Case study

The challenge

A major European auto brand with a global presence found it difficult to effectively use the 21 digital touchpoints that its customers relied on during their buyer journeys. Having dealt with customers face to face or via traditional media during its 100-year-plus history, the automaker struggled to pull its digital messages into single customer conversations. As newer car brands entered the fray with full-fledged omnichannel strategies in place, the automaker realized it needed to up its game. Cognizant’s cross-functional expertise—covering deep industry domain knowledge, analytics, customer relationship management and cloud-based platforms—won the client over, and we stepped in to help.

Our approach

Cognizant's manufacturing technology solutions experts proposed a global blueprint that could be deployed across the automaker’s regional hubs in Australia, China, Europe, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. Our recommendation included a cloud platform with a hub concept. The software stack—made up of a range of best-in-breed systems—would provide a solid technology foundation for individual markets while also allowing for considerable tailoring to meet local requirements. This approach meant that around 60% of the technology remains the same across markets while the remaining 40% can be configured to meet local needs, including language preferences and regulatory frameworks.

After agreeing on the basic architecture, we piloted limited-functionality platforms in the UK and Belgium, followed by a full rollout in China. As the automaker’s biggest market, and given the country’s advanced level of existing digital initiatives as well as its stringent laws around cloud hosting and data privacy, we adopted a phased approach for the rollout in China. The core technology included functionality for campaigns targeting known customers and prospects. This functionality was then extended to cover online targeting of anonymous prospects and programmatic advertising on third-party websites.

Digital marketing architecture delivers a host of benefits

The rollout in China delivered a range of benefits to the automaker. These included the integration of data sources, the ability to exchange campaign configurations and analytical models between markets, and continuous campaign improvement through built-in A/B testing and control groups. Customers in China now enjoy full omnichannel communications, while the platform delivers hundreds of new leads in markets such as the UK—we helped deliver 201 leads and 104 UK sales in two months. The automaker now deploys more efficient and effective digital campaigns and has already seen an uplift in sales as a result—it sold 10,000 new units over a 15-month period. Now, the automaker is gearing up to roll out the technology across its remaining markets worldwide.


new leads generated

From 40 to two days

cut in campaign lead times

31 million+

personalized communications sent in the first 10 months