I will always prioritize experiential before television- Jerome Saigot, VP, Datsun

A relatively new kid on the block, Nissan’s Datsun is aggressively trying to spread its wings in India. Competing within the budget category is not an easy task for any new entrant in the country but Jerome Saigot, Vice President - Datsun, Nissan Motor India is optimistic that by blending affordability with good looks and a strong experiential game plan the brand is poised for success.


What is the marketing strategy of Datsun?

The endeavor is to go closer to the customer. One way is to bring him to the showroom, the other is to take the car to him. We organize several events in this pursuit. We recently concluded an event in Big Bazaar, we’ve displayed the cars at the airport, our each event is unique and based on the targeted customer group. With Datsun we have to do things differently and cleverly because the brand is young and competing with several other brands in the same category.

How do you determine your marketing mix?

Our media mix is determined largely by geographical mapping. We know where our brand is strong and we know where it is not that strong, this way we understand where our customers are. As far as marketing mix is concerned we focus a lot on digital marketing where our spend has increased from 10% to 20%. Our digital strategy is not limited to putting up some banners on some websites but the focus is on interaction with the customers to create strong links between them and the brand. Our top priority remains experiential marketing.

What is your take on television advertising?

Television is good in terms of reach but it is not something we are very aggressive about. That being said, in a country like India, television is not something one can completely avoid. We approach all traditional media with an original style. Besides employing the use of different regional languages, we have partnered with national icon Sakshi Malik as the face of Datsun Redi-Go, we also partnered with the Kapil Sharma Show that has given the brand good exposure.

You said Datsun's top priority is experiential marketing. Please elaborate?

Experiential is key for a brand like Datsun because not everybody knows the brand yet. Yes, Nissan has made its place under the sun but that’s the mother company, Datsun is still having to push its way through. Someone who wants to buy a car below 3 lac is not thinking spontaneously about Datsun, he is thinking about Maruti. Therefore experiential marketing is a way for us to bring the car and customer together and better explain the product attributes. The focus of each marketing activity is always to create an emotional link between the brand and customers because that is imperative for being successful.

What is the share of experiential in your marketing budget this year?

While I cannot reveal numbers I can tell you this- If an agency is coming to see me with an impactful, creative, breakthrough idea I would be able to work out the right budget to execute it and I will always put experiential as a top priority before television.

How is the employment of experiential different for a luxury brand as opposed to an economical brand?

I think it is easier for premium brands to adopt experiential marketing because they know exactly where their customers are. I can tell you exactly where the BMW customers are staying in any city. For us the customer coverage is more widespread therefore our reach has to be more inclusive.

So what is your targeted approach to ensure the brand has better reach?

Our targeted approach is to go upcountry because that’s where a lot of our customers are. And we reach them by selecting the right mix of mediums.

Who are your agency partners?

For creative communication we are working with TBWA, OMD for media buying. For each event we invite agencies for a pitch to select the best for each unique initiative.

What is your message to experiential agencies out there?

My message to event agencies would be to think out of the box. The tagline of Datsun is to ‘break through’ therefore I urge experiential agencies to breakthrough the convention and present us with innovative ideas. In Datsun we like to do things differently and the copy paste approach is unlikely to ever work with us.

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