CMO SpeakDialogue

More than 50% of Zomato’s 30 million plus monthly visits come from its mobile apps

Four months ago, After a 4 year stint with McDonald’s, Rameet Arora joined online restaurant discovery and search service Zomato as its Chief Marketing Officer.

Four months ago, After a 4 year stint with McDonald’s, Rameet Arora joined online restaurant discovery and search service Zomato as its Chief Marketing Officer.

Rameet Arora began his career in advertising in 1996 with Arms Communications. During the course of his career he joined Rediff for almost a year and did a short stint at McCann-Erickson as well.

Then in 2000, he joined Leo Burnett as senior account supervisor. Arora was with Leo Burnett for more than eight years. During that span, he worked as director, corporate initiatives and spearheaded the recruitment and reputation drive. Arora handled brands such as McDonald’s, Hitachi, UTI, Future Group, Asia Pacific Breweries, Heinz and Complan during his tenure in the advertising world.

Prior to joining McDonald’s in 2010, Arora was a part of the founding team of Hindi GEC Colors. At Colors, Arora dealt with branding, consumer pull, launch of upcoming shows and sustained affinity of the channel.

Now In an exclusive interview with Ratnika Swami for India Digital Review, Arora talks about the growing importance of the digital medium, how the online restaurant discovery service market is changing in the country and the challenges faced by the CMOs in making the most of digital. Excerpts:  

1. How does the digital medium – both internet and mobile figure in Zomato’s plans to reach out to consumers?

We’re focused on building our brand franchise with the growing tribe of young mobile and online-centric users. Our marketing effort is a mix of both online and offline activities. As part of our marketing strategy, we use social media to connect with and engage with our user base as well as drive a strong digital campaign. Mobile is increasingly becoming a focus with the explosion of smart phones and shifting internet behaviour (to the mobile phone).

2. How do you see the online restaurant discovery service market in India evolving in the coming years? And how would this evolving market affect Zomato? 

Zomato pretty much defines the online restaurant discovery market in India. We’ve created the market and our focused on growing it. Given the compounded growth in internet usage and explosion of smart phones, rapid growth is inevitable. Particularly in a young country like India which is discovering new food and new lifestyles all the time.

3. What are Zomato’s current digital spends? How do you see them move in terms of growth and focus? 

For a brand that lives in the digital space, it’s fair to assume that digital is a large part of our spend, globally.

4. In the last year, Zomato has been on an expansion spree. And with the fresh round of funding, Zomato’s valuations has quadrupled. How is the process of integrating all the acquired brands happening? Are you going to retain some of the acquired brands or are going to bring everything under the Zomato brand?

Zomato has acquired 4 companies globally in the recent past. These acquisitions include MenuMania in New Zealand, Lunchtime in the Czech Republic, Obedovat in Slovakia, and Gastronauci in Poland.

Our endeavour is to build an integrated product which combines the best of Zomato and these companies. The integration is phased out to ensure that the user and merchant experience remains smooth. The combined product offering offers the best of Zomato’s exhaustiveness of restaurant information as well as the core competency of each of the other companies. In fact, three of the current integrations are already live and are being well received.

5. What is your take on mobile being a great medium for brand communication? And what is Zomato’s mobile strategy, including Apps? 

With the surge in smartphones and an increase in the time being spent on mobiles than any other digital media, the apps space is only expected to boom. Today, more than 50% of Zomato’s 30 million plus monthly visits come from its mobile apps across the globe, this is testimony to the fact that local search is moving to mobile very quickly. Our mobile efforts are in sync with a continuously evolving (improving) product coupled with strong mobile marketing.  

6. Why do you think social media marketing is essential for brands? How are you leveraging social media to promote Zomato?

We look at social media as a critical part of our integrated marketing strategy. We believe that if we hit the right chord with our audiences on social media; if they find us fun, conversational and interactive – they’d be sure to spread the word. Through our social networks we aim make an authentic connection with everyone we interact with. We use social media to engage with our users and fan base and sometimes to encourage conversation and feedback.  

7. Please share in brief a couple of digital marketing campaigns Zomato has done recently or plans to do next and what makes them different or noteworthy?

We’ve learnt with time that if you have good content, it will definitely be appreciated. With our content on social media we see a weekly reach of 2.8 million. In particular, our social media post on ‘Things vegetarians are tired of hearing’ witnessed a reach of 5 million.

Here are three of our most popular social media campaigns:

1] There are 2 kinds of people:

On social media & blogs:

– Reach: 1.7 million

– Engagement: 67,992 (on Facebook through likes, shares & on Twitter through replies and favorites and blogs as well)

2] Last meal on Earth:

On social media:

– Reach: 1.1 million

– Engagement: 22,422 (on Facebook through likes, shares & on Twitter through replies and favorites)

3] Primetime Yummies

On social media:

– Reach: 55,8621

– Engagement: 40,998

8. What challenges do you foresee for CMOs in tapping the digital medium?

When a brand exists and lives in the digital space there are obvious challenges in dealing with diverse markets globally and regionally. Digital access, quality of access, device and platform penetration and social behavior all differ from country to country.  

But, digital has also brought alive a myriad of opportunities. By definition great brands surprise us with their ability to customize and yet they have an underlying sense of familiarity. The digital medium has made this more possible than ever before.

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