Need to think out-of-the-box & make smart trade-offs

Guest Column: Vineet Sehgal, CMO, Quikr, says that with budget cuts marketers in the post-Covid world should look at reskilling their teams

e4m by Vineet Sehgal
Updated: Oct 16, 2020 9:11 AM
Vineet Sehgal

I won’t be saying anything new if I say that the ongoing pandemic has not only changed consumer behavior and buying patterns, but has made everything digital-first than ever before. However, what has become more eminent is the need for identifying opportunities in different customer segments, sharp targeting and getting powerful, actionable results out of that. Today, marketers are truly aware of the single biggest challenge – understanding the constantly evolving consumer sentiments and buying patterns, especially post Covid-19.

Turn Crisis Into An Opportunity

When the unexpected pandemic first hit, consumer spending majorly shifted towards essentials like grocery, staples, and healthcare. Therefore, we at Quikr, launched stillopen.in to help identify the nearest grocery stores, hospitals and pharmacies, Covid-19 centres, and other stores classified as essentials in real-time for consumers across 23 cities. In an attempt to help doctors and healthcare professionals, we along with Action Covid-19 team (ACT), launched helphospitals.in, to help identify medical equipment that is needed on an urgent basis and connected hospitals/doctors with relevant suppliers who could fulfill it. When demonetization was announced in 2017 and people were facing challenges in finding an ATM with cash, we launched the cashnocash.in, an initiative that told consumers if there is cash in the ATM near them and average wait time.

As a technology platform, we brought our capabilities to crowdsource necessary information and partnered with relevant players in the market so as to bring something useful in the hour of need. It gave us an added advantage of getting consumer eyeballs through the goodwill of driving such initiatives that were relevant, topical, and needed by consumers at that very moment.

The Art Of Knowing Your Consumers

The first rule for successful marketing is to know your target audience deeply. And the best way to do that is by segmenting your audiences based on their past purchasing patterns to preempt their interest in similar products or categories to cross-sell. The ramifications of this nation-wide lockdown have affected consumer buying patterns and with the wealth of data that we have, Quikr is able to understand what consumers are looking for.

With the dramatic rise in online classes and work-from-home (WFH) jobs, consumers are making their homes more suitable for their office set-up, etc. We assessed market trends based on such consumer behavior patterns and associated triggers to scale up focus on WFH related products. For example:

  • In QuikrBazaar, we saw consumer interest rise sharply for WFH products such as laptops and study tables. We focused on this segment, by scaling up our offering to provide a safe end-to-end shopping experience especially at retail stores including safe, sanitized, and secure deliveries.
  • In the Real Estate segment, we saw a surge in the demand for rental homes with people looking to upgrade their home space since they are spending more time at home now than before.
  • In the auto segment, we saw the rising interest in pre-owned cars & bikes, as consumers now prefer to own one over using shared/public transport.

Given the cross-category nature of our platform, we were able to identify such segments within specific categories where we as marketers could focus on. Our product, marketing spends, and logistic offerings were sharply focused on delivering the right experience in these segments.

Reduced Marketing Budgets: Playing It Smart

Post Covid-19, businesses have been focusing on cutting their overall costs, especially marketing budgets. This requires a greater need for deploying the limited resources in segments with the highest demand and best possible returns. It also requires out-of-the-box thinking, questioning some of the preconceived notions about marketing, and making some smart trade-offs.  With digital gaining even more prominence, there is also an urgent need to reskill marketing teams. And while even your competitors may be searching for answers, if you play it smart, this is your opportunity to leap above them in the post Covid-19 phase!

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.

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