The Beginning of Dataforce
Twenty years ago we started to along the path of making market segmentation transparent for our customers. Up until then the automotive industry had been in the dark with manufacturers, leasing companies and automotive suppliers unaware of their own customers’ special needs. During this time we have achieved a great deal, helping to bring attention and focus onto the market segments and raising the awareness of Fleet segment clients as essential in today’s car manufacturers’ marketing mix.
Conferences, trade fairs, journals, and press events all show the significance for the automobile industry of this True Fleet customer segment. We’re happy that our more than 75 employees are diligently working to further promote this segments visibility. Every month we supply over 500 customers with the most up-to-date statistics and analyses so that they can constantly improve offers to their own clients. Not a day passes in which we don’t learn something new about this fascinating market in order to share it with our customers. Our journey continues. Come along with us!
Twenty years ago we founded Dataforce because we noticed the automotive industry in Germany had neglected a customer segment in which we saw great potential: the segment for company cars, enterprises that purchase many hundreds of thousands of vehicles each year in Germany alone.
In our view, the invisibility of this segment represented a significant market gap. A manageable number of buyers, namely companies, were making annual vehicle purchases in gigantic quantities without the automobile industry having yet taken any particular notice. Neither in their marketing strategies nor in sales planning channels did business clients play a major role.
In fact it some cases it was quite the contrary, with many auto manufacturers regarding business customers as a necessary evil [or a nuisance]. “I’m happy for every model that I don’t have to sell as a company car, because then I don’t have to increase the discount,” we heard repeatedly from manufacturers’ sales directors.
By chance we learned that this attitude was not necessarily shared in other countries. Especially in England, we encountered an entirely different approach. There, company fleets were considered a target group and were courted in a highly professional manner. Trade fairs, trade journals, specialised dealerships and leasing companies focused on this segment, resulting in considerable success.
Market Transparency as Opportunity
This made us curious. Our analysis of the automobile market showed that Germany, too, hosted a high number of companies with their own fleets, suggesting a huge potential for independent “Fleet Marketing.” Why had this opportunity gone unnoticed by market agents? Numerous discussions with decision-makers made it clear that there was hardly any available, solid and dependable information on the segment. Lacking was the market transparency, necessary for correct estimates of sales potential, and thereby allowing for a highly informed decision on the best course of action.
Clearly, we had opened up a unique opportunity to increase the transparency of a large and important client segment that had up to that point been in hibernation. A business idea was born that didn’t wait long for its implementation.
Already at that time, nearly every second car was registered to a company rather than an individual, so that whoever targeted customers in this business segment would easily gain a clear competitive advantage. Because our analysis also showed that the purchase behavior of business customers differed sharply from that of private buyers, the automobile industry’s interest in this market segment rose dramatically in tandem with demand for our data and services.
Corporate Clients as Central Segment
Today, a central element in the marketing and sales strategy of most automobile manufacturers targets corporate clients. Our data had provided the needed market transparency, ensuring on-going improvement of this business segment. At present we are the leading supplier of market data on corporate customers concerning car registration, fleet data, registration forecasting, market trends, purchase behavior, company mobility, and more.
With 94 employees from 22 countries in Germany alone plus a branch office in Italy, we continually support automobile manufacturers worldwide in planning and analysing the many different automotive markets including the ability to focus on the business client segment. Every month the millions of vehicles added to our databases enable our customers to plan and pilot their future marketing and sales strategies. Given the enormous challenges now facing the automobile industry, for instance from electric and self-driving cars, solid, up-to-date data and reliable information is essential to the future success of the industry. Providing transparency is our most important task.