#TheSocialCMO: In conversation with Gaurav Mehta, OLX

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Gaurav Mehta, CMO, OLX India speaks on the company’s social media strategy while sharing his two cents on marketing in the digital age.

The world has evolved from digital marketing to marketing in a digital age. To understand the changing axioms, Social Samosa introduces, #TheSocialCMO, an interview series, where we shall get candid with leading CMOs, to learn from the best in the industry.

In conversation with Social Samosa, Gaurav Mehta, CMO, OLX India sheds light on their social media strategy, what worked well for the brand and what the industry can learn from them.

What Social Media means to you as a person and as a custodian for a leading brand?

Social media over the years has become the most important communication and marketing channel for consumer brand like us. Social media is a reflection of how people converse with each other and share information. For us it a human extension of a brand which facilitates conversation with our audience, thereby increasing engagement and trust.

What are the key objectives for OLX on Social Media, please give us a brief on the underlying strategy to achieve the same?

When it comes to social media our primary objective is to engage with our users, listen to them on what they have to say about our brand, business, product, campaign etc. and allow a free flow of conversation.  Being in heart of peer to peer / shared economy, social media becomes a business enabler for us which helps in brining users to our platform.

We have a robust social media listening stacks which helps us in gathering insights into our consumer sentiments and their perception about us. Secondly, content creation is a key area of focus for us, through the support of our partner we create interesting content which resonates with the brand’s identity. Thirdly, social media is a cross domain function for us supported by our customer support team, marketing and product team who very proactively talk to our consumers and seek their opinions on different issues. I think a lot of the product changes happen because of that only.  In a way, social media becomes a consumer hub for us to take feedback & insights real time to apply in different areas such as product & marketing.

How big is the ‘BIG’ idea for OLX? Please take us through the insights and rationale behind some of the successful campaigns from the brand?

Our tagline ‘Bech De’ is consistent and part of our every campaign. In fact, the popularity of ‘Bech De’ has made it a part of our cultural lingo. Such is the strength of ‘Bech De’ that in regional language TVCs ‘Bech De’ is used in the local language (Vitta Dunga in Tamil, Ameyandi in Telugu, and Maari Bidi in Kannada). However, what changes is our messaging. Unlike other online businesses, which have had offline precedents, online consumer-to-consumer (C2C) classifieds didn’t have an offline precedent before OLX came into being and built this category. As category creators, we have had to craft distinct messages to educate the user and break different barriers. This is why you see us running cut through campaigns such as Purana Jayega Toh Naya Ayega’ based on the insight that one person’s dust is another person’s gold to ‘Keemat Bhi, Kuch Keemti Bhi’, reflecting increasing consumerism.

OLX as a brand has been exploring Influencer Marketing as well, the recent campaign #LetItGo has a great mix of celebrity and hyperlocal influencers. What is your approach to Influencer Marketing?

Through our years of producing countless social media, content marketing, and influencer marketing campaigns we have seen a lot of different approaches. We are seeing that influencers have taken on a more prominent role in the marketing strategies of brands.

With our latest #LetItGo campaign we wanted to bring a change in the attitude of hanging on to one’s old belongings, which has been lying unused or occupying unnecessary shelf space.  We launched the campaign just before the beginning of Diwali celebrations, to help people let go of their unused stuff that is cluttering their closets in this festive season without much hassle. So far we are seeing high interest from our users and even celebrities are participating in the challenge of selling their unused items on OLX. We hope that our users continue to imbibe this idea, & make it part of their lives.

Please share some tips on the use of Social Media for digital businesses and startups?

  • Focus on platform where your customers are
  • Go deep, not broad- Become an expert of the channel most important for the user
  • Attract influencers voice on your channels
  • Activate engagement with users
  • Identify quantifiable metrics to measure success (Such as response time, sentiments, Brand engagement)
  • Having a creative punch
  • Capabilities of social listening

How do you measure the ROI on Social Media Marketing for OLX?

Leaving performance marketing aside, brand building is the most critical objective for social media marketing. Business analytics lies at the centre of our brand. We as content marketers pour over analytics tools to gain understanding of how our audiences are interacting with their content and where they are coming from — by platform, source and geographical location.

Having said that, one cannot ignore other metrics like Social Sharing, Number of interactions, Brand Recall which helps us dig deeper into micro consumer insights from their campaigns. If users share a content spontaneously it means that our content has a high value for them. Dwell time helps in evaluation the quality of content by analysing how much time users stay on the post/ videos/ campaign page. Similarly, direct and spontaneous comments from users on your websites or pages are an important native advertising metric to analyze too.

OLX has been shifting gears between communication towards sellers and buyers alike, how do you manage the balance between the two? Is the decision based on pure insights or intuition also has a role to play?

Potentially every user on OLX is a buyer or seller at any given point of time. Our users are spread across different segment of geography & demography. We have to communicate to all audience through our two-way communication targeting buyers and sellers. Hence you will always see our campaigns are deigned in such away that there is a balance between seller & buyer centric messages.

Most of the OLX Campaigns explore a 360 degree approach from Radio to Print, TV and Digital. How is Social Media placed in the marketing mix for OLX, what is proportion of spends on social media as compared to the overall marketing spends

Social media is a bulwark of marketing for us. Most of our campaign begin on our social media channels followed by other mediums such as TV, Print & Radio. For eg: #LetItGo was a purely social media led campaign targeted to our users on Facebook & twitter. The proportion depends on the need of the campaign, most of the times it is the starting leg of all our major campaigns.

Your reaction to agency pitches which say we will trend for hours/days/weeks?

Is it on back of a great idea or money? If it is an idea, we are game for it.

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