By Avik Chattopadhyay
New Delhi: A new factor that has become of decisive importance alongside the “4Ps or Cs of marketing” is “timing” for the marketer. The setbacks from the pandemic have taught us that when to do it is more important than what and how to do. The prudence, foresight and maturity to make decisions at the “right” moment have proven to be the greatest success factor in these difficult times. This is not taught in any textbook. It comes with maturity and a better understanding of general consumer sentiment.
The timing factor has context, relevance and impact. The context has to do with the environment in which the action is performed. Relevance is the importance of the action to specific stakeholders in terms of context. And impact refers to the effect of the action on the relevant stakeholders.
In the past fortnight, I have come across news of actions by various automobile brands that are worth evaluating the timing factor.
1. Mercedes-Benz has launched a super luxury vehicle for INR 2.4 crore that was sold out at the time of its announcement for 2021.
2. Maruti Suzuki announced the opening of a new hospital in Gujarat in partnership with Zydus, which will invest INR 126 billion in its creation and build two oxygen generation facilities at Srinagar and Jammu Medical Colleges.
3. Hyundai announced the opening of 180 “Signature” showrooms across the country to cater to premium customers specifically for products such as Tucson, Elantra and the newly launched Alcazar.
4. Anand Mahindra shared an exuberant “thank you” tweet from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to the Mahindra Group for their extensive assistance in controlling the second wave in Delhi.
5. Kia has announced a specific offer for Harvard alumni [in India] about carnival, who calls it “extravaganza that is deserved”.
Five messages about actions taken during the same 15 day off period.
The context is the same.
The stakeholders are more or less the same.
The effects will of course be different for everyone.
Action # 01.
Great statistics. Terrible timing. This could have happened later, after the second and third waves flattened and general consumer sentiment was on the upswing.
Source: Economic Times
It is not about determining how rich the rich Indians are. We know that only about 2-3% of the land controls nearly 70% of the wealth, but this is not the time to prove it. The 50 bookings would have been made if you had decided to bring the vehicle.
The fact that many auto journalists have agreed to test drive the vehicle and do shows and reports about it, and the 50 bookings also speak of the island world in which they live.
Action # 02
Perfect timing. There is nothing more to say here.
Source: ET Auto
Action # 03
Is this the best time to invest in wood veneer, leather, chrome and glass for the select few? You were one of the few automakers doing a good job on the Covid aid, but couldn’t that have waited a few more months? The showrooms could have gone on without a fuss to save you the blush. Bad timing again!
Action # 04
There is nothing like confirmation like this in these times.
Perfect timing from both to foster the bond the Mahindra brand has with everyone’s heart right now. Need not say much. Perfect timing!
Action # 05
Good idea to address certain customer segments. But to advertise as “extravagance” in these times is the wrong time. Exclusivity must always be sought. At the moment empathy is required.
This was a great opportunity to take a niche product and establish it in terms of the role it could play in bringing joy to people, true to its name. Since you’ve also chosen to reach out to select people, face-to-face contacts might be better than social media, which could backfire on the news.
Mercedes-Benz could have postponed the start. Hyundai could have made a silent roll-out. And Kia could have communicated better. Not that any of their actions are at fault, for in better times each would be a manifestation of a positive, vibrant and driven economy. Anyone would have sent the desired signals to the larger market.
Timing for tomorrow’s consumers!
Car brands are preparing to serve Generation Z customers. You deal with topics such as sustainability, empathy and social responsibility. They rate and choose brands to associate with based on how their tribe takes on each of your promotions. Our generation has been more indulgent and indulgent with its missteps after liberalization. These youngsters are fearful but patient and liberated.
In a seminal May-June 2020 article in Intelligence, John Protzk states that Gen Z is defined by “Delayed / Deferred Gratification,” which Wikipedia describes as “resisting the temptation of immediate pleasure in the hope of receiving” a valuable and sustainable reward is described in the long term. It describes the process the subject goes through when resisting the temptation for an immediate reward and giving preference to a reward later. “
The excerpts from two remarkably interesting Gen Z reports from Kronos / UKG and HaikuJAM give you a glimpse into tomorrow’s consumers.
Source – Excerpt from “Meet Gen Z” report by Kronos / UKG, 2019
Source – Dhrupad Karwa, HaikuJAM, 2018
To be “digital natives” [not necessarily digitally literate], They place a high value on the social chatter that goes on around them, forge associations with brands, and focus on thoughts that will benefit them in the long run. And they won’t necessarily “own” your brand in order to consume and experience it.
People value timing as a skill. Be it on the cricket pitch, the soccer field, in business or in life. Mere traditional planning and execution is swooning without the right timing. Not only do you need to do good, you need to be seen to do good.
This skill is not taught in the classroom, but taught through practical experience and empathy. It develops by being respectful and sensitive to the priorities and sentiments of the market. Working with social scientists and anthropologists will certainly help you cultivate this ability better.
Most automobile brands in India continue to place themselves on a higher pedestal than the customer. This is a rude fact that some accept and seek to remedy. Since the car is still a very desirable purchase for most of us, this psychological disparity persists. And hence these untimely strikes!
The car brands [and the collective industry] play a much bigger role than meeting numerical performance indicators, especially at a time like this.
In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s groundbreaking book “Love in the Time of Cholera”, the two protagonists recognize after 50 years of separation that there is always a perfect time for everything, even when they finally come together. But, when timed correctly, nothing in life has the scope to be complete.
Even with the car brands, there is no scope for “excess in times of Covid”!
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely from the author and ETAuto.com does not necessarily endorse them. ETAuto.com is not responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly to any person / organization.)