In conversation with Dineout’s CEO & Founder Ankit Mehrotra, Social Samosa maps the changes in the Dineout marketing strategy since 2012.
Being a consumer business, marketing has played a very important role for Dineout to launch and expand. Currently, it has a presence in 17 cities with 40,000 restaurants in its fold. Ankit Mehrotra, the brand’s CEO & Founder unravels the Dineout marketing strategy.
Recalling the early days, Mehrotra tells us, “In 2012-14, mobile wasn’t as big in terms of marketing and we had to explore many different avenues.”
In the initial stages, Dineout depended quite a lot on OOH, supported by print. They used to use multiple B2B and B2C businesses like Just Dial for lead sharing. Towards, the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, the mobile revolution began in India and that’s when smartphones started to take off. Ankit tells us how this is when the team revaluated Dineout’s entire marketing strategy and shifted towards digital.
Dineout’s digital journey began with Facebook and Google and eventually expanded to ad networks. By 2016-17, Instagram started picking up, adding a new dimension to their communication mix. “This is when we started marketing directly to the customers,” says Ankit, adding that here’s where influencers became a part of their marketing mix.
Taking quick stock of how things have changed over the years, Ankit tells us that before 2015, 80 to 90% of the money was being spent on traditional media and now, the tables have turned and about 80% of the spends are being invested online on Facebook, Google ads and influencers.
In 2018 however, another shift began, this time back towards traditional forms of media. This was in response to issues that cropped up due to a plethora of influencers in the market.
“From impression led, we moved towards conversion led and eventually adjusted our strategy to have a mix of both. Today, we are doing print, television, OOH and a lot of activations,” says Ankit.
Further, the brand’s social media strategy is focussed on HQ images of alluring food, topical trends (something that almost every brand does), and video content promoting their offers and Gourmet Passport.
Focus on Gourmet Passport
The brand has been specifically promoting Gourmet Passport across social media channels, with standalone accounts for the same across social media channels.
Gourmet Passport’s Twitter channel, while it has a meager following when compared to their Instagram handle, focusses on contests and updates.
Earlier, influencers were only Bollywood persons or cricketers. However, this has changed over time. Gradually, the industry realised that people need influencers who they can connect with ease — everyday people.
Recently, Dineout ran an influencer marketing campaign to promote The Great Indian Restaurant Festival and the bouquet of offers and discounts.
Use of blog as a strategy
Dineout’s blog is used to help people with information and create conversations around food. “Dining out has moved from need-based to luxury-based and people want to know more — blogs are a great way to give people the required information,” says Ankit, adding that they ensure that all the content and authentic and none of the blogs are paid.
Work with restaurants
Dineout tries to be a 360-degree marketing solution for its partner restaurants. “We help curate and promote events for restaurants. We help them cover the entire marketing and not just the business.” Ankit tells us. He further tells us about a new app feature that allows restaurants to add short video stories about special events or highlight ambiance.
In a recent campaign, The Pursuit of Great Taste, Dineout released two video stories. Here, the brand attempted to break stereotypes around alcohol choices of women and food choices being based on appearance. This is a part of their efforts to promote Gourmet Passport.