I started my career in the education sector in 2009, when digital was at a very nascent stage and all we knew about digital marketing was that it consists of Google & Youtube. It was the time when we used Orkut for social networking.With my 3rd job i.e. Fly Mobiles, I got into digital marketing and from then tillnow, I have seen drastic changes in Digital marketing as a field. In the last 2 years, this field has become more dynamic as something new keeps emerging, every day. So overall, the past 9 years have been a great learning curve.
• What is your role in the company?
I take care of Digital Marketing at JK Tyre, which includes everything related to web, such as, website, media planning, social media, our company’s intranet etc.
• What all Megatrends in the auto industry are you witnessing and how could they possibly shape the look and feel of tomorrow?
Digital as a field has evolved to such an extent that people can actually feel the car without even visiting any showroom. Automobile brands are doing many engaging digital campaigns, which excites people or the prospects who are planning to purchase the vehicle or if not purchase, at least it provides a strong brand recall. With content marketing, brands are becoming storytellers and engaging with the audience based on their interest level, rather than push advertising. And with newer versions of cars like Baleno or Swift or Amaze, brands are trying to give a premium-ness to their customers within the same price range,
especially for cars like the new Amaze or new Swift. This strategy will actually help brands in the long-run when people consider changing their cars.
• Several Indian automakers have almost doubled their spends on digital. How important is digital marketing in the tyre industry?
In the tyre industry, I have not seen many brands doing digital marketing in the way it is meant to be. Some tyre brands are using digital just to sell online but, that should not be the objective. I believe, if your product is good, people will automatically buy it. Point is, how you engage with them through digital, where they spend most of the time. As a brand, we cannot engage people every time with our product promotions, especially since tyre is a low involvement product. At JK Tyre, we have a proper content strategy in place to engage with the audience on different topics and occasions, round the year. This is followed by
tactical campaigns but, those campaigns are targeted and based on requirement, rather than showing it to any random audience.
• What do you think is the most effective form of digital marketing in this industry?
After social media, Content Marketing is something which is evolving the most. Content marketing is more of storytelling rather than direct product promotion. This is inspired by our human behavior in which we tend to remember stories rather than the display ads we see, which disappear once we move to the other page.
• Online marketing vs offline marketing: Which one, according to you, is more impactful and yields better ROI?
Obviously, Online marketing, as we can track ROI based on our objective. Digital can help you reach out to any kind of audience based on their interest levels, the apps they use, the content they consume but, in case of offline media, all those things are not available. If in some cases, they are available, they cannot be mapped against our objective to match ROI.
• One of the biggest threats for the Indian tyre companies comes from the cheaply imported tyres from China. What other challenges are you facing and how is your company responding to that?
My colleague Mr. Mandeep Rathore answered it quite well, I would request you to use his answer.
• What are the major upcoming digital marketing trends in the automotive industry?
Content Marketing & Programmatic advertisement are something which automotive brands should look at. Why content marketing- that I have already explained but why programmatic-because brands now plan to invest in the audience rather than platforms/publishers. Programmatic helps brands to reach an audience rather than run ads on any specific platform because of their content.
• With such competition, what new avenues of digital marketing are you looking at? How are you strategizing to stay ahead of the competition?
In the tyre industry, not many brands are so active on digital. They are there but not doing much, or I would say, not leveraging digital to the fullest. In the digital front, we are working on many new initiatives, some of which being, digital campaigns for our farm and truck category where we have identified the audience at digital for both farm and truck category tyres, and we are showing our communication only to them. In the coming months, you will see more such initiatives on our social media and
• What percentage of the marketing budget should be spent on digital? How do you allocate marketing budgets across channels?
Ideally, it should be at least 30 percent of the total marketing budget as the audience is also going digital and this audience base is growing day by day. When we plan our digital campaigns, we focus more on awareness and branding, tyre being a low involvement or low engaging product needs to be promoted accordingly. So, plain vanilla display ads don’t work every time. We keep on exploring new ways of engaging with the audience like we did in the campaign for our 2W tyres where we engaged our audience at Truecaller, Cheetah App locker or Cric buzz during India v/s SA series or through content at Scoopwhoop and India Times.
• What is your biggest marketing priority? What kind of marketing strategies are you leveraging to reach out to your customers?
Being a digital guy, my biggest priority always is to remain connected with the audience as the JK Tyre brand and keep them engaged, in one way or another. I always keep a track of new opportunities arriving at digital and how I can leverage that for JK Tyre. It is easy to engage an audience for one time, but to keep them connected with your brand is not an easy task. We work on that part so that it increases brand recall and gives the audience a point to talk about my brand.
• What do you feel about the overall change in traditional versus digital marketing spend? How much should a firm budget for marketing?
Comparing it to 2011, when I was with Fly Mobile, brands hardly used to spend any money on digital, because of limited understanding but, the government’s push for digital India and penetration of Jio, has helped brands in understanding the power of digital. Paytm is a classic example of people using the digital medium to do transactions. Digital marketing has become a dynamic field and has a new thing to offer every day, if one wants to learn. I feel digital should be given equal weightage as other brand marketing mediums
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