Chaitanya Mathur on Zomato's history of experiential marketing

Sneha Medda
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experiential marketing

Chaitanya gives insights on Zomaland and Feeding India while talking about how experiential marketing plays a crucial role in the brand's marketing mix.

Chaitanya Mathur, Global Head, Live at Zomato talks about the brand's journey with experiential marketing and how Zomaland and Feeding India have grown over the years. He also talks about the future of this experiential marketing and how it can be integrated by brands in this brief conversation with Social Samosa.

Zomato entered into the experiential marketing segment back in 2018. Tell us how this has impacted the brand's overall marketing strategy.

Back in 2018, we had a strong urge to take all the love for our online presence - offline. This marked Zomato’s foray into the experiential dining & entertainment space and I envisioned a Zomato-land, Zomaland! Our carnival brings together people, food and restaurants while creating a scrumptious journey further garnished with the best of music, candid humour and other flavours of fun and games. 

Feeding India was an awareness concert that combined community marketing with experiential marketing. How can brands use experiential marketing to make a difference?

We’ve previously witnessed movements like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Global Citizen Festival that really made a dent through community mobilisation. That’s what we are trying to achieve here. 

Zomato Feeding India Concert is part of the bigger plan. Our vision is to create an active community of changemakers committed to accelerating positive change and innovation to achieve the SDG of Zero Hunger, supported by cross-sector collaborations. The Zomato Feeding India Concert will be the first of many such community-driven awareness campaigns to help accelerate our government’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Zero Hunger by 2030. As an annually occurring event, Zomato Feeding India Concert will bring together all citizens of India determined to work collectively and create a large-scale impact. With 7.5 years to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Government making strides every day to combat malnutrition, we need to do our bit too. 

There is a need for a continuous series of action-oriented programmes to empower the efforts of change-makers and match bottom-up innovation with organized expertise in a bid to scale up progress and create a more meaningful impact.

All donations pledged during the Zomato Feeding India Concert and profits (if any) would go towards the cause. With each ticket sold, 10 meals will be served to those in need.

Tell us about an experiential marketing project that has worked excellently for Zomato. After a hiatus of 2 years, Zomaland by Zomato came back, this time covering a larger audience by going to more cities around the nation. How has it performed for the brand this year? The entire experiential marketing industry was poorly hit during the pandemic. How is it reviving now?

In our previous season, circa 2019, Zomaland successfully hosted ~1,50,000 visitors, 300+ restaurants, and served 3.7L+ dishes, along with stellar performances by stars like Sidhu Moose Wala, Badshah, Harrdy Sandhu, DIVINE, Ritviz, Tanmay Bhat, Kanan Gill, Abish Mathew, Rahul Subramanian and many more.

After the two years hiatus that we were confined to because of COVID, we couldn't wait to spring back into action. That is exactly what we did, while patrons can expect everything, we've promised for Zomaland, we've just made it grander in all aspects be it the size of the venue, immersive experiences and space for customers, restaurant discoverability, power-packed performances and most importantly - a variety of food on offer.

This season we have ~400 restaurants, 140+ hours of entertainment with an array of artists ranging from pop, Punjabi, indie to comedy, a brand-new dining experience, some record-breaking attempts, and a lot of food!

This time in Pune, with an already sold-out Day 1, we managed to host an even larger audience on Day 2, with ~28,000 Zomalanders relishing the two-day festivities, we were one of the most attended festivals in the history of Pune. This was followed with even more incredible traction at the Mumbai edition last month. 

Our next focus is the Zomato Feeding India Concert, where Post Malone is just one of the many highlights amongst several others that will take the stage along with the cause. Post that it's going to be all about Zomaland Delhi. 

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Consumer expectations have also changed after the pandemic. How can advertisers keep those in mind while leveraging experiential marketing? Do you think experiential marketing is an underestimated and underused medium in India? What do you think its future will look like in the country?

With the pandemic finally allowing people to step out, we believe the expectation is to make the most of what we have. A concert like Zomato Feeding India Concert allows a gathering of prominent artists, impact makers, philanthropists and leaders and citizens of our country to harness the power of music to raise awareness around a cause - possibly the best use of experiential marketing.

With so many great events and experiences available, especially after the pandemic, the urge to step out is huge! I think the times when we were making dolgana coffee and running a movie night at home are far gone. The only next level with experiential events is going to be around how you raise the bar - and for us, the answer is a concert centred around an integral cause - malnutrition with a youth icon and global artist in Post Malone.

What are Zomato's marketing plans for the coming year?

We will continue to do what we do best - keep the conversation on food alive and brimming across all our platforms. 

Experiential Marketing campaign marketing campaign Zomato Zomaland outdoor marketing Feeding India