New Delhi (30/06/2022): On June 29, 2022, at the Pitch CMO Summit 2022, Maruti Suzuki India Senior Executive Director Mr. Shashank Srivastava addressed the topic of ‘Driving Data Driven Market” and talked about the projects Maruti Suzuki India has been working on recently.
Mr. Srivastava emphasized the importance of data in the world today. He quoted Clive Humby, the British mathematician, and stated that ‘Data is the new oil’ and added the word of caution that ‘it is valuable, but if it is unrefined, it cannot really be used.’ He stressed the significance of breaking down and analysis of data. “Activities and strategies that benefit the business in several areas need to be planned by data-driven decision making,” he said.
“Organizations should make data-driven decision-making the norm,” Srivastava said. He encouraged the creation of a culture that will be driven by critical thinking and curiosity. “Decisions that are not well informed by data can turn on to be not just inconsistent but also arbitrarily inaccurate. This happens not because of a lack of intent, knowledge, or skill but because of assumptions, biases, and habits. The recent advances in artificial intelligence, big data control experimentation, and system syncing are ushering in a radical evolution in decision making.”
Shashank Srivastava shared the journey of Maruti Suzuki India in being a data-driven market. “We at Maruti Suzuki, being a leader in the automobile industry have also taken some crucial steps to be ready for this domain. We understand that data-driven marketing is a very important aspect to improve revenues for auto retailers.” He explained that Maruti Suzuki India has observed that customers follow a ‘Phygital’ (Physical + Digital) buying process, i.e., experiencing both physical interaction at the dealerships and interacting with ]digital touch points. “This brings a huge opportunity,” Srivastava said, “to just know more about the customer but also offer them a more personalized experience using analytical tools and new technology solutions.”
“Though having a huge data arrangement is not sufficient. It is very critical that we accurately harness the insights from the same on an ever-evolving basis to meet our end goals,” Srivastava added.
Srivastava explained how Maruti Suzuki India evolved in their data-driven market approach. “First step was to build our own first-party data sets because of the non-availability of third-party data post-GDPR roll out,” he said. He explained the various softwares that the company uses to make their process simplified and better. “By ingesting SVOC (Single View of Customer) data with DMS (Dealer Management System) we have also been able to create a custom search and also upsell and cross-sell our opportunities for the dealer. The dealer is now able to read through the customer’s historical transactions thereby suggesting the next best product for them and to recommend additional purchases from allied businesses like insurance, service, extended warranties, and accessories,” he explained.
“We don’t just send promotional content as some marketers do, but also we collect feedback through surveys and send alert communications,” Srivastava said. “In 2021 – 22, over 24,000 new car referrals were generated through the marketing campaigns. In 2022 – 23, we are targeting to double this number.” He explained the various personalized campaigns the company has launched and conducted to help serve the customers better and help them to market their automobiles better. “These campaigns also help us inform target customers of our latest cars and their features while subtly prompting them to register an inquiry or book a test drive by simply clicking the link in the message and selecting the appropriate action.”
“We have a launch tomorrow of our SUV, the new Brezza,” Srivastava announced to the audience. He stated that because of these personalized campaigns, they have close to 42,000 bookings already.
Srivastava also talked about a few projects the company is working on at the Summit. “We are working on projects related to artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions which should help us strengthen our algorithms further,” he said.
Srivastava talked about Suzuki Connect having advanced safety features. “We could have predictive analysis which enables the system to read through driver behaviors and patterns thereby promoting road safety,” he said.
“There is a project we are doing on the retina movement measurement,” he said. “It’s a functionality which will have drowsiness detection capability,” he said.
“The third is capturing the mood of the customer,” he said. This artificial intelligence feature helps the consumer analyze how the customers are browsing through the outlet using different signals and predict the likeliness of them buying a specific model. “Today we utilize this data to plan, to display the location of car models in the showroom.”
“Pricing engine for selling your old car with Maruti Suzuki True Value is now becoming easier,” he announced. “Customers can use the pricing engine to predict an estimated value of their old car. With this, we can bring in more competitive pricing, convenience, and decision-making capabilities for the customers.”
“Other examples of predictive analysis that we are working on are demand for costing, consumer scheme optimization, voice bots on incoming customer calls, interactive chatbots on websites, and so on,” he said.
Shashank Srivastava also claimed that the company is taking other steps to make sure that we are future-ready, “For example getting active on second-party data tie-ups. Tying up with various other first-party data providers like mobile service providers, financial institutions, two-wheeler companies, petroleum companies.”
“In addition to the first party and second-party data, we are also exploring other substitutes which are like using third-party data,” he said. “Tieing up with wall gardens like Facebook, Amazon, to use their first-party data,” he said. “And also contextual targeting. From the learnings from the first-party data, we can advertise on an interest-based platform.” He also talked about utilizing publisher alliances and using fingerprinting to build a probabilistic model by using the user’s metadata to build a targetable profile.
“Maruti Suzuki has been able to reach a certain level of maturity on this data-driven journey,” Shashank Srivastava concluded, “but will continue to progress as we get more and more data on customer interactions, feedback, and performances of our campaign. The end goal will always be what the consumer requires. Today we feel empowered and more secure to have built a robust and a futuristic data ecosystem that will ensure that we continue to serve our customers a step ahead.”