Speeding Up the Limbo
In a conversation, Farhan Hadi, AGM and Head of Marketing, Rangs Limited explicates the effects of COVID-19 on the automotive industry, the inevitability of digitalisation and the future of the marketing profession.
COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people view public transport. Has the pandemic forced people to lean towards private vehicles to ensure hygiene and social distancing?
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted people’s mobility behaviour, transport sector and as well as on the environment. A lot of the potential risk of infection on public transport depends on how crowded they are, and so how far away you can keep from other people. Even though offices have resumed, regular commuters are trying to avoid public transport as coronavirus is a contagious disease. As a lot of workplaces have implemented work from home and roster by limiting the workplace commute, these individuals are investing in bicycle or bike for ease of transport for short travel distance. However, individuals who have to commute further for work or business purposes and with more family members are considering investing in owning a private vehicle rather than investing in other asset accusations. Since maintaining hygiene and social distancing is topmost priority adjusting in this “New Normal ” to protect own and family’s well being; people are actively thinking to replace public transport/ ride sharing with their vehicle as they have more control over vehicle disinfecting and social distancing.
Due to the pandemic, tangible marketing activities (test drive/ fair) will most likely remain suspended for the foreseeable future. What are the contingency measures have you taken to substitute its (physical communication) need?
Marketing activities such as exhibitions and product demonstration attract customers to not only explore the vehicles upfront at their ease but also get to answer to their queries upfront from the sales personnel. Since all public gathering is discouraged in this pandemic, Mitsubishi Motors Bangladesh has sought a solution to serve their customers effectively. At Mitsubishi Motors Showroom we have implemented strict guidelines and taken all protective measures to protect our employees and customers. We have implemented an online product demonstration service where customers can ask our sales personnel to demonstrate vehicles of their choice and consult from the comfort of their home. For a worry-free walk-in experience, we have taken the following steps in our showroom- temperature check before entry, mandatory face mask, hand sanitization, social distancing and frequent sanitization of the premises. As a preventive measure, we frequently sanitize our display vehicles and test drive vehicles for a worry-free experience in Mitsubishi Showroom.
How much do Mitsubishi Motors Bangladesh’s brand value and reliability affect consumer preference?
Mitsubishi Motors is a brand that has been serving automotive customers for more than 100 years now, we have a strong brand heritage and a strong line of products to serve all ranges of customer needs. Our vehicle lineup is carefully catered to every class of consumer and we are one of the pathfinders in global PHEV and Electric vehicle technology. In Bangladeshi Market, our Mitsubishi Pajero and Lancer EX models are ubiquitous, the Pajero defined the luxury SUV class in our market.
Our vehicles are tested thoroughly in different scenarios and they’re proven to be capable on any road condition, in fact, the Mitsubishi Xpander, Eclipse Cross, and Outlander PHEV have won numerous prestigious global awards. We also have our very own setup to cater to those who require specialized car care as our Rangs Workshop unit is well equipped with Mitsubishi certified professionals and collection of genuine parts to service any sort of Mitsubishi vehicle.
How crucial has it become for the automobile industry to use digital marketing to fuel their business prospects?
Automotive industry in Bangladesh has been going through dramatic transformations in recent years. Digital and mobile channels are increasingly influencing customer behaviour and decision-making when they shop for cars. With more and more consumers taking the digital route to compare brands and arrive at buying decisions, it, therefore, becomes imperative for auto dealers to go digital to acquire new customers. All automobile purchases are made physically but every sale has a history of online research that takes place quietly behind the scenes. It means that purchase decisions are deeply influenced by the digital marketing content offered to the customers through a suite of mediums.
Developing a strong, customized, and extensive digital marketing strategy is the best way ahead for the automotive industry today. Along with digital presence, incorporating Augmented Reality, 360° Product Visualizer, and online bookings are also being implemented to bring the buying experience straight to a prospective customer’s fingertips. In the current scenario, where health and safety are of paramount concern, digital mode of engagement has emerged as the new normal which is going to continue post-COVID-19 as there will be a significant change in how people will go about their buying decisions – including the experiential aspects, from remote locations, such as their homes, or workplaces.
As an experienced marketing professional, who has worked in a diverse sector, what qualities do you believe are essential to becoming a successful marketing professional?
The marketing we have learnt in school or books is much different than how marketing works. You can never know enough. Self-education is the key to get those creative thinking wheels in motion, learning as much as possible and being updated about current trends and industry practices globally will enable a marketing professional to broaden their view. The success of a marketing professional depends on his/ her ability to understand their audience. The marketeer who can understand and effectively articulate what customers and competitors are doing has a foundational marketing skill. Marketers who learn how to collect and analyze customer data to make better decisions will be in extremely high demand for decades to come. In an industry where the only constant is evolution adaptability, the risk-taking mentality is key qualities for any marketing professional.
Marketing professionals should remember that marketers don’t just work for a brand, they live that brand and have a passion for what they do. A marketer’s best work is not born out of a boardroom or silo. Sales, Finance, Logistics and Marketing is dependent and must work well with all of the employees in these various divisions. Teamwork is KEY to great marketing, and great marketers are humble enough to realize this.