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Plan to get 16% of sales from Digital by FY19: Veejay Nakra, Mahindra & Mahindra

01-February-2018
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Plan to get 16% of sales from Digital by FY19: Veejay Nakra, Mahindra & Mahindra

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has launched a whole new way of experiencing an automobile with the ‘Bring the Showroom Home’ initiative. A first for the retail automotive sector, this new initiative is a portable, smartphone-based, interactive virtual reality experience. 
‘Bring the Showroom Home’ is part of a series of initiatives under Mahindra’s Digital Transformation Strategy. This is a unique initiative wherein a customer would get a 360 degree, all-encompassing and immersive virtual showroom experience. The customer can co-create and choose a Mahindra vehicle with any specification, in the comfort of his home as well as involve his family in the decision making process. ‘Bring the Showroom Home’ platform will have three salient features of Virtual Showroom, Self-explore and Make my SUV which will enable customers to experience the vehicle of their choice, in its entirety.
Veejay Nakra, Chief of Sales & Marketing – Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, emphasized on enriching customer’s buying experience from pre to post purchase and how digital marketing is the way forward:

What is the scale of this initiative?

This will be enmass. We are spending a lot in terms of building the brand. About eight per cent of our sales come from digital. Our endeavour is by FY19 to double it. This is one of the methods that will help us achieve that. 
We have right now rolled it out in Mumbai. By February and March (last quarter of this financial year) I want to take that to about top 20-30 dealerships. By the first quarter of the next financial year we intend to take it across all 300 dealerships.
We have also tied up with automobile portals like CarWale.com and cardekho.com. All of these digital initiatives together will help us. In the last two years while executing and conceptualising and executing SYOUV.com and With You Hamesha app, among other digital initiatives together we have spent close to Rs 15 cr.
With the new digital initiative we are going to disrupt and redefine that. The three key things are personalization transparency and convenience.

With 15 per cent of your advertising spends on digital what are your future plans?
We are also using analytics as a platform to take the right decision as to how do we target our digital communication better to the profile of a customer. That's another big thing we are doing. 
For SYOUV we just launched a campaign. So far we have released only two videos. There are two more to come. We intend to spend lot of money to build awareness around SYOUV.
You use digital as a tool to increase your conversion ratio and you build loyalty with your customer. 

Do you want to intend to play it on any other marketing medium?
We are playing this purely on digital because around 50 per cent of the information that people seek is from online.
I don't think we should leave out semi-urban and rural India. They all have digital devices. The canvas is huge. We are starting in a certain manner which is more urban. We are planning to scale it across 300 dealers which covers metro, urban semi urban and rural.

Why the need to create Bring the Showroom Home initiative?

In India, where vehicle purchase decision is mostly influenced by the family, Bring the Showroom Home will get the showroom closer to our customers and their families. After all, we want to take customer experience to the next level through convenient, transparent and personalised services at every step.”

What’s the way forward in marketing strategy for this year?
We will work on analytics-based digital marketing. The way I see it while digital marketing has reached 15 per cent of our total media spends by next year or two it will go above 20 per cent. It will be across products, programs, services and everything else. 
Earlier the focus was on print and television while they continue to remain important a lot of our products cater to younger generation. Keeping that in mind we are targeting specific communication to specific customer on multiple channels on digital. We will be looking at branded content. For example when we launched KUV campaign we were all over cricket which was on digital. It fared very well for us.
We have other two big initiatives coming up. It's again in the area of customer experience which is combination of both online and offline

 Tell us about your partnership with Microsoft and Dassualt...
We conceived SYOUV as a platform almost 2.5-3 years ago. After soft testing in the market we just launched it last week. Microsoft was associated with us only in the initial phase of the program. They did the conceptualization and architectural design. But after that it's been done by us along with multiple agencies like Dassault.


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