This year 35% of our total marketing budget for promotions is reserved for digital: Virat Khullar

Pranali Tawte
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Virat Khullar

Virat Khullar explains how customer sentiment is one of the KPIs for performance measurement for Hyundai Motor as he decodes digital marketing for an automobile brand.

In conversation with Social Samosa, Virat Khullar, Group Head Marketing, Hyundai Motor India gives the understanding of the brand's overall marketing strategy, the role of metaverse in auto marketing, and how OTT can be the next big thing in advertising.

Edited Excerpts:

For an automobile company, how vital it is to be out there on social media and collaborate with influencers?

Social media today has become one of the fastest and quickest means of communication. Today’s millennials and GenZ are hooked to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat so on and so forth. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are highly popular and draw significant traction.

Over 52% of millennials follow Instagram influencers, and other social media platforms to make a car buying decision. 

These platforms indicate strong trends in the lifestyle of these individuals and their personalities. Brands often curate content and collaborate with these influencers who drive opinions and build a strong chatter amongst their brand on social media. Additionally, influencer collaborations work as a bridge for brands to reach the right audience and increase brand affinity through word of mouth.

How would you define your overall marketing strategy, and how have your Ad Spends increased for this year? How much percent of your total marketing budget is reserved for digital?

Our marketing strategy is a combination of TV, Print & Digital mediums. Based on our audience’s pattern of media consumption, we need to be omnipresent. As India’s Most Trusted automobile brand, we are guided by our global vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’ and ‘Beyond Mobility’ that form the core tenets of our Corporate Philosophy.

With life getting back to normalcy & strong preference of customers for car purchases, we have utilized our media budgets accordingly.

We are almost at par with last year's Ad spends with specific emphasis on the right media mix. This year, we have kept around 35% of the total marketing budget for promotions in digital media.

Digital media is evolving at a rapid pace where customers have more choices to hover upon & we need to perfectly formulate strategies to tap into the customer’s journey.

As an automobile brand, what is your objective in social media marketing? What kind of KPIs do you have to measure performance?

The media landscape has changed in a big way, post-Covid- with the focus moving on from just placement to engagements or getting CPC/CTR to creating LTV for the customers.

Social media marketing mounts in the full funnel of marketing starting from awareness to lead generation or sales to customer feedback and it’s important for us at every stage. To encompass the right audience and create a positive brand image with them is our main objective. Hence, we do measure all KPIs such as reach, engagement, views as well as customer sentiments.

Also Read: The use of social media for keeping up with the changing weather

What is your take on metaverse as the future of marketing? How do you see brands benefitting from this?

The Covid-19 pandemic has revolutionized the way technology is used to function. Metaverse has redefined the virtual landscape and unleashed opportunities that are lucrative for marketing & user engagement.  

Metaverse introduces several possibilities for consumer and business segments. Some of the top applications for consumers include gaming, social media, virtual shopping malls, virtual events/shows, real estate tours, immersive online classrooms, etc.

For the automobile industry, Metaverse offers immense opportunities from virtual showrooms to immersive product experiences to fully virtual test drives, the technology can take you miles at the click of a button.

Though currently, Metaverse is at a very nascent stage in India, however, it is expected to leapfrog in a big way.

To build a superlative virtual experience for the thrilling new SUV, the company launched the Hyundai VENUE N Line in Metaverse.

What are your plans for the festive season? How are the Ad Spends looking?

The festive season looks very promising, we are anticipating a further uptick in demand for our cars across segments during this festive season. We will continue to focus on matching supply with demand. With continuously improving semiconductor supply month after month, our production is now at optimum level.

As the demand is still exceeding supply, our priority during the festive season will be to reduce the waiting period and expedite the delivery of cars to our valued customers. The approximate waiting period currently ranges from 3 to 4 months across models. This festive season we are not planning any specific campaign but yes, our launch campaign for N Line will be around festivals. 

On which medium will you be investing the most?

The choice of a medium entirely depends upon the product and its TG. We are extremely cognizant of the fact that it’s important to be a part of mediums where a brand’s audience is present. Media consumption patterns of new age buyers are evolving rapidly so it's imperative to be cautious while planning for the medium. In the last few years, we have seen consumers consuming more content digitally. The customer decision-making journey has gone digital and accordingly our digital presence has also gone up considerably. Being India’s Most Progressive brand, we believe in being a part of the customer buying journey, ensuring a smooth and delightful buying experience. Our media choices complement our philosophy for a delightful customer decision-making journey. 

What is your opinion on OTT as a marketing platform? Have you leveraged OTT for marketing before? How was the experience?

OTT is the next big thing as far as marketing & advertising are concerned. The customers are being exposed to a whole new level of content comprising national, regional as well as international content within the comfort of their homes. And it is imperative to have our brand presence over them. We can get targeted, measurable metrics that can be expanded on a big scale.

OTT advertisement has been a crucial part of our digital media mix & will continue to do so to get higher incremental reach. We can get higher completed view rates targeting the OTT platforms.

We are also exploring the regional OTT platforms that can be leveraged in our digital media campaigns.

What sort of brand tone do you maintain on each of the social media channels and how do you go about maintaining a complete hygiene check in terms of content?

Our global vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’ is very well reflected in our Brand communication tone. We focus on technology while keeping sustainability at the core of our technology and innovation. 

As a responsible brand, we maintain various hygiene checks to safeguard content norms globally and further adapt them to the Indian market. Apart from this, we do a regular reputation management check to ensure sanity on our traditional as well as digital content.

Hyundai Motor India Venue N Line Virat Khullar