In 2011, Volkswagen (VW) India made digital marketing a significant aspect of its marketing. It set an objective of becoming the buzziest brand online and ‘‘Innovation’’ was identified as the common thread across all digital mediums.
When VW was launched, people were unaware of the brand and social media was also nascent, thus the focus was on display ads. VW spent 50% of its digital marketing budget on display ads, 30% on paid search and 20% on social media. VW advertised on reputed, influential and high traffic news and information portals and on car portals/review sites. VW understood the customer funnel and worked backwards on planning ad inventories. ‘‘Cost per lead’’ was the key metric to measure any campaign performance.
After brand awareness was built through display ads, VW invested in search engine marketing for organic and paid searches which led to ‘‘Planet Volkswagen,’’(PV). PV represented VW activities on a revolving circular globe with each section designed around a specific theme. PV received good response; however, owing to recession in industry in 2012, marketing had to lead to test drives – hence efforts towards PV were reduced. Two campaigns were launched one after other towards increasing leads.
VW launched New Jetta in 2011 with a social media campaign called ‘‘#AnythingforJetta’’. It revolved around the concept that Jetta gave so much driving pleasure that people would do anything to own Jetta. Twitter was chosen for the campaign to get instant responses and to tap into specific customer segment. VW prepared video content showing people doing quirky stuff for Jetta. Full front page ads were published in leading newspapers, which gave the campaign a big push. #AnythingforJetta became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter and it also led to 15% increase in Twitter users in India.
“Jetta TSI YouTube Test Drive” campaign was launched in 2012, which took test drives from roads to viewers’ desktops, tablets, and mobiles. The idea behind the YouTube test drive was to engage users and let them ask any questions about the car just as they would in a real world test-drive. The campaign, reached 21 million unique users against planned reach of 10 million.
The challenge facing VW was how to break the clutter and engage fans to generate positive word-of-mouth.
The case can be used to assist in the teaching of courses such as Digital Media Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and in the module on Digital Marketing in the core Marketing course for MBA or executive MBA programs.