Cars24 may look at altering its media strategy for 2-wheeler sellers & buyers:Nida Naushad
Cars24, the online marketplace for used cars, has gained unicorn status after $200 million funding round by DST Global. When COVID-19 pandemic struck and business halted, the company temporarily paused its marketing communications and put an end to its offline expansion. Then it was reportedly working with a media budget upwards of $100 million for three years.
Then in October 2020, it launched a high decibel TV plus Digital campaign – ‘Duniya Boli Lagayegi’. Seeing that digital platforms are enjoying a boost in engagement, Cars24 has changed their media strategy, with a greater focus on digital. It has also launched two-wheeler segments in select markets.
In conversation with Adgully, Nida Naushad, Head of Brand, Cars24, speaks about how the brand plans to scale its marketing communications in alignment with scaling of operations post the recent round of funding.
What was the impact of COVID-19 on the marketing function? What is the marketing outlay for the next 3 years?
In the prevailing situation, the ever-dynamic needs of our consumers are now evolving more than ever. To cater to these needs, a business must also be adaptive and adopt strategies that will help it retain the connection it has built with the customers.
For us, initially, the weightage on TV as a media vehicle was high as the objective was to grab eyeballs and build awareness around the unique solution Cars24 has to offer. As the Indian market was already witnessing a paradigm shift in terms of media consumption, hence, we were already in the process of increasing the share of online channels in our marketing mix. However, what was supposed to be a gradual transition, became an accelerated process as the pandemic played the role of a catalyst.
Thus, we adopted a renewed marketing strategy, arriving at 50:50 for both offline and digital channels in 2020 itself. Keeping in mind this shift, the brand was now able to interact with its customers better and understand their current requirements. In line, we released our first-ever digital-first ad alongside MS Dhoni – the ‘Direct Sell Campaign’ – in July 2020.
You’ve entered the used two-wheeler space. Will you deploy a separate marketing strategy for used two-wheelers?
At Cars24, we have tried to cater to the consumer needs of a good customer experience, a great value for money, and peace of mind while he is looking to buy/ sell a car or a bike. Hence, our brand message remains consistent. However, keeping in mind the consumer segment and demographics, we may look at altering how the message is delivered to our potential two-wheeler sellers/ buyers.
The messaging of ‘Duniya Boli Lagayegi’ is consistent with your previous campaigns. How did the creative treatment and deployment of the campaign spark interest in the brand?
Through our campaigns we have always highlighted how we have devised a sophisticated yet effective solution through Cars24 to address the pain points of consumers while buying or selling a pre-owned vehicle. The USPs of our platform – viz., single visit, best price, instant payment, and free RC transfer, have been beautifully captured through the transactional approach in our campaigns, thus, conveying the brand’s customer-centric approach.
Interestingly, through the ‘Duniya Boli Lagayegi’ campaign, the brand for the first time has brought focus to its most talked about feature – the auction, an innovative state of the art feature built on the brand’s strong technology backbone.
Through this campaign, we were able to woo our audience through ‘comedy and interesting storytelling’ by appealing the senses of sound and vision through extremely massy visuals and sonic treatments. This helped in making ‘Duniya Boli Lagayegi’ enjoyable, while also developing our unique brand identity.
Have you had to significantly expand your digital team in response to pandemic?
We already had a solid digital team in place, pandemic led us to change our media strategy and focus on digital platforms.
What kind of media investments are you looking at to increase brand visibility in 2021?
As the digital platforms help us connect and reach a wider audience, even in the hinterlands of the country, we will continue to communicate with our customers and potential customers, making it the obvious choice for further investments. This sector has showcased strong growth and with focussed investments, we are sure to be bullish and witness the same or even better growth trajectory.
By becoming the first unicorn in the used car space, do you see an opportunity to leverage this credibility with used car sellers and buyers?
Being India’s leading online transaction platform for pre-owned vehicles, our efforts have always been channelised towards providing customers with an efficient, reliable, and trustworthy platform. Cars24 has been able to revolutionise the way transactions happen with respect to pre-owned vehicles, on the back of superior tech capabilities with sellers getting the best value for their car, and buyers getting to choose from a wide assortment of automobiles.
These factors have driven our growth in the auto industry, and we are sure that with our continuous efforts, we will be able to sustain this momentum of building trust, being transparent, and providing our customers with a smooth customer experience.