“The market still needs a little more time to get ready for autonomous driving.”- Interview with Christian Bubenheim
Since January 2015 Christian Bubenheim has been Senior Vice President Marketing & Product of AutoScout24. Before that he was part of the management team of Amazon Deutschland GmbH and responsible for the business unit „Consumables“ including health & beauty as well as foods. From 2003 to 2008 he was General Manager for the worldwide end consumer business and the product marketing of Thales Magellan, a worldwide leading manufacturer of GPS devices.
Tell us about AutoScout24 and their mission.
AutoScout24 is all about empowerment. We put people center stage. Our mission is to empower and support users in successfully buying and selling cars.
Today, people are deciding and acting more independently and on their own terms: They research online for the information they need in order to make the best decision. This is true, of course, for buying and selling a car as well. Being online on mobile devices lifts any time- and location-related constraints. No matter how and where people get online: We provide all relevant information and the online tools needed for taking the right decision and going through with it. We draw on sixteen years of experience and the data we collected throughout that time. This data signifies a great and profound knowledge that we make available to our users.
You mentioned you use a data driven approach in everything you do, can you expand on this? Does AutoScout24 have a particular model?
We use data to empower our users. Our tool for car valuation, for example, is a data-driven product. Many (private) sellers are insecure when it comes to setting the price for their used car. The car valuation tool analyzes historical and current data, compares the seller’s car with existing car ads on our platform and returns a price recommendation. The entire tool is based on a statistical model which allows us to process and evaluate ten years of historical data and 50 million different car prices – we combine our expertise with the market data supplied by our platform to support sellers in determining a realistic price for their car.
Our data collection empowers our partners in advertising as well. Scout24Media offers cutting-edge, data-driven advertising products such as real-time advertising (RTA) or targeting according to browsing behavior/interests, We also implement cross-marketplace analyses in order to benefit from the numerous positive synergies between the markets for real estate and cars: 30% of AutoScout24 users are interested in real estate objects and 43% of ImmobilienScout24 users intend to buy or/and sell a car. This significant overlap between the users’ interests allows us to provide customized solutions with regard to both market places. Simultaneously, we enable companies to implement target-group-related advertising and we support them in the acquisition of new customers – and we offer a consumer basis of about 17 million users per month.
And we empower our employees. We are data-driven to the bone and our analytics are deeply woven in our everyday working process. We developed our own tools for our teams in the product, sales and marketing departments. This allows us to evaluate data, draw lessons from that evaluation and develop new products and marketing schemes based on those lessons. Our success in reaching our defined performance indicators can be assessed by data evaluation as well. This agile and data-driven approach guarantees continuous improvement of our products and campaigns.
What kinds of questions do you need to ask your customers to find the right data?
Scout24 online portals offer a broad-range database with more than 400 defined parameters for automobile, real estate and finance. The challenge with putting this data to use is to ensure it always effectively supports our users and customers. Combining data from different marketplaces against the backdrop of this challenge delivers even better results. We use qualitative and quantitative results from market research as well as behavior-based user data and market data (e.g. supply and demand).
What is the most interesting data you have come across? Why?
The market data we collect are really exciting, because of the fact that we can leverage synergies with the real estate market. We are Europe’s largest online automotive marketplace with more than 2.4 million cars on offer. This provides us with manufacturer-independent, cross-border insights about the car market.
What new technologies or Data Science applications are you integrating into the business?
Currently, we are moving to the Cloud. We develop new data applications and establish one centralized hub for the data collected from our marketplaces AutoScout24, ImmobilienScout24 and FinanceScout24. This allows us to develop improved data functions and to generate optimized information – all tailored to the needs of our users. For example: Things change radically when people are having a baby. The apartment and the car might be too small for this new situation in life. In those life-changing moments, we can provide easy and stress-free support for our users to make the right decisions.
Do you think the smart car/driverless car trends will impact your business?
We are, of course, closely monitoring but also actively shaping the developments on the car market. Simultaneously, we constantly focus on the needs of our clients, ready to react as soon as they are open to something new. We believe the market still needs a little more time to get ready for autonomous driving. Still, we are testing various approaches of how to integrate data from Connected Cars into our business model. In contrast to manufacturers that are rather hardware-driven, however, we pursue an approach that can be applied to all car makes and models.
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