New Perspectives on Business Tools

SEMA News—December 2018

New Perspectives on Business Tools

Chris Kersting

Chris Kersting

It’s no secret that data—in simplest terms, information—has become an important driver of business success. Through use of data, businesses can develop more informed strategies, and optimize outcomes. Which is another way of saying that the more you know, the better your chances to work smarter and boost revenue. Data, and the interpretation of data, directly translates to a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Data creates opportunity. Unfortunately, not every small business can focus on data development while in the heat of battle.

As a trade association, one of SEMA’s key roles is to identify, develop and supply tools and services to help our member businesses succeed. Two of the key tools SEMA offers—the industry-owned SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) and SEMA Market Research—are about using the collective resources of the members so that all can benefit from data-related resources that few could afford on their own.

In the case of the SDC, we’ve made recent staff additions and systems improvements that compliment a new emphasis on actively assisting member companies in organizing and distributing their product data. The SDC now has an affordable do-it-for-me program especially helpful to smaller suppliers. This initiative has helped more than 60% of the brands using the SDC to achieve platinum status, indicating the highest-quality data available. By working closely with our customers, we expect to assist more of our members in making available complete, high quality product information.

The SDC is also offering regular, live product information management systems (PIMS) training sessions to resellers, so they can take full advantage of free access to data offered by the supplier partners. As this process gains traction, more top retailers have been able to tap into data that includes unique, smaller suppliers that previously might have been invisible. Ultimately, using SDC tools, suppliers and resellers are increasingly benefiting from quality product information that’s powering business growth.

On another data-driven front, SEMA has been investing more resources into market research. The SEMA Market Research staff are now publishing studies providing deeper looks into niche markets. One of our most recent studies, the “Young Accessorizers Study,” offers an example of the new approach. The report zeros in on the aspirations and sources of information of young drivers, and delves further into the identity of the young enthusiast beyond their car, quantifying their interests in music, food, fashion and fitness. These revealing aspects of their social life provide clues as to how best to locate, engage and communicate with this market segment. It’s a report that will help manufacturers develop products that appeal to 16- to 28- year-olds, and help retailers build interest by leveraging the lifestyle and social-media connections that inspire young people.

The Market Research team also uses the same approach to target specific market segments. Recently completed reports examine the market forces influencing the Jeep Wrangler and modern musclecars, including the preferences and habits of both enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts, men and women, young and old.

As the world speeds up, the quest for more data, and faster data, continues. If you haven’t started taking advantage of SEMA data-based tools, it’s not too late to start.

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