For the Auto Industry, the light at the end of the tunnel is NOT a freight train. Not yet, anyway.
Everyone has been going on and on about how car sales have taken a nosedive. Some have been calling it a slowdown while the less optimistic ones have labelled it a crash.
While it is absolutely true that the auto industry is in a bad shape, there are things other than the Sales numbers that one can look at to judge where your brand stands.
The auto industry is incredibly important for our economy.
With car sales declining, the auxiliary sectors have been impacted severely as well. Industry experts have been trying to explain the probable reasons behind this prolonged slowdown. Increased fuel prices, interest rate, hike in insurance costs, new BS VI norms and the overall bad state of the Indian economy are some of the reasons being cited.
THERE'S STILL HOPE FOR THE AUTO INDUSTRY
We know that less people are buying vehicles and as a result, sales have been plummeting. This trend has been going on for well over a year now. However, there are some new entrants that have not just beaten this downturn but thrived. Various industry specialists have hypothesised how these brands have been able to do it.
But, the confounding success of these brands is a ray of hope.
It means that customers are still interested in buying cars if the price and the features are right.
MORE THAN JUST SALES NUMBERS
While sales numbers have been the traditional yardstick for checking the state of your brand, there are other measure that one can look at to get a more comprehensive picture. In fact, industry leaders have been calling for the use of ‘retail numbers’ over ‘wholesale numbers’ as a better representation of the ground reality.
Sales numbers are not very good at displaying how people FEEL about your brand.
Here, are a few other things we suggest you look at, instead-
- Customer Satisfaction
- Consumer Sentiment (across Social Media)
- Ratings on independent websites
- Brand track numbers
Let’s break them down one by one.
1. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SCORES
Customer satisfaction is a crucial metric for auto industry. And, NPS® and C-sat scores are good representations of customer sentiments.
Since customers depend on the car company for service, care and communication during the duration of ownership, better customer experience builds brand trust and loyalty. If customers feel safe and secure with your brand, there is a higher chance of repurchase.
What’s more, Net Promoter Score® has been proved to be an accurate indicator of FUTURE Growth.
“Our biggest challenge now is to meet the customer expectations.”
– Rajeev Chaba, President & MD, MG Motor
So, take a look at the Net Promoter Scores of top auto brands in India, here.
Also, read how you can leverage NPS® to boost growth for Automobile, here.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE AND CUSTOMER SENTIMENT
Whether we like it or not, we now live in a digitalised world. While social media does have its drawbacks, it is undeniable that it is an exceptional marketing tool.
If you are need more convincing,
- A whopping 78% of consumers say that a company’s social media posts influence their purchases.
- 53% of consumers recommend business or products in tweets while a further 48% follow through to purchase those products or services.
You only have to do a quick google search to understand how important social media is for developing positive customer sentiment and buzz around a product.
It cannot be a coincidence that the two companies who have beaten the current auto slowdown, Kia, and MG Motors, collectively spent around 100 crores in 1.5 years on massive social media and advertising campaigns.
For auto industry, Millennials are an important target segment. Instead of falsely blaming millennials for the slowdown, learning how to market to them would be beneficial.
3. RATINGS ON INDEPENDENT WEBSITES
Keeping up with consumer reports on websites like JD Powers, Carwale, CarDekho et cetera can give up a cohesive picture of how well your brand in faring, compared to others.
4. BRAND TRACK REPORTS
Marketers know that brands are not just the products that you buy, but the ideologies that you buy into.
It’s smart to check whether the message/sentiment your brand is evoking is the message you actually want to evoke.
We understand that the auto sector is in a pretty bad shape right now. However, sales number cannot paint a complete picture of what’s going on. Looking at alternate sources, like the ones we have suggested above might help you get a better understanding of your brand’s health and its ability to bounce back from this downturn.