Mind your Marketing

Consumers want a wow experience, not just a transactional relationship

| Updated on March 13, 2020 Published on March 13, 2020

Vineet Sehgal, Chief Marketing Officer, Quikr

This week we are in conversation with Vineet Sehgal, Chief Marketing Officer, Quikr. He channelises marketing plans across Quikr and its various verticals in the areas of brand building, performance marketing, partnership and alliances. He has experience in marketing and business strategy across diverse industries such as telecommunication, FMCG, banking and management consulting.  He has helped scale several operations from start up to maturity in some of the world’s leading organisations such as Nokia, Nestle, Accenture, Cadburys and HSBC. 

1. How are millennials and GenZ different in making their choices? What should brands do to convince them to buy their products?

The consumer behaviour of millennials and GenZ and their responses to situations are unique. They are world citizens, yet have a strong sense of national identity. They don’t have any baggage of the previous generations, be it economic, social or cultural. They are equally at ease with global trends or local issues; and are smart, opinionated and de-attached. They find fulfilment in their devices. They live in a world where enhancement, entertainment and expression dominate their buying decisions. All these factors contribute to the way brands strategise their marketing approaches for them.

A few best practices for brands that can go a long way:

● To be authentic and transparent – brands can’t get away from talking fluff/jargon without meaning it

● The need to speak their language – via mediums they access, like social, digital and video, which are popular these days

● Offer genuine value, tangible solutions, and convenience – have strong messaging that instills purpose and wins their hearts

● Word of mouth – the biggest advertising ever to this generation; however, word of mouth does not necessarily have to be direct. It could also be in the form of online reviews.

2. How far has technology helped in bringing these changes?

The advent of smartphones and access to on-the-go speedy internet are the key technologies responsible for these changes. Social media also plays a major role for brands as they get direct product/service reviews from consumers. From music to ordering food, to shopping to doing business or studying online, the availability of and accessibility to various apps has changed the way GenZ go about their day and it has definitely impacted the marketing strategies of various brands.

3. What are the kinds of customer experiences expected by new-age customers?

Marketers these days face consumers who want a wow experience, not just a transactional relationship. A simple, seamless, consistent and transparent experience is a big wow factor for consumers. For example, Amazon’s no-questions-asked policy of returns is a great consumer experience and Uber’s instant refund of disputed amounts is a big wow factor.

Vineet says…

1. My top three marketing mantras

● O2O - Online to offline. Creating a seamless experience for our customers through

every channel. For example, Quikr meets customers offline through the physical

experience zones and stores, and online through the website and mobile app.

● Authenticity and transparency

● Simple and consistent consumer experience

2. One strategic change we plan to execute by 2020

No big strategic changes, but our marketing will become even more razor-sharp for

different consumer segments across our verticals

3. Three words I believe define a hot brand 

Innovative, disruptive and nimble

4. A powerful ad campaign I liked 

My personal favourite is Swiggy and their campaign #WhatsInAName. It is a unique take on millennial behaviour that asks customers to call delivery representatives by their names instead of using the moniker Swiggy. It showcases the need to address delivery executives with dignity. In a way, it resonates well with our brand since we too have doorstep delivery executives and pick-up & drop-off field executives who are constantly on the road to cater to our customers. It is nice to recognise delivery partners by their name. This campaign conveys a simple, yet powerful message.

 

4. With benchmarks set higher, how do brands strategise to keep customers satisfied?

First, it is important for a product/service to understand what the consumer pain point or problem is. Secondly, try and solve it. Once the brand creates a simple and seamless consumer journey, whether offline or online, to enable the consumer to buy/use/experience the product or service, the roadmap is set in place. The brand can then communicate the benefits to the consumer and ensure that it is consistently delivered to avoid any gaps between expectation and experience. For example, at QuikrBazaar, we have enhanced the overall customer buying experience with the O2O strategy, thus deepening our footprint in the market. Whether the customer is online or offline at any of our QuikrBazaar retail outlets, he/she gets the same experience and is able to shop in a seamless manner.

5. What should a brand do to stay ahead?

Today’s competition among brands is relentless, hence, continuous innovation has become a key to stay ahead and be relevant. It has become imperative to not just look at the obvious consumer needs but to also focus on the unsaid/unstated consumer needs. Brands should give a complete solution to a consumer – whether functional, emotional or financial. It is highly important for brands to simplify consumer experiences across the entire value chain. The whole idea is to ensure that the customer is not stuck or kept waiting for solutions at any point in time.

6. What are the three secrets to successful branding?

A brand should have great products or services that solve a genuine problem or the pain points. They should offer great consumer experiences that lead to positive word of mouth and recommendation to others. They should have well-researched and narrowed audience targeting and messaging.

7. Can a one-size-fits-all approach work in a differentiated market such as India? 

Definitely not. India is a highly diverse market, not just geographically but also economically, culturally, demographically and even in terms of attitudes. A brand needs to identify its core target audience, understand the nuances of that set of audience in the context of their product/service offering and then tailor the messaging accordingly. For a cross-category brand like Quikr, we have unique approaches while marketing our different verticals like jobs, cars and bikes and real estate. Identifying different target audiences, product offering, marketing messages and positioning will give a successful outcome in a varied market like India.

8. Why and how should brands think local?

For brands to think local, they need to understand the indigenous nuances, along with native socio-economic and cultural differences. There is a big difference in the target audience living in Delhi vs Mumbai vs Bangalore. Depending on a number of factors, consumer behaviour is unique, even from one city to another.

9. Many brands are taking different approaches when they are communicating with the Southern market. Do you see any difference in consumer behaviour from the North, in your category?

First, the demographic and psychographic profile of the Southern market is very different when compared to the North or West India. South India, in general, is culturally different, with high per capita income. Studies show that consumers in the South are generally early adopters of new concepts, more accepting and less demanding than perhaps the rest of the country. As a brand, we adapt to these differences in our marketing and communications approach. For example, we had introduced actor Suriya as the brand ambassador for the South Indian market vs Ranveer Singh for the rest of the country. The high response rate for both the strategies worked well in our favour as the approach was well-defined and targeted.

This article is part of a brand initiative by The Hindu BusinessLine to profile marketing professionals from across India.

Published on March 13, 2020

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