Mind your Marketing

Know your customer

| Updated on August 08, 2019 Published on August 08, 2019

Mr. Mihir Dayal, Director - Marketing, BMW India

This week, we feature Mihir Dayal, Director – Sales and Marketing, BMW. He talks about the best ways to engage customers, how BMW has digitised its journey, and reveals the best-kept secrets to successful marketing.

How can brands efficiently meet customer expectations? How does BMW handle this?

A brand can pinpoint expectations only if it has its target audience clearly defined. Once that has been done, it is about digging deep into their behaviours and preferences and aligning all steps towards it. For instance, at a retail level, BMW is enhancing the customer experience by digitising the network. For those who connect with us online, we have set up an online shop where you can actually buy a car online and not just research about it. Our events are aimed at bridging the various expectations of customers via different routes – food, sports, drive experiences, art, et al.

Brand loyalties are fleeting and with products increasingly becoming services in the digital economy, customer experience becomes a strong differentiating element when it comes to consumer choice. The digitisation of our retail network is one step in this direction where the focus is building sustainable network extensions and giving a premium digital experience to our customers. You could find us in an upscale metro mall and get everything – right from a new car, to a certified used car offering, to after sales service. From self-check-in, to a virtual product presentation, to a VR experience zone, to selling cars online – we are offering it all.

How does BMW connect to the youth of today? What are the best ways to get messages across to them?

This cohort has opened a connected view of marketing, which is a significant shift from traditional marketing. Their consumption and purchase behaviour have encouraged businesses to redesign their experiences to cater to the demands of this multi-device, multi-platform generation. We at BMW have also identified that this generation is, at the least, a very strong influencer when it comes to making a purchase decision. They may not be the direct buyers of luxury cars, but they sure have a strong say. While we think about experiences like XDrives Bhutan, MDrivers Training and Joyfest, the idea is to generate experiences and content that interests this cohort.

Their device ecosystem is one of the best ways to reach where they are. Mobile specific strategies, social media platforms remain some of the best entry points. While you get an entry via these, the brands need to also be aware of the fact that this generation equally believes in on-going service. So, we need to be cognizant of being available after the sale. For a luxury brand, targeted and data- driven approach is key to any marketing solution. We have moved away from measuring individual mediums to a more-cross functional consumer journey mapping which reflects the mindset of the modern luxury consumer and also helps us get a better ROI.

How does diversity among your audience affect your brand’s communication strategy?

It comes down to what is more relevant for the business – the category and segment one is operating in along with what works for the brand. We at BMW are more about ‘being consistent’ rather than ‘being same’. We operate at a brand level for all our communication while giving it a personalised touch. For example, when we are selling a lifestyle product to a younger audience vs a BMW 5 Series to a seasoned customer, we are essentially coming from the same code while selling two completely different offerings to two completely different sets of customers.

It is very important for brands to come with a ‘think customer first’ approach. Brands should be relatable to their set of consumers rather than alienating them. The content that a brand creates should encapsulate the audience’s mindset. However, when it comes to luxury brands, they need to create high aspirational value. The idea of localisation is limited to being ‘relevant’ and still maintaining the premiumness of the brand.

For instance, our South-focused customers have discerning tastes. They are the kind of audience who would want to indulge and be up and close to luxury experiences - something that excites and indulges the senses. Exclusive and engaging events such as the BMW Joyfest, BMW xDrive Experience, BMW Golf Cup International and BMW Culinary Series work really well for them.

Mihir says…

a) One strategic change we plan to execute by 2020

BMW is a future-oriented brand which aims at setting the standards for others to follow. We are moving towards a more data-led marketing. While that gives us a clear line of sight, we will also raise the bar on customer-centric, highly curated luxury experiences.

b) My top three marketing buzzwords/mantras for 2019

  • Martech (Marketing Technology)
  • Automation
  • Data driven

c) Three concepts/words I believe define a hot brand

  • Aspirational
  • Consistent
  • Trustworthy

d) A powerful ad campaign I liked from 2018

Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’ campaign. For 30 years, the ‘Just Do It’ mantra has been a motivational call for athletes nationwide, across all sports, and all levels of play. To celebrate that rich diversity, the second film in the JDI series, ‘Dream Crazy’, focuses on a collection of stories that represent athletes who are household names and those who should be. The common denominator: all leverage the power of sport to move the world forward.

Biggest contributor in a win – idea or technology?

Both go hand-in-hand, an idea can’t be compromised on. However, technology today gives us the ability to innovatively execute an idea and make it grander than ever before. For example, with BMW ConnectedDrive, you can control your car, wherever you are. BMW ConnectedDrive integrates your BMW's intelligent interfaces, your smartphone, and other technologies to keep you aware and in control of everything going on both in your vehicle and your day-to-day life.

Three secrets to successful branding…

Know your customer – You need to reach out to your key demographic to make the best of your marketing efforts. When you know who your ideal target audience is, you can customise messaging to speak to them directly. At BMW, we have a data-centric approach to identify the right customers and reach out to them with targeted messaging.

Give them relevant content – In today’s digital world, the consumer is interacting with numerous pieces of content, be it for gathering information or finalising a purchase decision. Creating relevant content experiences helps in reaching out better and assisting the consumer in a non-intrusive way.

It also helps in adding value to the brand that goes beyond just the product experience.

Published on August 08, 2019
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