A Career in Marketing Automobiles

Ajay Ohri | March 30,2013 03:40 pm IST

Would you like to be part of a sector which has strong growth year-on-year and is poised for even more rapid growth? A sector which has a certain glamour associated with its products, where you are responsible for inventories and dealers worth crores? Where you don't just market a product, but a whole bundle of aspirations to middle class families? Then a career in marketing automobiles may be the right option for you.


Marketing automobiles differs slightly from other types of marketing products.

Automobiles are high ticket items (or relatively higher priced) than other goods that are sold. The business is also relatively low margin but high volumes drive profitability. It creates huge number of jobs from the automobile part manufacturers, to the factories to the salesmen employed in dealer showrooms. The automobile business is highly competitive and is also driven by discounts. New product launches (and any product failure) costs hundreds of crores. Besides marketing on price, promotion, the car is both a highly technical product that has huge brand aspiration values as well.


Thus, automobile manufacturers compete on not just multiple technical parameters like engine size and horse power, but the power of brand as well. Thus, Indica is branded the Indian car, while Santro Xing is the sunshine car. These multiple factors for driving sales make automobile marketing both a challenge and a fascinating example of the power of marketing to drive customers towards purchase decisions.


Types of Marketing in Automobiles

There are multiple sub-roles within marketing for automobiles: -


1) Dealer Management - This is similar to traditional channel management for sales and distribution (Click to read article on Sales & Marketing in FMCG). The key characteristics in automobiles are that the automobile channel earns revenue through sales and also significant revenues through after-sales service. The after-sales service is a key component of revenue for dealers in the trade channel and for customer satisfaction. Often customer promotions are clubbed for sales and service, so as to attract people to free service camps, and then offer sales promotional material.  Dealers are compensated for the sales inventory they carry, and the dealerships work on a franchisee model. In addition, dealerships are encouraged to sell car accessories and financial products like car financing and car insurance as separate streams of revenuefor them. Thus, marketing automobiles involves marketing automobiles car service, accessories, insurance and automobile finance. The recent hikes in automobile finance costs in India have adversely affected car sales. But the launch of new models by nearly most of the world's main manufacturers present in India and especially Tata Motor's small car, Nano, has boosted expectations of a demand revival.


2) Market Research & CRM - Market Research is an integral part of automobile marketing. This is because the number of stock keeping units in automobiles varies a lot. People, who prefer blue-colored cars, will rather buy a different brand than buy a red car. Thus, market research helps in getting some idea of what kind of colors, accessories present and other expectations the customers are expecting from an upcoming product launch.


Customer Relationship management (CRM) helps in keeping in touch with the customer. This helps gain revenue not just during the lifetime of the automobile by regular service and maintenance, but more importantly, when the customer is seeking an upgrade or replacement. CRM also enhances overall customer satisfaction with the car and helps in spreading good word of mouth, which is important as people generally consult with their fellow friends and colleagues as the first line of research before settling the mind as to which brand to buy and from where. The consumer decision in choosing which automobile brand to buy sometimes lasts several months.



Ajay Ohri is an alumnus of IIM Lucknow, and has worked with some of the largest BPOs in India (including two BPOs listed on NYSE).Currently, he is running his own database consulting firm, and is the founder of his website businessdecisionstats.com. ...

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abdulla on 10/02/10 at 10:10 pm

iam interested to join with u in automobile segment

Neeraj on 10/29/10 at 11:13 am

I am a management student basically deals in market research & analysis in automobile segment.I have experience of over one year in same.Basically we perform our task through SPSS techniques.we are working for TIER-1 companies.

chandrashekar on 12/17/10 at 12:06 pm

i want to know available courses in automobiles & i did my mba , working as a sales executive in tata dealer.

Scout on 04/24/11 at 04:22 am

Ppl like you get all the brains. I just get to say thanks for he aneswr.