[Interview] There is no one set approach to marketing in India: Sapna Arora, OLX India

Sapna Arora

With extensive experience in M & A Industry, Sapna Arora speaks at length on the evolving market, relevant tactics and tips to the budding marketers.

A marketing innovator, Sapna Arora has over 18 years of experience with global conglomerates such as P&G, Nestle’, and more. Arora moved to OLX India earlier this year.

In an exclusive conversation with Social Samosa, she shares her two cents on the challenges in C2C marketing, leveraging relevant content, etc.


Olx India launched OLX Cash My Car and its ad film. What was the insight behind the campaign? Tell us more about OLX Cash my Car.

The new national ad campaign for OLX Cash My Car went live on TV, radio, cinema theatres, and YouTube in four languages – Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu. This campaign arrived on the heels of a launch and growth of the business witnessed in the past year.

LX Cash My Car has opened 75 stores since it’s launch 18 months ago and is witnessing a double-digit m-o-m growth on the cars being bought on the platform. 

Tell us about the marketing mix of the brand and how much does the digital occupy it?

At OLX, we are platform agnostic and believe that both- digital and traditional media are an integral part of our marketing mix. While the role of digital media is undoubtedly very crucial to our marketing efforts, we prefer to study consumer behaviors to take a call on the media mix. While digital media gets the job done in urban areas, we still rely on mediums like television, radio and OOH to reach out to our users in deeper pockets of the country. 

You recently revamped the logo and the interface of the brand Olx with the added features. What is your strategy to market the change on social media?

OLX unveiled an upgrade to its app and web experience in India along with a new brand identity which was a part of a global brand reform. OLX introduced many new features that are driven towards improving user safety and AI and ML integration for enhanced user experience.

The brand transformation aims to appeal to the global millennials as it brings a refreshed approach to upgrading the lives of its users by making smart choices.

The new brand unveiled recently is designed to reflect a new phase of the company where it will provide users with more services and opportunities to make the best choices for their business, lifestyle, and family.

The new logo better represents this notion by playing on the idea of choice – circling great finds on OLX (the O), and crossing (the x) out the duds elsewhere. It features a visual identity and tone of voice that is more optimistic, ambitious, lively and provocative – the first time the brand has been updated in eleven years.  

Our social media strategy also reflected these changes since our communication bore a resemblance to the new brand identity and consumer segment we were targeting especially across our various mediums such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.

How do you plan to stand out as a brand via festive marketing on social media? Tell us about the three aspects to market a C2C brand via social media platforms to stand out in the market?

The market for pre-owned goods runs in parallel to the new goods economy hence as more people purchase new goods the supply for pre-owned goods increases.

During the festive season, we undertook targeted social media campaigns which encouraged people to sell their unused goods and declutter their homes in the festive season.

3 aspects that can enable a C2C brand to stand out in the market are

The clear value proposition with the messaging: A brand must address a problem faced by the users in its marketing campaign else the messaging can end up being too ambiguous and open-ended

Listening to conversations about OLX: Listening effectively to consumer conversations and ensuring there is a two-way conversation with our consumers.

Leveraging vernacular: Given the audience is spread across multiple geographies, hence C2C brands must communicate in vernacular languages in order to appeal to the right target audience. There is no one set approach to marketing in India hence C2C brands must be cognizant of a region’s tastes and sensitivities before undertaking any vernacular marketing campaigns.

Also read: [Interview] We spend 15% of total marketing budget on digital: Mayank Shah, Parle G

With the launch of TikTok, Vigo, and Likeapp, do you plan to leverage the platforms for OLX India?

We have already begun our journey to leverage platforms like these to position our brand to different sets of audiences, especially the millennials.

We recently created our official account on TikTok in order to curate a hashtag challenge called #OLX Dekha Hai challenge. The aim was to reach out to a wider audience and create brand awareness about OLX with our target audience.

Users were invited to participate in this activity to create their version of the challenge. The campaign garnered over 7.5 billion views.

What are the top 3 challenges you face to market a C2C brand on Social media channels? Can you tell us about the lessons learned from marketing OLX India?

Some of the key challenges we face are:

Targeting relevant users: With diverse platforms and customers being spread out across multiple digital platforms, we are constantly evaluating relevant platforms in order to ensure that we are not missing out on communicating with our target audience. Brands today need to be platform agnostic since consumers can switch platforms today at the drop of a hat.

Capturing consumer attention: It is difficult to get consumer’s undivided attention on any medium, least of all digital. The content has to be engaging enough to gather consumer attention.

Measuring impact: We believe that data holds the key to understanding the market better hence we rely heavily on metrics to fine-tune our marketing campaigns. However, with digital platforms, it can be challenging at times to measure impact. 

One of the most important lessons is that messaging still remains the king. A brand doesn’t necessarily require an extensive marketing budget to appeal to users. If the messaging is spot on then user acquisition becomes easy. 

Rapid Fire:

Three brands you love to follow across social media channels

  • Google
  • Coca Cola
  • Apple

Three marketing professionals you admire

  • Philip Kotler
  • Guy Kawasaki
  • Al Ries

Three buzzwords you think the industry should get rid of

  • Offline vs online marketing – there is no v/s
  • Disruption
  • Digital Transformation

Three trends you foresee in the road to 2020

  • Influencer marketing on emerging platforms
  • Leveraging AI and ML for insight-led communication campaigns
  • Content personalization 

Three tips for marketers in this ever-changing business

  • The market is constantly changing hence one needs to align their business objectives in accordance with the market needs
  • Relevant messaging for consumers 
  • Leveraging content marketing is increasingly important for brands, especially in an age where multiple brands are jostling for mind space with the same set of consumers