“I receive real time critical feedback, inputs and market responses from the entire universe of our stakeholders” commented Anand Mahindra, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra (m&m) while speaking on the power of Twitter. He is of the view that this is as good as spending millions of USD to put in place a sophisticated software dashboard.
The onset of digital marketing
Digital marketing has grown by leaps and bounds. Social media is emerging as a powerful customer engagement and feedback channel for B2C enterprises. Sentiment analysis using Twitter data is a popular technique now being applied for many analysis like brand perception study, brand popularity, quality of customer service, etc. Mahindra and Mahindra is one of the early exponents of leveraging this customer engagement channel for listening to customer feedback and responding to them too in quick time. Indian Facebook users have crossed 100 million and the reach is now almost comparable to operators subscriber base.
Social media savvy leadership
We have generally seen that enterprises who have successfully integrated social media to their marketing mix have a leadership who is social media savvy. The case was no different for m&m as their MD, Anand Mahindra has around 1.2 million Twitter followers and he is a regular in tweeting daily. He also takes effort in responding to any direct tweets regarding any of their products and customer care issues. In M&M he created a dedicated digital marketing team who is responsible for managing these social media channels and ensuring timely responses and resolution of issues and concerns raised by consumers.
Word of mouth marketing
Twitter and Facebook have been the channels deployed by m&m for engaging with customers in a more direct manner. They have 14 million Facebook fans and also receive millions of views on their YouTube channel every year. This strategy is so important for India being a market where word of mouth marketing is so important in deciding the brand perceptions and popularity of any product. This is truer for automobile segment as it is an experience driven market. It is extremely important to identify the influencers and connect to them at the right time so that a positive engagement can be driven. M&M CMO says ‘todays influencers are tomorrows buyers’.
Unique characteristics of social media
It is direct medium; there are no intermediaries like franchisee and research agencies. Feedbacks and emotions are expressed by customers directly. Though the customers could make use of this direct media in a wrong way too, but most of the time it reflects the true emotions and experience of customers. The other trait is the speed at which you can reach to consumers and address their concerns and issues. Stitch in time always saves nine; it is the fundamental principle of ensuring customer satisfactions. Swift response and actions initiated through social media always helps in striking a positive value-driven engagement. It leads to brand loyalty and customer delight. The media is also better to create an initial buzz in the market place quickly on new products especially among the youth and professional target segments as most of them are social media enthusiasts. The other key attribute of this channel is the low cost, compared to traditional CRM platforms and channels.
Integrated digital media campaigns
Mahindra and Mahindra is not only leveraging social media channels for customer relationship management, but also to launch new products. For example when they launched their new bike model Centuro, they create a buzz by launching new games and a Facebook page dedicated to the new bike only trying to let the customer know about the features of this bike. They inserted banners in search engine sites like Google and MSN to capture the eyeballs of customers. The campaign generated 2.5 lakhs of video ad views and around 7000 enquiry calls were generated during this pre-launch integrated digital media campaign which was done over channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Vine.
Long format advertising
This is another interesting digital marketing initiative from m&m which was tried out during the launch of their XUV500 model. They conducted an online movie festival and created multiple short films around the theme of ‘memorable stories’ capturing the experience of XUV500 users. These films were captured with the help of both professional and amateur users which were then put into a 48 hour long online video film festival. It created a viral effect resulting in around 25000 downloads of their iPad magazine featuring these videos.
Integrating digital media to marketing
M&m is an interesting case study in how they integrated digital media to their marketing and CRM strategies. It was due to their leadership commitment, acquisition of right team and resources, a customer-centric social media strategy and excellent execution. It is time to critically look at the pros and cons of integrating digital media to the marketing mix of B2C enterprises like M&M.
[message_box title=”Disclaimer” color=”red”]The case is prepared based on secondary data and the purpose of this case study is to just bring out the key marketing strategies and techniques deployed by different firms from our perspective.[/message_box]