How to drive digital effectively

Suzuki faced a common challenge for brands: how to talk to drivers while they're in their cars. Here's how Waze helps

How to drive digital effectively

If someone told you 67% of the UK workforce spent up to 110 minutes a day unreachable by digital messaging, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d gone back to the days of WAP phones and bird flu. But this is the proportion of people driving to work every day right now. And it goes without saying that they’re not on their phones.

Jess Phillips, digital manager at Suzuki, looks at some of the biggest challenges in reaching drivers online, and how new technology like Waze is helping her overcome them.

What are two of the biggest challenges you are facing at the moment?
One of our biggest roadblocks, if you will, has always been talking to drivers online while in their cars, for obvious reasons. This makes two things difficult. It impedes us from having an always-on presence, therefore debilitating our ability to drive constant long-term consideration for Suzuki, and consequently, makes it difficult for us to reach these drivers further up the awareness part of the [marketing] funnel.

Another major industry issue is that many dealerships are clustered very closely together, so offline advertising opportunities are sparse. This makes it difficult to reach drivers in the consideration section of the funnel.

However, by directly targeting drivers, not only in the right place but in the right mindset, through technology, it gives us a very neat diversion and allows us to have an always-on presence, giving us frequency and recognition. You get the best results, though, when you link it with a short-term activation. This allows you to use online, in-car, to target consumers further down the funnel who are actively looking for a deal.

Every year we’ve hosted a Suzuki Weekend Event – a nationwide exclusive dealer event where we off er a guaranteed discount off a large range of vehicles. This is when we absolutely have to drive awareness and footfall. We use a platform such as Waze in the two weeks prior to the event to drive awareness, and then specific deals on the day to push consideration. Afterwards, we can see how many people navigated there on the platform.

How does it tackle these issues above other channels?
Waze brings us a new metric in terms of digital investment, and it does this in two very distinct ways. First, it influences incremental footfall through its native ads. If we advertise on the platform, we can drive people towards the dealerships, and more important, actually see how many people end up there. Second, it gives us an online connection with drivers when they are near our dealership. Traditionally, the main ways to target them were radio and OOH, but with Waze working in conjunction with those channels we can move toward a truly always-on presence.

And do you have any figures to back this up?
Waze specific figures show that when using Waze, the influence it has on incremental footfall has seen us triple customer visits to dealerships versus an average Saturday when not using Waze. It is also not out of the ordinary to see Suzuki move up 10 or more places in the most-visited dealer network list when we are on Waze, compared with when we’re not.

Did you have any reservations at first?
We weren’t 100% sold straight away, so we did a test run first, which was a Suzuki Saturday. This worked really well, so we moved to a three-month always-on car dealership trial. We’ve been an always-on client for nearly two years now.

Why should other brands use Waze?
If connecting with drivers is vital to your business, if you have a bricks-and-mortar offering that consumers need to drive to, and if in-car is vital to your media mix, why don’t you have a presence on Waze? It’s the only real digital solution, especially as we’re now in conversations about how we can integrate our radio and OOH with the technology.