#TheSocialCMO Any content that we create today follows an Instagram first approach: Ajay Maurya, Fastrack
The brand’s major focus has been to stay relevant for GenZ and adapt to the trends that keep them engaged. Ajay Maurya takes us through the Fastrack marketing strategy of staying ahead of the time.
An ideal and successful marketer is the one who understands his customer in and out. Perhaps this has been the golden thumb rule ever since, believes Ajay Maurya, Marketing Head, Fastrack. In conversation with Social Samosa, he talks at length about the various initiatives and campaigns executed by the brand, the pandemic impact on business, Fastrack marketing strategy, social media communication, and more.
The tables of marketing were turned when the pandemic hit the globe. What did the marketing blueprint look like for Fastrack?
Our thought during this period was to stay relevant and continue to exist in Gen Z’s conversation to connect with them. We came up with a range of conversation starters, challenges, and activities for our audience to stay constantly engaged with us.
Some of the brand conversations that we had implemented during this pandemic:
- Taking note of our audience’s new ways and styles of working out, we rolled out a marketing communication paired with Fastrack Reflex, our fitness band. A #Reflexing challenge – talking about how fitness is best enjoyed in pairs and working out with your buddy, who is now your virtual workout partner. Here, we challenged our users to share a video with us of them exercising together, virtually – with an objective to keep them engaged and to add a twist to their regular workout regime.
- To connect with them and to capture what they have been up to during this gloomy lockdown, we released a video portraying their true selves and how they have made staying indoors fun and happening. Encouraging them to continue doing what they are passionate about.
These initiatives worked for us and we managed to sustain our engagement rate, with an increasing base of followers on social platforms.
The Campaign objective behind #StartAnywhere? How did you decide on your current content hooks on traditional and digital platforms?
We work closely with this ever-evolving Generation Z and narrowed down on an insight that they don’t believe in any set definitions, don’t have time to plan or wait, and thus are quite fluid in their choices. This applies equally to their idea of fitness. So we wanted to start a conversation about how GenZ fitness needs no court or gear, and their fitness journey can start anywhere they want it to.
On TV, we made sure to focus on the key USP we wanted to highlight – 10+ sports mode while taking a quirky route on the various mode available. On Digital, apart from promoting the product, we had an influencer marketing leg with top influencers like Eshna Kutty, Agasthya Shah, etc. They brought alive their own authentic take on the modes available.
How does the brand sustain the youth connect through products and communication?
Over decades, Fastrack has always stood as a brand that speaks to the youth. Gen Z’s are changing and evolving with the times, and their definition of fashion is changing. Our product and communication language have also turned a new leaf. We launched some new differentiated product offerings like – Fastrack x Ananya Panday: The Ruffles collection, The Gamify collection, and the stunning new dual-tone smart band – The Reflex 3.0.
We tried a UGC approach during the lockdown of designing our watches, with inputs from our audience on popular lockdown terms. This doubled the engagement with our audience and some interesting new designs for the brand. Our communication approach has made a shift to be more aligned with the mindset of youth today. Starting from encouraging them to be themselves and ruffle some feathers with the Ruffles Collection to our latest smart band TV ad for Reflex 3.0 that asks them to kick start their fitness journey just about anywhere aligns with this mindset.
Also Read: #TheSocialCMO Facebook yielded maximum results in creating awareness: Ajay Dhyani, Timex Group
How has social media been helpful in engaging with your consumers? Which platform has yielded maximum results for the brand?
Our audience is digital natives and spends their time on social platforms round the clock. It is quite interactive as a media option and is the best platform to hear their stories. Our aim is to strike a new conversation every day and keep them engaged with us. Be it a trend or an all-new exciting launch.
When it comes to Reflex 3.0, our social handles have played an important role in creating conversations on the range of sports mode and capturing their reaction to it. Instagram is our highest engaged platform with a follower base of 745K. Any content that we create today, follows an Instagram first approach.
What are the tools in place to measure the ROI? How do you ensure that the content and marketing tactics lead to on and offsite sales and boost the business growth?
