afaqs!

Maruti Suzuki names Digitas as its digital agency

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | July 31, 2013
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Ignitee Digital was handling the digital duties of the brand since 2011.

Auto major Maruti Suzuki India has awarded its digital duties to Digitas India. afaqs! has learnt this from multiple sources. The brand will be handled by the agency's Delhi office.

Maruti Suzuki

Digitas India

Ignitee Digital, which was handling the digital duties of the brand since 2011, stands to be the agency which has lost the account. Ignitee's duties for Maruti included building the website, organising campaigns, ORM (online reputation management) and search optimisation, among others.

Most of the duties to be handled by Digitas will be on the media planning and buying side, along with SEM (search engine marketing) and SEO (search engine optimisation). afaqs! also learns that the agency will be responsible to grow the brand on the social media platforms.

To recall, afaqs! had reported in May that Maruti Suzuki was meeting several communication and digital agencies as a part of what the company prefers to term an "internal review process" in which all the existing agencies on the brand's roster undergo a review.

On the digital front, Maruti Suzuki has worked with several agencies in the past, including Interface Business Solutions (social media marketing for Ritz, Swift Dzire and SX4), social media agency Media Redefined (Alto K10) and integrated marketing communication agency Markigence Communications (A-star and Estilo).

The brand has been taking up quite a few endeavours on the digital front. In 2011, right after signing up Ignitee as its digital agency, Maruti Suzuki launched its first campaign to introduce the new Swift in August, 2011. The company had earlier used digital for the launch of SX4 in October 2009, through a virtual test drive online.

For the record, Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL, formerly Maruti Udyog) is a subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan. The company offers a range of car brands including Maruti 800, Alto, A-star, Estilo, WagonR, Ritz, Swift, SX4, Omni, Eeco, Kizashi, Grand Vitara, Gypsy and Ertiga, among several others.

Maruti Suzuki has two manufacturing facilities located at Gurgaon and Manesar. The company currently employs more than 9,400 people. In addition to catering to Indian consumer needs, Maruti Suzuki also exports cars to several countries across Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Oceania.

Driving it Digitally

According to a report released by Internet and Mobile Association of India and IMRB International, the Indian online advertising market, comprising search, display, mobile, social media, email and video advertising, has reached Rs 2,260 crore by March, 2013, with auto companies comprising 13 per cent of the spends, which stands at Rs 298 crore. Maruti stands to be one of the top spenders in this category. Auto sector stands second to telecom companies, who were the largest spenders comprising 14 per cent of the spends.

Many say that performance-based online marketing works well for auto brands and they tend to spend more on such activities rather than investing on brand building through display ads. And, they have a reason to do this as well.

A recent study by Google states that every third car buyer in the country's top cities starts the search on the World Wide Web. Four out of every 10 new car buyers and three in every 10 used car buyers use the internet to do their initial research before making the purchase decision.

However, with the growth in takers for online video and visually catchy mobile apps, automotive firms have started looking more at display advertising on digital as a brand building tool. Going by the IAMAI report, automotive display advertising almost doubled in FY 2012-13, representing growth of 95 per cent. Search advertising increased at 61 per cent in FY 2012.

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