One of India's fastest rising fintech companies, Niyo’s growth has skyrocketed with the onset of the Covid pandemic. Niyo, which plans to increase its ad spends by up to Rs 60 crore ($8 million) in the coming three-five months, has penned its marketing strategy based on its various product offerings.
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With NiyoX, Niyo Bharat, Niyo Money and Niyo Global, the company plans to spend up to 80% on digital while tactically utilising print and OOH. It will also soon spend on TV for the first time.
Highlighting how its marketing activities are based on how measurable the medium is in terms of its ROI, Argho Bhattacharya, Head of Marketing, Niyo, explained their content and influencer marketing plans.
Vineet Sethi, Chief Marketing Officer, Niyo, Chitra Bhargav, Brand Manager, Niyo, and Apurva Harwani, Social Media Manager, Niyo, also deep-dived into the company’s growth and outlined their upcoming plans on various fronts.
It is very rare for an entire marketing team to come forward and have an interaction. What was the thought behind this?
Sethi: Niyo is very new in the market and in all formal interactions we have had in the past, there are many set questions. But we, as a team, have never interacted before with someone. This idea seems very promising and interesting to us. It is like promoting something new and experimental for all of us. The profiling in a lot of other publications is about profiling one particular CMO, one brand manager, but we wanted to be introduced as a team and how the team works together, especially amid the pandemic. We are a team of almost 14 members and we don't get an opportunity to really tell the world about this.
What kind of digital banking solutions for savings and investments do you provide and to whom? What is the USP of these solutions?
Sethi: We've been around for the last five years. Niyo has been present wherever a traditional bank is not serving a particular segment or under-serving that segment and we introduce products in that space. We started with Niyo Benefits Card, which was the first multi-wallet card in India, trying to solve all salary reimbursements issues. Just like how someone gets medical, food, mobile reimbursements, which include a lot of paperwork, sign up bills, submit to the HR and then credit happens after one month or two.
Soon after that, demonetisation happened and we saw a great opportunity and released Niyo Bharat, which is kind of a digital salary account for the blue collar employees. This product took off in a great way and today we have 25 lakh customers in that space serving around 8,000 corporates.
Another product is Niyo Global. So when we travel abroad, in case of cross-border transactions, one has to go through forex and banks and get an approval in terms of currency exchange and of course the entire pain of getting overcharged by merchants outside. Our card is loaded in Indian rupees and can be used anywhere in the world without any markup. It is a next generation forex card that eliminates the many pain points of current generation forex cards. And we believe that with zero marketing, this product has been a runaway success for us. However, due to Covid-19, the product went into a bit of a slowdown.
Our third product, NiyoX, is trying to solve problems of millennials who are not very happy with the traditional banking process and its interface. We provide a very nice-looking mobile app that opens an account in 100 seconds. We launched this product at the end of March last year and today we have 100,000 users.
What kind of impact did the company have due to the Covid-19 pandemic and how did it accelerate your growth?
Sethi: We were acquiring almost 20,000 customers every month under Niyo Global. But with the pandemic, our numbers came down from 35,000 every month to 2,000. We saw numbers going down in that space. However, this pandemic has also done stellar growth for NiyoX. We took this entire process of opening a savings account to digital: by sitting at home and downloading the app, you can open your savings account and earn up to 7% interest. These numbers skyrocketed due to the pandemic and we never expected this kind of response from people on this product. We are committing an accretion of 2 million customers this FY.
How would you define the company’s overall marketing strategy and the budget you have allocated for it?
Bhattacharya: We believe marketing to be a continuous tug of war between what we as a company wants to say and what a customer wants to hear. And that is the fine balance that we work towards. Our strength is that we are a democratised marketing setup in terms of getting feedback internally and working around that. So that has been the flagpole around which all the marketing team and then the company has also rallied around, to understand how best can we tell the story to the customer.
Our story for Niyo Bharat will be driven by education and inclusion. For Niyo Global, our story is that we are there for you and whenever travel returns, we have the best product for the customers. NiyoX is where we spend more time, which is a millennial product. Millennials actually like value in terms of time, and in terms of what they want. So all our efforts are towards making banking easier for millennials and how well our product is packaged. For all this, we will invest anything between $5 and $8 million over three to five months to get our marketing going.
