Tata Motors bets big on experiential marketing

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 10, 2018

A Tata Nexon Geneva Edition car is seen during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann   -  REUTERS

Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors (file photo)

Mayank Pareek hopes to replicate Hexa, Tiago success with new launch Nexon

As Tata Motors prepares to launch its Nexon compact SUV on Thursday, Mayank Pareek is hopeful that it will strike a chord with buyers.

“We cannot take anything for granted but what makes me confident is that our design philosophy has been accepted. People like the Nexon for its looks and this is an important starting point,” says the President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit.

New strategy

Performance is another critical parameter and this is where Tata Motors has been pulling out all stops with its efforts on experiential marketing.

Here, people can experience the product and decide for themselves if they want to buy it.

The marketing approach gives Pareek the confidence that the Nexon will hit the sweet spot in customers’ minds. The fact that compact SUVs are the fastest growing segment in the country is yet another reason to feel optimistic.

The experiential marketing initiative began with the Tiago hatchback that was launched in April last year and is now clocking around 7,000 units each month. “The design is tops and grew on people even though critics said we were entering the most crowded segment and were also late,” recalls Pareek. What worked was the move to have potential customers come and try out the car for themselves. Though advertisements help, nothing like credibility to spread the word. It was after a long time that Tata Motors was launching a new design philosophy with the Tiago and went for a step-by-step approach.

Hexa example

“The market had to accept the model and we started with barely 3,000 units a month,” says Pareek.

Today, it is doing over twice as much and the company then pushed the envelope further in experiential marketing with its Hexa SUV.

The Hexa Experience, which kicked off in 20 cities and will now extend to 40, simulated a “rough environment” for the car so that people could try it for themselves. It debuted in January though test drives began four months earlier, in September.

“We identified 500 communities, which included doctors, lawyers, journalists, architects and many other users whom we knew would go for an SUV,” says Pareek.

These were slightly high-profile customers but not the “BMW or Mercedes” variety.

The 500 number may seem a lot but there are sub-segments, such as orthopaedics within doctors for instance, who increase the sample size. Equally, there are region-specific professions like the plantation worker in Coorg or the chilli trader in Guntur, who would have been keen on driving a Hexa.

Today, the SUV is averaging 1,700 units a month with a chunk of buyers opting for the top-end version, which retails at around ₹20 lakh.

No sales pitch

Pareek remembers the case of a Mumbai-based customer who wanted a Hexa but his wife was not too keen. He then got his brand manager to meet the couple and talk to them about trying it out while steering clear of any sales pitch.

Coincidentally, they were planning a trip to Nashik and a Hexa was offered to them. When they were back, both husband and wife were unanimous about their decision in buying the vehicle.

They “discovered” the Hexa during the trip and fell in love with it.

Market feedback has shown that the Hexa is the second car of most customers. Even while it has a predominantly male buyer base, women take up 10 per cent thanks to the automatic option.

Published on September 18, 2017

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