With mainline marketing, for every campaign planned we make sure we measure the Average Daily Sales during the campaign period vs pre or post. Another metric which we track is the number of walk-ins in-store and inquiries we get from consumers in-store, online, etc. to see if the campaign has gained traction.
While for digital, the content engagement rate is the key metric followed by the quality of real time traffic leading to the website, resulting in online conversions on store walk-ins.
Content and Influencer marketing have found a prominent presence in every marketer’s guide. How has Fastrack leveraged the trends? How often do you engage with influencers and what has been the result?
We do Influencer marketing in a big way to bring authentic engagement from young and talented content creators from different genres. Earlier, most brands would feature pretty brand ambassadors and celebrities, but today conversations have moved to people being real.
GenZs connect more with real people and real experiences. You will be surprised to see how raw and talented some of these young creators are and we want to give them a platform with our brand and create content that is authentic to them. #FlashyourFastrack is one such ongoing property for young budding influencers and creators to showcase their creative talents in photography. These posts on our handle are the ones with the highest engagement.
A lot has been said about Tier II & Tier III consumers being the focal point of economic revival. What is your opinion on the same? How do you plan to connect with these consumers through marketing/advertising?
The Tier II & Tier III markets are big growth drivers for most brands and categories. Though we have a very strong presence across the top eight cities in India, for Fastrack, we’ve seen higher growth in tier II and tier III markets compared to metros especially during this pandemic time. But the reality is, the youth across non-metros and metros are fairly similar when it comes to their attitude.
The interests are aligned, be it Korean series on Netflix or shopping for fashion online. So our approach to creating content remains the same for both, but we do have higher spending in Tier II & Tier III markets to ensure we capitalize on the growth.
In terms of ad spends, what does your marketing plan for this quarter look like? Would your budget allocation for various mediums change in 2021?
We are aware that the consumer has changed in this one year and thus we’ve ensured to be a lot more agile in our marketing plans to accommodate this. Digital media was always on the rise but after the pandemic has hit us, the focus on this media is heightened.
In mainline media, our plan is more region focused. If some markets are not ready then we shift focus to other markets. We are also investing disproportionately in Tier II & III markets apart from metros. Experimenting with Outdoor, Print, IPL on Hotstar and digital at large.
What are the key factors that have strived your personal growth as a marketer? Your Marketing Mantra- basically.
We as a marketing fraternity have witnessed dramatic changes in way things are implemented on ground compared to how it was a decade ago. However, the fundamentals still remain the same. Personally, I have always believed in the 3Cs – Customer, Category and the Competition.
Listening to your customer day in, day out through different platforms and to make sure that the brand is well aligned to their needs and aspirations. Keeping a close eye on evolution of the category and forecasting the future developments basis trends in the associated categories. Last but not the least, keeping a close eye on direct and indirect competition and staying abreast with all their latest developments. It gives you a lot to learn and always keep you on your toes.
How would you define the ‘Marketer of Today’? How much of your marketing skills have evolved with the changing times?
Understanding the pulse of your consumer, speaking to them in their language, and making products that suit their needs is the way forward. However, with the advent of new dimensions in technology, the skill set required to accomplish some of the marketing plans have definitely changed. Digital marketing in itself has become so vast with new disruptions happening now and then.
Top 3 tips you would like to share with the industry leaders for marketing in the category in the post-COVID world
There are no guidelines that one can follow, since all of us are grappling with newer challenges which this pandemic has thrown at us. However, after battling a year of covid already, we as a marketing group at Fastrack have definitely learnt a lot about navigating through such tough times. Our key learnings are
- Keep your ears to the ground. Keep listening to your customer regularly and find out ways and means to connect with them. Brands who stood close to their customers during these tough times did really well.
- Agility to adapt to new business requirements, which historically may not have even existed. Faster we accomplish these requirements, better are the chances of growth.
- Time for new explorations. These difficult times give you the time to step back from daily operational juggle and think about new innovations, which could disrupt the category itself or give you new opportunities of inorganic growth