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Exclusive | Putting right strategies in place, AskMe's Manav Sethi

In today’s cluttered Indian e-commerce industry, being a new entrant, it is essential to make one’s presence felt with innovation and unique marketing strategies. Very recently, AskMe with an aim to get visibility through right medium and channels has been quite aggressively making its presence felt in the market. 

The hostile communication strategy has not only helped the brand make right noises amongst their target audience across geographies since the launch but has also enhanced the engagement factor among its audiences. The brand witnessed significant buzz especially after its endorsement with Ranbir Kapoor.

AskMe which is evolving as a “new age consumer internet brand” has been using Digital/Social media as a platform quite extensively to engage and take forward the brand messaging and bring more clarity about the brand in the minds of the consumers.

With a wide portfolio of cutting edge consumer centric features from local search, classifieds, Deals, Buy Now, Cal l Now catering to lead generation of all kinds of SMEs, AskMe’s features include its availability on Apps, WAP, Voice, Social messaging, Telecos, Web, video platforms etc. It also successfully works on the Business model of generating leads for SMEs and be e-marketplace for them across India and South East Asia.

Adgully caught up with Manav Sethi, Head - Marketing & Digital Products, to get a deeper understanding. He shared the details about how AskMe is a one-stop shop, connecting users with local businesses every day.

Sethi said, “We are at the initial stages of the branding and marketing cycle, therefore, every function plays a crucial part in making AskMe as a household brand name.”

With more than 900mn mobile customers in India and handful of them accessing internet on their handsets, there is a huge untapped market that can be explored. “There are about 48M SMEs in India and not even 5% have their websites which is the first step in online discovery,” he said. 

“Our continuous endeavor is to bring them closer to their potential consumption which has moved to online/digital/apps! We are also lunching vertical specific communities/destinations ( is one such example) where merchants would be brought forth while latent contextual consumption across articles, blogs, images and videos are consumed on these communities.”

For example, if one lives on waterfield road Bandra and are watching Deepika’s new hairdo, they get a Lakme Salon voucher valid for next 48 hrs at Waterfield road! These steps will thereby help creating value both for merchants and consumers. 

Askme is present in more than 250 cities, and out of those, the cities that have performed best for them include quite a handful of metros and Tier 3 and 4 cities. Elaborating further, Sethi said, “We get majority searches from top 10 metros but we are witnessing accelerated growth from Tier 3-4 cities which are now accounting for 40% of our sales. We will keep on expanding.”

Having launched in 2011, AskMe already has over 150k paid advertisers in more than 5500 categories and receives around 3.6 million calls per month. Interestingly, large number of advertisers who started with them on initial trials have now come back and given them large volumes. “We have now ramped up our paying advertisers over the last 6 months,” Sethi stated. Not only that but AskMe app which is available on 8M plus smartphones, the brand has witnessed a phenomenal response from the customers across India.

On asking about the traffic per month that AskMe attracts every month, Sethi elaborated that the traffic is around 12-15mn visitors every month which is growing at a rapid pace. “With India moving towards being a mobile first economy and consumers today preferring everything to be available at one platform, the brand is expecting a huge traction from mobile in the coming future,” he added.

Looking at the rate and the pace at which digital is growing and evolving over last few years, the brand is expecting many more app downloads in the year 2015 with 20 million+ online unique visitors! 

As we know e-commerce industry is not only associated with technology but also with strategy and management. Undoubtedly, promotion of right information is required more than the hardware and physical infrastructure for the sector hence, creation of a policy and regulatory environment is essential for the smooth running and development of the industry.

On asking about the challenges that the organization faces, he said, “Our primary challenge is garnering trust since the e-commerce domain has been plagued with un-trustworthy incidences.  It is important to win customer’s trust as they are the ones who patronize a specific destination to order a product based on the website’s credibility. Also one of the many challenges is customers’ expectations not being met due to the lack of a proper regulatory framework and secure processes. Such instances can be avoided if the company addresses its woes of distribution, warehouse and logistics partners.” By Aanchal Kohli | Twitter: @aanchalkohli



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