Japanese automotive manufacturer Nissan has had to shift from its heavy reliance on brick-and-mortar to online thanks to COVID-19 lockdowns across many markets, but it expects the steps it is taking now will pay dividends offline post-pandemic.

Angie Ahn, assistant GM of digital CE marketing for Nissan Motor Corporation in Asia and Oceania, addressed this topic during Business as (Un)Usual, a virtual panel session hosted by marketing tech firm Tealium.

“Across all of us in the automotive industry, we are all rushing to put in place and snowball plans to make sure the right information is available online at the right time to the right audience,” said Ahn.

And while Nissan had already been planning to enhance the digital customer journey even before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has found the process more difficult than expected.

“We have always identified quick mid to long-term wins for many of our customer experience initiatives,” said Ahn. “But with COVID-19, quick wins in mid-term is becoming more important, more than ever, because it is business-critical.”

She sees data as key to understanding target audiences – whether they are new customers or repurchase owners – and adopting the right tone to provide the right message, at the right time.

“We have to take data as seriously as possible, and with the tools we use as well,” she added.

For her, the current COVID-19 situation has only re-emphasised the importance of using data to create a single view of the customer. This calls for the seamless integration of data across the entire business and external sources, such as dealers.

“In the automotive industry, dealers also keep their own set of data,” she pointed out. “We need to make sure we can connect these pieces back together to the offline experience.”

This would put brands like Nissan several steps ahead for a fast recovery when the pandemic comes to an end.

For more recommendations on how brands can steer their way through the current situation, read WARC’s report in full: Ditch the manifesto ad and take data seriously to steer through COVID-19.

Sourced from WARC