Our objective is to increase the penetration of classifieds: OLX CEO
We kept on persisting on ‘bech de’ from various directions because you can’t communicate in one way the same thing.
When it comes to buyers and sellers online, for many the line ‘OLX pe bech de’ comes to mind. The company has been in the news recently for posting an over 100% growth in the pre-owned car segment. As many as 200,000 vehicles with gross merchandising value (GVM) of $1 billion were sold every month as against 95,000 vehicles worth $470 sold the same time last year.
Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO of OLX India spoke to Zeebiz on their growth, marketing plans, mobile and content marketing and future plans.
How did the tagline ‘OLX pe bech de’ come to become a household phrase?
When we started our first communication, our focus was that we are a marketplace so how do you get people to come and buy and sell?
It is like the chicken and egg problem. So we thought we would get the sellers first. When we looked at them, our first communication was focused on getting people to sell. The word ‘Bech de’ came in and we realised that this is something very powerful because people liked it.
In between we tried few other things but realised that it is a good thing to reinforce the message. We kept on persisting on ‘bech de’ from various directions as 'Bech de’ is only known in the north of India. If you go to south India, they will have a different phrase for ‘bech de’ in their own language. So, we went out there and created that kind of reinforcement in various languages, regions and also mediums.
Will your future ad campaigns target buyers?
We have done some buyer target campaigns in the past. But, in the end buying is an easy thing which is happening for us, because there are millions of buyers which are looking for good deals.
Even if don’t do focus on marketing for buyers, they will come. But with sellers we need to constantly reinforce the message.
Going forward, we will see both the communications included into our campaigns.
Do you see brands spending more on content marketing in the future than on traditional forms of advertising?
I think we are at a good stage in the country were a lot of people are experimenting and doing good stuff. I think every brand has to start thinking along these lines and if they don’t do it they will face tremendous amount of problems.
Advertising on TV is push content. Today people are moving to digital, OTT (over-the-top), recorded programs and so on. People are skipping ads and even on digital people are blocking ads. So if your content is not relevant and if you still wanted to push it because you have the money, you start failing after some time.
Ad spends will go more on digital than on TV. I also see a possibility of experimenting with the same kind of budget we have for TV but working on digital ads instead. It is already happening in places like China.
What are the opportunities and challenges in mobile advertising?
The advantages of mobile marketing is that it can take you to the location of the person, but the challenge would be to use it very effectively for your brand to make a strong ROI (return on investment).
The starting point is an (app) install. So the question here is how do you create more interesting content to engage and educate the customer to come and join in.
There is definitely a lot of technology coming out but I feel most of us will actually shift to mobile marketing and our major investment will go on mobile. The technology on mobile is going to get better. You will also see mobile websites, which was diminishing due to apps, now getting better. India is on the cusp of a larger growth on mobile and we are all going to be part of it and learn from it.
Which segment for OLX had the highest growth last year? What are your plans for this year?
In the cars segment, for example, we grew by 100%. As many as 2,00,000 vehicles with gross merchandise value of $1 billion (Rs 6700 crore) were sold on our platform. Overall, growth-wise, we are doing very well. We are the market leaders in our space now.
So, from here we are looking at how do we continue to make this better. Everybody is not a classified user.
Our objective is to increase the penetration of classifieds in the market and we believe as a market leader it is our job to do that. And as we do that companies which are in a similar space will actually benefit from it.