CarDekho, a car search and buy brand run by GirnarSoft, has seen a steady recovery in the overall sales this festive season and has been able to touch almost 80% of last year's numbers.
In terms of web traffic, the brand has performed 30% better than last year. As recovery becomes more visible, the brand has prepared a marketing plan for the next calendar year.
Gaurav Mehta, CMO at GirnarSoft (CarDekho, Gaadi.com, ZigWheels), said the brand will spend the majority of its marketing monies on TV and digital.
“While the offline channels will remain, they will be much more closely integrated with digital. Dependence on digital is going to increase in the coming time. CRM solutions, AR/VR technologies, showroom displays: these kinds of digitisation will be seen getting implied in offline channels,” Mehta said.
He said the sales recovery after unlocking has been better than expected. “We thought we would reach 70-75% revenue lines, which is more than 80% now.”
“The interesting part is that this year’s marketing spend is much less than what it used to be. While campaigns are on, 90-93% of our traffic is free now; it comes directly from SEO or direct searches,” Mehta said.
He said performance marketing gives brands short-term returns but TV works well for educating the consumer. “If we do that job very well then the customer sticks with us, it actually creates a base.”
Mehta said the brand will use print very tactically for its branding. Print is for hyper-local marketing and that’s why there were a lot of campaigns around Diwali. As the local retail economy gets better, print will become stronger again, Mehta said.
Speaking on building on the revived consumer sentiment, Mehta said, “It's a high purchase product and so the first thing required is the credit arm of the entire ecosystem, which is banking integration. How can they create better products so that people can avail loans in better terms?”
According to Mehta, the second half of the year is always better than the first half in the automobile industry. The period starting from Diwali to February-March is a good time where people purchase automobiles. “The first half of 2020 was a complete washout and despite of that, we are getting better traction. It makes us very optimistic about the rest of the financial year.”
In the first three months of lockdown, April, May and June, the brand focused on SEO, content marketing and product-driven growth.
Search engine optimisation takes at least two-and-a-half months to optimise and the brand was not able to do those things earlier because of lack of time. “We have regularly made our SEO charter to grow immensely. Also, content marketing is not just a one-day thing; these are long-term things that give a reward in the business, need focus and that’s why they are paying us back right now,” said Mehta.
Recently the brand has launched a campaign featuring Akshay Kumar.
“Because we are publishers ourselves, we create content on a daily basis. 30-35 articles and eight-nine videos of different cars and bikes that attract people come to us; all these have helped us to grow the business without really investing money in marketing,” said Mehta.