Bhargav: We are differentiated when it comes to marketing, storytelling. We really walk the talk and have always been the trailblazers in terms of narration, in terms of first understanding the customer, then understanding the market segment and then weaving a story, and then finally beautifully polishing the product and put it out there. We basically analyse the gap in the market and we try to fill it with a campaign ideology.
What all distribution channels the company uses and which of these mediums has proven to be most efficient?
Bhattacharya: Since we are a digital-first company, at any point of time at least 75 to 80% of our spends are skewed towards digital. We have also taken up large media activations like associating with IPL on Disney+hotstar. But whatever activation we do it is based on how well we can measure it. And unlike any other medium, digital allows us the best chance to measure ourselves whether it is through social media, live media engagements, or even a search ad.
So, we have defined goals or endpoints for each marketing activity, whether it be a post or whether it be a video campaign. So we have defined end goals and digital helps us to measure those points. Though we currently have large budgets, it is not always the scenario. Currently, we are doing print as well. And I do see marketers coming back to this medium. When the company is growing, or expanding horizons, at that point of time, tactical print or OOH should come in. Our first go-to medium will always be digital but there will be these spikes where mindshare will be supported by activities on OOH and print. These two mediums might not exactly push for consideration or trials of the product at some point of time but definitely have an effect on awareness.
We have been thinking of doing television, and we might do something soon. But the issue here is a huge overlap between our OTT audience and television audience. TV will come in our marketing, but it will be very tactical in nature and pivoted around a particular large-scale activity. But if there are unique activities happening like the World Cup on TV, we will step in. Whatever association with marquee property we do, we are cognisant of the age group we are dealing with and these properties need to add certain visibility to us.
You did a series of #StudentsSpeak for Niyo Global. What kind of objective did you have behind it and ROI you garnered? Any plans to extend it or doing anything similar on the content front?
Sethi: A lot of students who travel abroad use Niyo Global and people who are already studying in different universities abroad and using our card are seeing the benefits. With great response from the Indian community out there, we thought of making a series of students from different universities, which kind of reinforces our campaigns and gives the trust factor as well. We will definitely extend this series.
Since we're dealing with a commodity product and savings account, we have to differentiate ourselves from what everybody else is doing. We don't have that huge budget like any other large company but we can market it differently and content plays a big role in that.
What kind of content formats have you explored, and your plans for getting into different genres like comedy or podcast since a lot of other players in your category are doing the same?
Sethi: Stand-up comedy is something we initiated first in the market in the first phase of lockdown. And we did it with five comedians on Instagram and we got some great responses on that. Right now our objective has been to make ourselves featured on different platforms. We have been featured in almost on FinTech or financial services podcasts. We also have the ambition to build up our own channels like that, so with our work in progress, we will be coming up with something very well soon.
The stand-up comedy series:
Content related to finances is one of the most difficult to crack and be consumed by consumers. What are you doing to educate people and the marketing efforts you have undertaken so far?
Sethi: Our aim has been to decode banking, simplifying fundamentals; so our entire UI/UX or the mobile app is easy to understand and consume. We are building a content bank around the jargon where it is easy for people to understand how a bank operates, how accounts are upgraded and what are the different pros and cons.
Why haven’t you boarded any celebrity as the face of your company?
Harwani: Right now we're not looking at a single celebrity approach. We're just trying to be diverse with our celebrity outreach. We recently associated with a couple of celebrities on social media. We didn't want to go with one celebrity endorser approach for NiyoX so instead we picked up a couple of celebrities, who are very famous in the OTT space, including Aparshakti Khurana, Maanvi Gagroo and Sidharth Shukla. These three celebrities bring the very mix of fan following to our pages, which directly go with the product offering. For remarketing the same product, we associated with Radhika Apte, which gave us some crazy results.
Bhattacharya: We also pick up micro-influencers with a crazy loyal base. This is very less expensive and the ROI on this is phenomenal. Our approach is to make celebrities work for us rather than a marketing team working for them.
Maanvi Gagroo and NiyoX:
Sidharth Shukla and NiyoX: