencies across the automotive vertical, transforming the consumer experience while providing our clients with competitive advantage and incremental value. And look out for the next article in this series about how we use unparalleled data combined with dynamic intelligence to drive innovation. 


  1. Based on a Dealer.com study of 524 franchise dealers who subscribed to Experience Optimization over a six-month period from Jan 2020-June 2020. We compared visits where shoppers were exposed to personalized content versus visits where they were not. 
  1. Based on analysis of messages delivered through the Automotive Marketing Platform, powered by VinSolutions, Oct 2021 – Oct 2022.  
  1. Cox Automotive Data, March 22-April 22, 2022, and Cross Brand and RMK data, March 1 – May 7, 2022, comparing post-click visit engagements for targeted ads through Cox Automotive and non-targeted cross-brand ads.  
  1. Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer Dealer Transactions vs. Market Transactions, June 1, 2021 – May 31, 2022. 

About Brent Towne:  

Working within Cox Automotive Data Solutions center of excellence as a Senior Director of Consumer Data Strategy, Brent’s key role is to drive the vision and roadmap for Cox Automotive’s DRiVEQ Consumer Intelligence strategy.  Working closely with all functional areas and brands across the enterprise with the objective of transforming the consumer’s path to purchase, Brent oversees consumer data collection, identity resolution, dynamic intelligence, and activation use cases including Website Personalization, Ad Targeting, Direct Marketing, Lead Enrichment, CRM Intelligence, and Analytics. Graduating from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, Brent holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He resides in the Burlington, VT area and enjoys being a new father, husband, avid triathlete, and personal running coach.  

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