Aishwarya Ramesh

“85% of internet searches are on mobile”: Shashank Srivastava, ED, Maruti Suzuki India

On the sidelines of NEXA Music’s new soundtrack launch, a chat with Shashank Srivastava about marketing to the new age consumer and the role of data in marketing.

NEXA Music was instituted by NEXA in association with A.R. Rahman’s media venture Qyuki Digital Media to provide a platform for young musical talent in India. It has released a music video with musician and vocalist A.R. Rahman titled ‘You Got Me’. Speaking about NEXA Music, Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India Limited said, “NEXA Music was launched with an aim to provide a platform to untapped skill in the country. Through NEXA, we have consistently endeavoured to craft a delightful experience for our customers which goes beyond car purchase.”

On the sidelines of the press conference, Srivastava added that the channel was targeted at urban, sophisticated audiences and the design philosophy of NEXA is intended to reflect that. “That’s why we were clear that this is not just about an automotive brand, this is about an experience and that lifestyle. We started looking at what fields would reinforce these brand values. One was music, the other was fashion and the third was travel. That’s why we had associations with IIFA and Lakme Fashion Week, etc.” he mentions.

Shashank Srivastava
Shashank Srivastava

Srivastava has been working at Maruti Suzuki for over a decade. Most of his career has been deeply entrenched in sales and he had served as the chief general manager (second in command), of the sales and marketing vertical till 2012. Post 2012, he was promoted to the role of executive director where he oversees the sales and marketing vertical as the head.

When quizzed on changing consumer expectations from car brands, he admits that it’s something all OEMs are grappling with. “For the last 100 years, car brands have focussed on showrooms and a physical retail presence – he would come to the showroom, discuss the models, maybe take it for a test drive, etc. But with the digital medium, that has changed completely. The consumer now has access to information from all over the world. In fact, 90% of the consumers have done their research when they come to the showroom and they have an idea of what they want. Earlier, it was the sales personnel who would help them decide, book a test drive, etc…” He explains.

Srivastava opines that the conversations around cars are the same, but they are now taking place on a digital medium. “The consumer is a lot savvier than he used to be, thanks to the democratisation of data. 85% of internet searches are from mobile. When a customer walks into the showroom, he’s the most valuable customer since he has taken the effort to be there. This is different from when a customer calls with an enquiry because there, the kill ratio is much lower. The conversion rate of walk-in customers is always high,” he signs off.