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Events have always been an integral part of our marketing mix: Bishwajeet Samal, Volkswagen

In an exclusive interview with EE, Bishwajeet Samal, Head Marketing, Volkswagen India, spoke about the rise of event marketing and more. Read on.

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In an era where traditional advertising is getting saturated, event marketing is witnessing an upward trend.

Brands across categories are keen to associate with events that offer them an opportunity to create seamless experiences.

At the recent India Music Summit in Jaipur, Bishwajeet Samal, Head Marketing, Volkswagen India, spoke about the auto giants association with events and how event marketing is witnessing sharp rise in the Indian market.

Excerpts:

What was the inspiration behind supporting the India Music Summit?

Music has been an integral part of Volkswagen marketing since decades. The India Music Summit is a truest form of music across our target groups. Moreover, the artists who come here help us connect with our target group. Hence this association.

In your view how important is the connect between music and marketing?

I am a big fan of music and I believe it plays a very important part in any kind of communication. If I give you an example of the past few couple of TVCs we have done, music has always played a key role because it engages the audience. At times it is only music that draws your attention and makes you look at the screen, plus there is always an impact that it creates.

How important is event marketing for your brand?

Events are short-lived. They happen for a very short duration but they leave a mark on the minds of the audience who attend them or follow them on the social media later. 

Events have always been an integral part of our marketing mix and they will always remain since they provide a critical connect to target customers effectively.

When it comes to sponsoring events do you limit yourself to certain types of events only?

We don’t limit ourselves to music. The India Music Summit is one of the biggest music associations we have in a year we also explore other genres from events point of view.

What do we see coming up in terms of marketing initiatives?

The new brand design that we have launched in Frankfurt is a new initiative. We have a new logo and signature sound. Lot’s is happening on the brand side.

What leads to events generating ROI?

When you do an event like this where you have a captive audience, coming to a place, we create an opportunity for them to engage better with the brand. Obviously you have sponsored the event and there is branding to be seen all around. But when you physically place a car, people get interested in getting a test-drive which might initiate purchase. Apart from leads the idea is also to make them engage with the brand and experience the product.  

What are your 3 suggestions for event planners from brand perspective?

Events in India should stick to the schedule and not be delayed beyond a point.
Second is that, focus on the experience that they are creating. I have been to many global events. The detailing that they do and the planning time that goes behind creating an event is immense and that gives you success. So that is something that gives you success and I would recommend this for India.

What  according to you is  the significance of experiential marketing?

We are an automobile brand. So we have an opportunity to make people drive and experience our cars. So we organize our own events and we also participate in events. Different brands have different KPIs to be fulfilled. For us it is the number of people enquiring for the car or wanting a test-drive or taking pictures with the car and posting on Instagram.

What is more effective from a marketing standpoint—-a brand- curating own events or being part of other events?

You have to create your own events because then you have total control over the experience that you need to create for the customers. 

But when you barter an event, there you have to be a little flexible. Having said that being a German brand we are quite demanding and so we ask for what we need at the event and we have been successful in doing that.

If we are creating an event at Volkswagen then we focus more on the product. While sponsoring an event is more about creating an experience for the customers.

How do you ensure a seamless customer experience across your dealership network?

Whether you are present in metros or non-metros, as a brand you  want to give a similar kind of an experience to the customer. 

As an automobile brand we have standard guidelines that we follow so that makes seamless brand experience possible. So when a customer is walking in he gets a similar experience in Mumbai or Kolapur or Pune. The look and feel will be same. We have also standardized training processes where we train all our sales persons and service consultants to ensure seamless brand experience.

With the wedding season setting in, do you expect uptick in auto sales?

Seasonality has been a part of the automobile industry. We know that during this season people want to buy and gift new cars. So there is no percentage that I can quote but in the wedding months we do look at a fixed number of  car sales.





Tags assigned to this article:
volkswagen experiential marketing Head Marketing

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