Restaurant listing service Zomato is gearing up to compete with Yelp and others not just in English speaking markets like London, but also in places like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey where the primary language is not English. Alok Jain the newly appointed Chief Marketing Officer of Zomato shared his plans in an interview with NextBigWhat. “Immediate challenge is that the next launches we are doing are in non English speaking countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey. From a marketing & branding standpoint it changes a lot of things,” said Jain. Edited Excerpts.
What are your immediate plans at Zomato?
As a brand, Zomato is pretty much set in India. As you go global, the challenge is turning Zomato into a global brand. All our marketing efforts are geared towards that. There is a three fold strategy depending on how old we are in a particular city. We drive acquisition to start off with when we enter a city. From there on, we push branding for a better recall. Immediate challenge is that the next launches we are doing are in non English speaking countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey. From a marketing & branding standpoint it changes a lot of things.
What is your marketing strategy in non English speaking parts?
We need local hires who understand the market better. We do a lot of outreach when we launch in a country. We reach out to food bloggers, influencers in the industry and the press. After we hire locally, we try to translate what has worked for us in the past. Each country is unique and we adapt as we go.
What are the focus markets?
We are established in India. In UAE, we are established as well. UK is a big one for us but there is big competition in terms of Yelp and everything. There is a lot of marketing push there. Then we have South Africa and New Zealand where we have left Yelp behind in terms of web traffic.
What are the marketing challenges in these non English speaking countries?
Its too early because we haven’t launched in any of these countries yet. We haven’t faced too many challenges in the B2B side of things because of the value add we provide. When we launch our B2C product, we will have a lot of learning.
How does your international traffic compare with India traffic?
We have about 15 mn uniques a month. India contributes to more than half the traffic but the pattern is slowly changing. For example, Dubai and Philippines are number 2 & number 3 in terms of traffic.
Do you think you have hit the ceiling in terms of number of cities in India?
There are cities you can still go to in India. But we’ve already charted out a few cities in India where we will focus more.
You’ve been doing offline marketing as well..
We do TV ads only in India because we are at that stage in the country. We do a lot of community events. We use those events to engage with our audience.
But is offline important?
Offline also forms a significant chunk. Most of your offline effort is on below the line advertising because we are a restaurant listing service and we have relationships going on with them. They get valuable feedback from us. They help us do BTL drives like stickering. Essentially, we are in the local commerce space. So you can’t be ignoring offline.
What kind of marketing works for you best, SEM?
We are an intent driven business. So search forms a significant portion of our traffic. Ultimately, it depends on where we are. As we move on from driving acquisition, search goes down.
What is your marketing spend like? Average user acquisition cost?
Not a number I’d like to throw out there. Hope you understand. What I can say is that in India our cost of user acquisition is minimal because it is a mature market for us. Comparatively, London is expensive. It is a very sane number. If we are spending x amount per visit, we want our revenue per visit to be more than that.
How do you track ROI?
It has to drive a metric. Like acquisition of web users, app downloads or sales.
What is NextBigWhat for Zomato?
The NextBigWhat for us is to really get into all these new countries and get to Number one spot.
Why haven’t you launched in the US yet?
All in good time.