Buycentives’ Targeted Marketing Software Is Out to Break the One-Size-Fits All Tradition for Automobile Incentives

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the deal only to those prospective buyers, Murphy explains. The software could track these types of consumers based on information about their previous purchases, and or by tracking their interest in purchasing a competing brand, which may be offering a lower rebate. It could also offer these attractive deals to consumers in certain geographies where automakers are trying to unload inventory.

Buycentives’ software can also help tailor automobile deals to develop stronger relationships with customers, Murphy says.

“With deal advertising, the only message that you’re communicating is that we’re cheaper than everyone else,” he says. “If that’s the reason that [the customers] are buying it, typically they’re less connected to the product and the brand, and less likely to repurchase it.” Instead of cheapening the brand by advertising to the broader public, automakers could personally connect with individual car shoppers early on in their searches through targeted e-mails, Murphy says. This could develop a positive, closer relationship with the customer, rather than simply communicating a car costs less. Luxury car brands could also offer different incentives—like a trip to a performance driving course—to prospective customers, who may not be as likely to be persuaded with cash rebates, Murphy says.

Buycentives will charge automobile companies on a pay-for-performance model, likely at a flat rate for each sale generated by its tool, Murphy says. The startup, founded in 2009 and incubated at the Ann Arbor Spark program, is talking with potential customers in the auto space and is looking to begin a pilot program in the coming months. The company received a loan earlier this year through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program at Spark, and is starting to talk to seed and angel investors, Murphy says. Buycentives didn’t disclose the exact size of its loan, but in February Spark announced it had given a loan worth a total of $95,000 to Buycentives and two other area startups. Individual loans through the program range $10,000 to $50,000.

Automobiles will be the big focus for Buycentives initially, but there are broader applications for its technology, for things like large electronics purchases, Murphy says. “It’s for anything where a consumer is doing some shopping and spending a significant amount of money—for a brand to communicate a specific discount to a specific customer while shopping.”

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