Since the first car designed by Carl Benz hit the roads in 1879, automotive industry remains one of the largest industries in the world. The purchase of a first automobile is sacrosanct to this day. There are fewer industries that can boast of enjoying such a passionate and devoted fan following. The automotive industry has always prided itself on innovation. Consequently, the auto industry never shies away from experimenting with any latest trends. For all latest digital and other automotive trends, autoblog remains one of my preferred sources.
In many cases, it has created its own benchmarks. F1 racing is the largest advertising platform for all the marquee automobile manufacturers in the world. F1 has one of the largest sports viewership in the world. The main objective of companies is to showcase their cars and build brand equity. Harley Owner’s Group remains the biggest example of brand building through community marketing. You can see the passion for yourself with just a click.
The automotive industry spends more than any other category on the largest advertising companies list every year. In 2015, the automotive industry’s combined spending of $47 billion accounted for about 20 percent of the top 100 companies’ total ad spending of $240.5 billion. 7 of the largest top 25 advertising spenders in the world are auto companies. Automotive industry is going big on digital marketing as well. Automotive industry spent 12% of the total spend in digital advertising last year which marked an increase of 22% from previous year. You might want to visit statista for detailed statistics of the auto industry.
Car buyer’s journey
A typical automotive customer remains in the market for approximately 90-120 days. Automotive marketers can provide rich digital experiences and engagements throughout the buyer’s journey. Combine that with a truly personalized experience and you have an extremely potent mix.
Right from the moment you visit a company’s website to check out a car, the car follows you everywhere. Through your Facebook feeds, to the websites you visit through display ads to the customized emails by your banker for easy loans. After seeing the car enough, you go to one of the websites to check out the specifications and user reviews. You give your details for a demo through a dealer. The salesperson arrives with the car and gives you a demo and test drive. After several test drives from your consideration set of brands you read user reviews on auto blogs such as @TeamBHPforum and @autocar. You also check #YouTube video reviews, consulting your auto enthusiast friends and the local mechanic before you write a down payment check. Finally you go to take delivery on the promised date. A detailed automobile buyer’s journey can be found here.
Digital marketing is essential for those who want to reach their audiences at all potential touch points. Mobile is one such crucial element. Almost 1 in 3 shoppers use their mobile devices as part of the purchase process to locate a dealer. Having a mobile first strategy is extremely important in today’s scenario. Some usage of digital marketing is beautifully explained in this blog.
Marketing trends for automotive in India
Currently India is the 5th largest automobile market in the world and is expected to be the 3rd largest market by 2020. As with all the other global trends, India isn’t far behind in the usage of digital marketing in the automotive industry.
Almost 5 years ago, #Mahindra demonstrated what digital marketing was capable of before the launch of #Xuv500. Through just four campaigns they created a tremendous amount of buzz. As a result, within the first 6 days of the campaign they registered 5000+ bookings. Here is the complete slideshare presentation on the campaign. It gives a nice glimpse of how Mahindra leveraged digital marketing before it became the “in” thing.
A lot has happened since then. Most automakers have doubles their budgets for digital marketing over last year. Top 5 automakers in the Indian industry spent almost Rs 2600 Cr last year. The auto sector contributed to almost 8% of the overall spending in digital marketing. For more detailed figures you can go through this economic times blog.
Changing consumer preferences
Customer preferences are evolving and the emergence of new social media platforms have amplified customer presence there. Utilizing these digital platform has gained tremendous momentum. Automakers now have mobile-based virtual showrooms, live web-cast of launch events, pre-launch digital campaigns, contests on social media and video-based short teaser campaigns to spike the customers’ interest in new products. Our blog gives you a detailed overview of how mobile marketing is the new battleground for digital.
Social media has significantly contributed in influencing the purchasing decision of Indian consumers. Consequently, automakers are making new strategies to leverage the same.
In a more recent example, Facebook Live, Periscope and live webcast on YouTube helped ‘Auto Expo 2016’ to be one of the top five news trends for the year 2016 on Google.
We are looking at the would through a “Digital” prism and it shall be no different for automobiles. In fact, if you look closely, you might be more surprised than you had anticipated.