Will have to constantly innovate and deliver better than the best: Debojo Maharshi, CMO, Spicejet

In an Interview with exchange4media, Debojo Maharshi says the main challenge was to re-build customer trust when the airline faced challenges three years ago

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Oct 6, 2017 8:30 AM

About three years back, Spicejet was facing a crucial time as the company was in excessive debt. It was on the verge of closing down but after the takeover by Ajay Singh as CEO, the company's fortunes turned in the last two years and it gained nine consecutive quarters of profits.In an interview with exchange4media, Spicejet CMO, Debojo Maharshi shared his views on how they built customer trust again. Excerpts:

Spicejet has been in the Indian market for more than a decade. What are the key challenges you have faced and how did you tackle these?

Over the last 10 years of our existence, there are several challenges that the SpiceJet brand has faced. However, the chief among them would be re-building the customer trust, which the brand lost due to the airline going under about three years back. Since then, several other pertinent issues like customer retention due to enhanced competition from new entrants have come-up.
SpiceJet is constantly innovating and coming up with products that match customer expectations, offer seamless experience and offer value for money. To meet consumer expectations we will have to constantly innovate and deliver better than the best.

Till 2014, the company was in huge loss but after the takeover by Ajay Singh, the airline’s fortune has completely changed. Now you are among the few airlines in India who are showing positive results. What according to you was the turning point?

Operational efficiencies, exceptional products combined with strong focus on revenue and ancillary revenue led to industry leading load-factors and nine consecutive quarters of profit. SpiceJet also recorded the best on time performance amongst all airlines in India in the year 2016-17.

How is Spicejet leveraging social media to spread brand awareness?

SpiceJet has been extensively using social media to spread brand and product awareness. The social media handles of SpiceJet divulge information pertaining to special offers, new products, destinations, local culture, cuisines, entertainment options, weekend getaways etc. SpiceJet also utilizes social media for Online Relationship Management (ORM). SpiceJet enjoys the best turnaround time on social media for any airline and is the first airline to receive the “most responsive” badge on Facebook.

Any new campaign in the pipeline?

Every year the airline comes out with sale and product campaign strategically. Our new flight campaigns are regularly run in the regional and online media. We propose to release a national campaign to promote our crazy flight plus hotel offerings.

What is your marketing mix?

We at SpiceJet always try to reach out to the audience across as many stations as possible given our current fleet through a variety of channels including online and traditional media formats.
One of our primary communication networks is the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network. We also use Adobe Campaign Management (AEM) and Adobe Analytics for personalized campaigns by segmenting large amount of data using multiple filters. AEM has multiple channel capability, which helps us in creating robust multi wave campaigns. On the traditional front our campaign channels include television, print, radio, OOH and activations. We also use inflight communication mediums and flying billboards to reach our TG across the expanse of the country. 
Recently you ordered new airplanes from Boeing. What are the timelines and how will these new airplanes will be used?

SpiceJet and Boeing have recently announced a deal for the purchase of up to 205 airplanes. We enhanced our existing order of 55 aircrafts with an additional 100 from B737-8 MAX and 50 purchase rights for B737-8 MAX and wide-body aircraft. 
The delivery of the new aircraft is expected from August 2018 onwards in a phased manner. Since SpiceJet is all about democratizing air travel and connecting India, we plan to use the new aircrafts to open several new stations and routes including international ones.

What are your views on the new UDAN Scheme?

SpiceJet operates India’s largest regional fleet and has always been a firm believer in the growth story of India’s smaller towns and cities. The new UDAN initiative (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) is a key initiative of our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to connect the entire country and is a great step forward to democratise air travel. SpiceJet has pioneered the concept of regional travel and will remain a key player in “connecting the unconnected” parts of the country and make air travel affordable for more and more people in the days to come.
The airline already participates in the UDAN scheme and plans to add more flights in the next phase of the scheme.

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