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How Spinny built its brand on the power of radio

The retail platform for buying and selling pre-owned cars is investing in digital and radio and will soon enter the podcast space. Arshdeep Singh, who heads Marketing at Spinny, discusses the platform’s rapid expansion plans, increased spends and significance of delivery trucks for promotions

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Radio was completely out of the marketing strategies of most brands amid the pandemic as their ad spends saw a drastic cut. Used car retailing startup Spinny, however, utilised the power of this channel in its favour and caused quite a lot of disruption among radio listeners.

BestMediaInfo caught up with Arshdeep Singh, General Manager, Brand Marketing, Spinny, to understand its overall marketing strategy and increasing ad spends.

Founded five years ago, Spinny, a complete online-to-offline retail platform for buying and selling pre-owned cars, spends mostly on digital, followed by radio. 

While mass media is not its marketing priority right now, it is making most of the fact that car commuting and audio goes hand in hand.

“We’re very clear that our agenda for radio is to create brand awareness, to let people know that there is a brand that will add value to their life. We chose radio as a platform as we believe that a lot of listenership happens during commute; that is the time when customers have time in hand, when they make certain decisions such as purchasing or upgrading cars. That is when a car buying and selling decision is made. Music and cars is an inseparable bond, and this sort of goes hand in hand,” he said.

its spot on radio:

Spinny also plans to get into podcasts as well.

“Digital spending is the highest, followed by radio, which is one of the only mass media campaigns that we’re doing right now. The other bit is the tactical approach, which is not to push our messaging. But whenever a customer is looking for our services, we should be out there, and this is being carried out by digital,” he said.

its digital campaigns:

According to Singh, its delivery trucks have a two-fold task. They add value by getting the brand some visibility and at the same time, offer the delivery experience.

While it doesn’t plan to increase its ad spends in radio for some time, it will continue to bet on this medium. For the next quarter, its increase in ad spends will run parallel to its expansion plans.

Singh said that as a company, it is very clear that if the business operations are not where it can give an A-level customer experience, it will not communicate at such a place.

“From last year, there definitely has been a percentage increase in the ad spends, but in parallel to our expansion. The ad spends definitely increase along with the operations, but the approach remains the same. It is slightly conservative but helps to maintain the authenticity of the brand,” he said.

From a marketing standpoint, its focus is on building the capabilities of the business. The brand is present in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Mumbai among others, where the operations are being scaled at a big level.

Spinny has around 16 hubs in nine cities. It plans to be present in 20-25 cities by the end of this year, riding on the popularity of used cars in tier-two cities such as Indore, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Kochi, where the company is expected to set up hubs.

“The goal is to expand and not compromise on the quality that we offer to our customers. We see that people are getting more relaxed in terms of following pandemic norms. But we are making conscious efforts to not let that affect our processes. Even if it gets cumbersome for somebody, it can’t be against the precautions that we are taking against Covid-19,” he said.

The brand is quite active on the content marketing front too. It runs a contextual blog and talks about the complete guidance in the four-wheeler purchase space. 

its blog:

Singh said the brand tries to curate content that is relevant to people, something that adds value to their car buying and selling decisions.

“Our content strategy is to let people know that we are there for them and put forth the information that will really give them some benefits. Also, it is not like that our focus is on blog and not on video. The focus right now is on both video content and blogs. Blogs hold their own importance when people are researching. We understand that they need a piece of information irrespective of whether they buy from us or not. Video content caters to the same philosophy, but the point is to be active on both,” he added.

At present, all its creative services are in-house and its deals with partners on a project-to-project basis. There is no agency on record. The whole objective of its marketing strategy is to build around transparency and authenticity, he said.

In its recent radio campaign, the testimonial that it plays is actual customer feedback. Singh believes that people who have trusted the brand are its best evangelists and it wants to associate with them.

The pre-owned car market had a size of over 4.2 million units across India in the fiscal year 2020. This was more than the size of the new car market for the measured time frame. The pre-owned car market grew continuously in the same period. This demand for pre-owned cars in the country is mainly driven by the surging consumer focus on high-quality vehicles that are easily available at platforms such as CarDekho, AutoPortal, CarTrade, etc.

Asked what differentiates Spinny from its competitors, Singh said though its offerings seem very similar to others, it is the only one that is offering a full-stack approach. 

Right from the procurement of the car to the customer experience in terms of after-sales service and retail experience, Spinny offers a complete support and package and involves no third party, he said.

Other players usually give franchise to separate dealers, who would be dealing with more dealers. So, the full-stack approach is the key differentiator between Spinny and its competitors, he said.

Explaining more about the process, he said, “If a customer wants to sell a car, we buy the car from them; our supply platform is called SellRight by Spinny. The car remains with us till it is bought by another customer. It is transferred from a customer to a customer. While purchasing online, the process is very simple as well as transparent. Coupled with that, we follow a fixed price assurance, inclusive of everything, with no hidden costs. All details of the car are available, including a 360-degree model. We don’t hide details of used cars.”

It offers the option of buyback and customers can choose its retail hubs to visit or call for a home test drive.

In 2020, the company sold 10,000 car units owing to a surge in demand, which it aims to increase by 4x in 2021. It has met half of the target in the first half of this year, and hopes to exceed its goal.

The total capital raised by the platform so far stands at $230 million.

In terms of retention and customer satisfaction, Singh said only 1% customers returned their cars, as they were not satisfied with the quality. This, he said, is because the cars were pre-owned.

The platform is building authenticity and trust around the brand by keeping the whole process of buying and selling transparent and no ambiguity in the prices.

While contactless buying and home delivery might be a new buzzword for most automakers, Spinny has been working around the model even before the pandemic had begun. And so it faced no challenge amid the pandemic and only scaled up its operations.

“We understand that it’s difficult to buy a car by looking at it on your laptop or your phone; one needs to go and look at the vehicle in person, which is why the Spinny Car Hubs are there. We were the only players that started home delivery of vehicles years before the pandemic. We want people to have experiences. The cars they see online are home-delivered. The platform was already prepared for this model. The pandemic only reinforced our belief, and we were able to convince customers about it. We scaled it up since customers wanted it now more than ever,” he added

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