Maruti Suzuki may consolidate digital business in 2011

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | December 23, 2010
The automobile company may reduce the number of digital agencies with which it works for the digital marketing of its 13 brands.

Automobile major Maruti Suzuki is mulling over the idea of consolidating its digital business with one or two agencies in the next year. Currently, the company works with different agencies for the digital work for its various brands. Maruti Suzuki spends more than 5 per cent of its marketing budget on digital marketing.

During a conversation with afaqs!, Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager, marketing, Maruti Suzuki, mentions, "We are contemplating consolidating our digital business." He points out that Maruti's digital work -- comprising search, social, mobile, creative and digital media planning and buying -- is split among various digital agencies for its different brands.

Srivastava clarifies, "Consolidation does not imply that we will have a single digital agency for all digital work. It may be possible that we will have two digital agencies for digital work of all brands. The idea is to reduce the fragmentation and consolidate the digital business under lesser number of agencies."

The consolidation will not happen immediately, and the automobile company has not laid out the plan or finalised its digital agency consolidation strategy on paper, adds Srivastava.

However, a source close to the development indicates that the company may consolidate the social media marketing duties, which are currently handled by various agencies. For instance, Interface Business Solutions handles social media marketing for Ritz, Swift Dzire and SX4; NOIDA-based social media agency, Media Redefined handles it for Alto K10; while New Delhi-based integrated marketing communication agency, Markigence Communications handles the social media work for A-star and Estilo.

Most of the digital media buying and planning is handled by Lintas Media Group, which also handles Maruti's Facebook corporate page.

For the record, Maruti Suzuki consolidated its creative (traditional) business with three creative agencies -- Dentsu, Lowe Lintas and Capital Advertising -- and took Hakuhodo Percept off the roster in June.

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