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Marketing is no longer just brand and advertising, it's more about consumer experience, says Gaurav Ajmera of Oyo

In a conversation with, the COO of Oyo Hotels and Homes says that the three main trends that would dominate marketing in 2020 are technology, the always-on strategy of brands and focus on consumer experience

Gaurav Ajmera

The definition of marketing is constantly changing and becoming broader, feels Gaurav Ajmera, Chief Operating Officer (COO) India and2 South Asia, Oyo Hotels and Homes.

Talking about the hospitality firm's approach towards marketing, Ajmera said that for any brand, marketing isn't just about advertising and branding. "It is becoming imperative to understand consumer behaviour, preferences and trends to customise your approach," Ajmera said.

Sharing the brand's marketing strategy Ajmera said, "With a 360-degree approach to marketing, our marketing mix will involve digital, OTT, social media, influencer marketing, TV with relevant budget allocation."


What's going to be your focus area in 2020? Last year saw the rapid expansion of Oyo across the globe. What's the strategy for this year?

2019 has been a great year for us. The focus was on connecting with consumers via communication across platforms, understand their feedback and needs and enhance the experience with customised offerings. We also introduced a range of initiatives in line with our commitment to asset owner success. In 2020, our focus would continue to be on enabling asset owners to realise high yields from their assets and consistently deliver high-quality customer experience.

How do you approach your marketing strategy?

We undertake a 360-degree marketing approach and design campaigns on the basis of audience need, preferences, the platform, business goals and focus a lot on the content strategy. With evolving consumer needs and behaviour, the marketing mix also evolves. Right from building brand awareness through ATL, which enabled us to reach out to the mass audience and offline marketing, today, we are more focused on performance marketing. We communicate via digital channels to target the millennial generation given the platform preference. Compared to other players, WOM campaigns and repeat customers have hugely helped us grow our recall and reach. We will continue to focus on WOM campaigns in 2020 to engage with our target audience and build top-of-the-mind recall.

How do you see advertising and marketing trends evolving in 2020?

The definition of what we consider as “marketing” is constantly changing and becoming broader. It is no longer just about branding and advertising. It is becoming imperative to understand consumer behaviour, preferences and trends to customise your approach.

Some trends that will gain traction in 2020 are:

Technology in marketing: The concept has well made its way into marketing strategies of brands; it will gain further ground in 2020. Leveraging QR codes, using artificial intelligence to help consumer navigation, extensive use of wallets to make a transaction and last but not the least investing in real-time research tools for consumer insights are some trends one should keep an eye on.

Always-on strategy: As today’s viewer is slowly and steadily moving from a single screen household to a multi-screen/ multi-platform household, brands will be looking at building an always-on strategy that would constantly target multiple user profiles through OTTs/ social media and other platforms and not ‘a one size fit all’ approach.

Customer Experience: 2020 will be the year of customer marketing. It will not just be about how good the product or key service is but also about the experience that will keep the customer coming back for more. Efficiency, convenience, knowledgeable and friendly service, up-to-date technology, personalisation, easy payment options coupled with some traditional aspects like an easy mobile experience, brand image, and design all add up to the overall customer experience.

Do you plan to increase your marketing budget in 2020 given that the competition is intensifying?

As mentioned earlier, we plan to focus on WOM campaigns and strengthen our engagement with customers and asset owners alike. Our marketing budgets will solely depend on the needs and preferences of our target audience.

Which medium is going to be the core of your advertising plan this year?

At Oyo, our decisions are not made by what our category is doing, it is based on current trends and customer behaviour. With a 360-degree approach to marketing, our marketing mix will involve digital, OTT, social media, influencer marketing, TV with relevant budget allocation.

What's the brand's outlook in the next three years?

We are focused on delivering our brand promise and mission of upgrading all forms of real estate and thereby enable over 3.2 billion middle-income travellers and city dwellers experience #LivingTheGoodLife.

Social media and consumer behaviour are changing the dynamics of marketing faster than ever. How do you keep up with the changing trends?

Attention to consumer feedback and understanding their preferences is the best way to be in sync and customise offerings/services.

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