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Cars belong to that category of goods for promotion of which you can use wide variety promotion devices depending on the purpose of your advertising campaign. The Russian auto market has its own features on which you should pay attention when planning the advertising campaign. Read more about car promotion on the Russian market in the RMAA Group Article.
Let's consider key features of the Russian car market. First of all, operation of cars in Russia differs in the fact that a car is a considerable purchase for a Russian family. A car in Russia is not an article of prime necessity; it is purchased for long and used for long duration of time. Thereby, consumers raise high requirements to such parameters as reliability, quality and relevance. In addition, there are good many car brands combining all of the above in each price category, that's why in many cases when developing an advertising campaign in Russia they rely on emotional thrust rather than on car characteristics.
Another interesting factor that you should consider is bad roads. In Russia it is common practice to make a lot of jokes in this regard, and this is the case when there is a grain of joke in every joke, and the rest is true. As a consequence of a long cycle and bad roads, Russian car enthusiasts place a great deal of focus on service. Therefore, while developing an advertising campaign you should pay attention to this factor.
In addition, a few more features of the Russian car market should be noted. First, in Russia there is a considerable market of used cars and you have to compete with it as well. Secondly, there is a factor of seasonal sales: retail sales rise in spring and summer, and corporate clients often update their fleet by the end of the financial year. Thirdly, anyway a price is the prime factor when choosing a car in Russia, that's why discounts and special offers are popular among buyers.
Auto purchase process is characterized by a long cycle: on average it takes 100 days for a car buyer to make a decision on a purchase. During this time he is not only familiarizing with a good deal of market offers and studying different promotional materials, but also actively seeking information about cars. This process can be conditionally divided into three stages, at each of which you need to seek opportunities to communicate with the buyer:
1. Market study. The buyer reads offline information (TV, outdoor advertising, press reviews), watch videos on YouTube, study reviews and surveys, theme-based Web sites, considering more than four brands for the car specified characteristics. At this stage advertising is working for recognizability and loyalty.
2. Narrowing down interests. The buyer selects several models based on the number of criteria (design, configuration, technical specification, base cost, brand awareness); studies media digests, reviews, recommendations of friends, brand and dealer websites, videos on the Web; visits automobile dealerships, demonstrations. At this stage we have to convince the buyer to the choice of a certain brand.
3. Choosing a dealer/making a deal. At this stage the key factors are reviews, site functionality (requests for a test drive, configuration calculation and selection, configurator, etc.), and work of dealership managers at the dealership. Communication objective at this stage is sales increase, stimulation of conversion actions.
Different tools are suitable for each stage, for example, outdoor advertising works only at the first stage, but media publishing depending on the format can work at all stages. Therefore, you should use different promotion channels, selecting optimal suitability for your goals.
Nielsen survey regarding advertising channels efficiency from the viewpoint of car owners in different countries
Media advertising is an integral part of the car advertising campaign in Russia. All media types can be utilized here: television, radio, newspapers, and magazines. According to Nielsen survey, television remains the most efficient mass medium for advertising of cars in Russia. In addition, magazine advertising takes up a good position
It should be noted that besides the standard placement of commercials, banners, layouts and other customary formats there is such a format as native advertising. On television or radio such advertising can be in the form of an invitation to the studio of your company representative who would answer questions of viewers or listeners. In newspapers, magazines and Internet media it can be any useful articles, which not only promote your brand, but also help the reader solve any problems.
Internet advertising takes up leading positions in Russia according to the same Nielsen survey. Use the opportunities that the Internet offers at full capacity. These are online media, car sites, blogs, video hosting services, contextual advertising etc. What websites are more informative according to the buyers? 73% of the surveyed Russian citizens when buying a car will look through the information on specific brand websites and via social media.
Let's consider video advertising on YouTube as an example. According to the statistics, 53 percent of buyers are exploring car content on YouTube, and at this they are searching for answers to various questions:
85% - get acquainted with models and brands;
80% - define advantages and disadvantages of particular models;
70% - choose some specific models;
27% - first get acquainted with a new model/brand.
As you can see, video channel enables working for goal achievement at different stages of the life cycle. At the stage of exploring the market and studying supply a user is interested in the car content in whole, including users’ videos. However, the closer he is to a final decision, the more important for him a brand channel, i.e. it no longer concerns image targets, but activities for sales increase. Understanding what needs video content meets at different communication stages enables using it with the utmost efficiency.
When working with YouTube, the following parameters shall be taken into account:
1. Frequency of video content update including addition of media reviews/test drives.
2. Search engine optimization of pages with video (description, headers, meta tags), including on brand queries.
3. Playlists on selected models.
4. Links to the site and conversion links/elements in videos or descriptions to them.
Such type of promotion as Event-marketing remains popular and topical. The event has been intended to create emotional response of your audience, that's why it's important the held event to correspond to the queries of your target audience. For example, while promoting typically man's jeeps the event may be accompanied by other man's background: brutal music, camouflage, strong alcohol. And while promoting luxury cars, you can create the upper class atmosphere at the event: classical music, posh scenery, high-status guests.
Also, do not forget about the capabilities of outdoor advertising. Outdoor advertising is suitable by the reason that it potentially created for drivers in the first place- the main group of your target audience. Both classic banner advertising and different original concepts are placed nowadays in Russia.
Car promotion in Russia can and shall be carried out using different tools. Television, radio, magazines, outdoor advertising, internet media, blogs, video hostings, social media - practically any tools are suitable for car promotion. The most important thing is to choose an optimum ratio of these tools and build a clear unified marketing strategy. RMAA Group Specialists are ready to render comprehensive assistance in car promotion on the Russian market.
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About the Author
Ksenia Kuznetsova is the Editor of the Blog about Successful Marketing Strategies in Russia. She has been working at RMAA Group as a Assistent of Client Service Director since 2015. Ksenia has experience in planning and carrying out of advertising campaigns for foreign companies in Russia.