Putting forward General Motors’ perspective on changing approach to digital media, its Director – Marketing, Gaurav Gupta, put forward the auto major’s digital strategy through an in-depth presentation at the Digital Media Conference 2010, held in the Capital on March 19.
Narrating General Motors’ story in India, Gupta said, “We have been able to mark our position among the top five car brands in the country. We were very clear in our minds that to engage our online consumers in digital domain, we will have to keep our website keen and interactive. Before coming to the digital domain, we had faced many challenges, one of them was that digital media is being used by mostly youngsters. But are they serious buyers? The question was serious buyers will never be online, so why make the effort then? But slowly and steadily, we overcome these impediments.”
He added, “The digital space is changing rapidly. By the time you grasp it, it becomes history. However, this medium is lacking creativity. For the creatives, first thought is TV script, they don’t even think of the Internet medium.”
Commenting on the lack of understanding of the domain, Gupta said, “Understanding the digital domain is necessary. The people who approve the budget in the office are not able to understand the power of this medium. They think that if a brand is not visible on TV, the marketing guys are not doing a good job. Therefore, people in the entire organisation have to be taken together.”
On GM’s digital activities, he explained, “Our focus is on web-based leads, which are coming in the system. To encourage this, we had taken steps like introducing a penalty and reward scheme, pilot service booking, and dealer training (region wise), among others. We have seen a huge increase in the leads coming from digital – from 2 per cent in 2007 to 12 per cent in 2009. We are getting dealers on board through their individual websites. For our car brand Captiva, we spent zero money in traditional media. While launching Beat, we had a contest in some websites. We also entered into a strategic deal with the website called Carwale. Soon, we will launch a video ad only in the digital domain, and not at all on TV.”
Commenting on the effectiveness of the digital medium, Gupta noted that brand building audience came from digital. “Digital also plays an integral part in the entire customer lifecycle. Year-on-year spending on digital is moving up and is now becoming an integral part of the marketing plan. It is not a mere replacement of any medium, but helps other mediums too. It’s very important to talk and listen to the consumers, thus there is need to be social and not be just a company, be an individual,” he advised.