13 August 2021
India’s leading carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Limited today said that Covid-19 has not only led to acceleration of its digital capabilities but it has also offered a more connected digital experience to its clients, customers, and prospective buyers. The company also said that its partnership with Facebook has driven many industry-first initiatives to win the customer during COVID-19.
Digital is at the centre of the company’s strategies — be it customer acquisition, identifying customer needs, generating leads or branding, marketing and the dealer business. Post Covid-19, the company has seen an instant acceleration of digital share in the enquiries. Today, digital is contributing to nearly 40 per cent of the enquiries which has steadily increased for MSIL over the years. During the lockdown period, the company saw more than 45 percent of enquiries coming from digital channels, including social media.
Maruti Suzuki collaborated with Facebook for the first ever virtual launch of NEXA S-Cross in August 2020 to deliver strong, virtual, consumer-first experiences in times of social distancing. The company in partnership with Facebook used Artificial Reality, mobile-first videos, AI-ML based chatbot, social media influencers, and interactive ads to drive impact during the launch.
The 360-degree campaign for the new S-Cross petrol launch garnered over 1 lakh enquiries out of which around 30,000 were generated through digital. There were 3 million website sessions resulting in 90% sales growth post the launch vis-à-vis FY19-20.
The Innovative AR FilterTo help consumers to get an immersive experience of the new, refined SUV from the comfort of their homes, a custom AR filter was developed. The filter ensured that consumers get a complete virtual tour of the new S-Cross petrol’s aggressive exteriors, sophisticated interiors, demonstrating the power of the new 1.5L petrol engine along with the new features of the car.
The AI-powered Conversational BannerAnother digital innovation in this campaign was the AI powered, machine-learning based Conversational Banner, through which users were able to engage with the car as if having a one-to-one conversation. This intelligent banner was designed to capture customer preferences and personalise their experiences further. Other Digital innovationsBuilding further on the consumer experience, a Facebook chatbot was developed to help answer all user queries about the newly launched S-Cross Petrol detailing out its features, price, and offerings. Interactive playable ads designed as a car racing game proved instrumental in showcasing the capabilities of the powerful new 1.5L engine. The launch campaign reached out to 38 million unique users on Facebook and more than 12 million interactions were generated through the immersive and innovative formats on Facebook and Instagram. The campaign objective was met successfully repositioning S-Cross as ‘The Refined SUV’ corroborated by a 264% growth in SUV related keywords for the brand and 68% recall for the key communication message among the target audience.
Similarly, for the other model, Vitara Brezza, another AR filter was created allowing users to experience the car and several new features such as the newly introduced dual tone colors, right-left head rotation to explore 360 view of the car, and zoom in to look closely at the top features of car like LED Projector Headlamps and DRLs, Distinct LED tail lights, Front Bold Grille, among others. This not just enabled users to experience the all-new Vitara Brezza in a unique and quirky way but also helped in creating buzz as it reached 4 million people, and generated over 200,000 interactions. Several such innovative formats were extended to other models as well to drive impact and connected experiences during the pandemic.
Spearheading industry-first dealer digitization programMaruti Suzuki has adopted and spearheaded several digital-first practices in the last four years, including the dealer digitization program. Maruti Suzuki and Facebook have been collaborating since 2018 on the program, which is among the largest in the country. With people increasingly turning to digital to research as well as to find a dealer, it became imperative to help dealers establish an online presence for a seamless customer experience. As part of this program, Maruti Suzuki and Facebook enabled people to discover dealers closest to their location in an easy and convenient manner. Through this program, dealerships across all the channels – Arena, NEXA and True Value – established an online presence using the Facebook family of apps and Facebook location pages to get discovered easily, and also run local geo-targeted lead generation campaigns via Facebook.
Speaking about Maruti Suzuki’s digital initiatives Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India said, “Our research shows that 37% of brand salience and 45% of brand consideration is now influenced by digital, and for both more than half is influenced by social media. Maruti Suzuki has partnered with Facebook to bring consumer first innovative experiences to the customers starting with the New S-Cross petrol launch and to build one of the largest digital retail networks with our 1000+ outlets as part of the hyperlocal program that was started in 2018. The program has become quite big and effective driving quality offline retail experience and conversion.”
Said Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, Vertical Head, Automotive, Technology, Telecom, and New Business, Facebook India, “We’re excited to be partnering with Maruti Suzuki to help them build their game on digital through unique initiatives such as launching their cars virtually, digitizing their dealer ecosystem, and many more initiatives. Delighted to share all our innovations with them have seen a big impact on their objectives, both brand and business. The dealer program has found even more adoption during the pandemic, delivering strong results, and above all helping dealers maintain business continuity through this challenging period.”