The world's best and the most luxurious names are wooing the Indian customer through digital and social media. The traditional belief that online marketing doesn’t work for luxury car brands has changed in the past couple of years. From Facebook to Twitter, YouTube and even customised apps, luxury brands are leaving no stone unturned to build brand awareness and get a strong foothold in the country.
Italian luxury car brand Maserati’s communication focuses on a personalised form of branding via on-ground activation and community building on social media platforms.
In an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Bojan Jankulovski, Head of Operations, Maserati India, discussed how vehicle manufacturers are trying to understand the impact of the shift from monologue to dialogue in marketing, with most people making buying decisions via online only. With Instagram and FB being the most effective platforms for the brand, Jankulovski also shared a few of the growing trends in the industry.
Discussing the growing demand for SUVs, he said an increase in the affluent segment and their discretionary spends is a silver lining in the luxury car market.
Maserati allocates a significant portion of the total marketing budget on digital and social media.
“Customised marketing initiatives help us touch base with our customers personally and the content generated through these events is used on our social media platform. This way, we are able to showcase the Maserati lifestyle as a whole to our present as well as prospective customers and brands enthusiasts,” Jankulovski said.
The brand believes on-ground activation as a marketing tool is the most personalised form of branding. He said 40% of luxury purchases are influenced by what consumers see online and their interactions with a brand. Keeping this in mind, the brand is focusing on community building on social media platforms.
“Instagram and Facebook are well-suited to our brand given the visual appeal that can be created. On these platforms, purchases are generally linked to a feeling of belonging to a group. These two main platforms are the most effective ones,” he said.
Looking at the market more closely than ever, not only from return-on-investment but from return-on-objective perspective, the brand is trying to engage with its followers by actively responding to comments, messages and also by running call to action content.
Commenting on it, Jankulovski said, “It’s important to have an ongoing engagement with customers so they feel that they’re an extension of the brand family or part of a larger community and that’s our long-term strategy.”
Maserati India executes events based on the “closed-room exclusive luxury experience” concept to attract in its best customers and prospects as well as tastemakers and opinion leaders.
“We ensure our offline strategy, combined with a tactical online plan, creates a special relationship with the clients, making it more personal, and that cannot be achieved just through traditional advertisements,” he added.
Monologue to dialogue, a digital shift in automotive marketing
Digital marketing has transformed the promotional strategies of luxury brands to a very large extent. Apart from this, luxury car buyers are dismissive of mass marketing and instead are heavy and sophisticated users of online media.
Jankulovski said that in automotive marketing, an important shift is happening from monologue to dialogue. Vehicle manufacturers are trying to understand the impact of this shift on their marketing strategies and user experiences. While brands are still spending greatly on events, an equivalent effort on the digital side is inevitable.
Quoting the “The Auto Gearshift Study 2017” report by Google-Kantar TNS, he said 89% of all car purchases in India were digitally influenced. For luxury brands, digital marketing becomes even more important as it reaches out to niche customers.
“As a luxury and premium car brand, we cannot do mass advertising like print and TV because we don’t address all the audience. Digital is becoming a new set of advertising module as you can select your audience based on demography,” he added.
Asked what differentiates Maserati from other luxury cars, he said, “As a super-luxury niche player, we are not chasing volumes. Our goal is to provide performance-oriented luxury vehicles coupled with an unprecedented customer experience. Therefore, we ensure that we stand out as a tailor-made suit in the world of uniforms.”
Talking about the trends in the luxury car market, Jankulovski shared that a growth is being seen in the affluent segment and their discretionary spends.
“In the next three to five years, the challenge lies more at a carmaker level to understand the market they operate in and offer a product line-up that suits the diverse tastes and needs. The need of the hour is to have factors that distinguish a super luxury brand among the clutter,” he added.
One of the biggest global trends reverberating in India as well is a growing demand for luxury SUVs. Apart from this, an increase in the adoption of technological integration is bringing ease in mobility and this, combined with smart financing schemes, are some of the driving forces that are shaping the industry, he shared.
The brand is planning couple of campaigns around the launch of Levante Trofeo, which is built around a V8 engine and is one the fastest SUVs-ever built from the brand’s end. It is also planning to generate curiosity around the car digitally before the launch with videos, teasers and sneak-peaks of the car on all social media platforms coupled with other marketing activities.