- In 2020, despite the pandemic-induced lockdown bringing mobility services to a complete standstill, homegrown bike-taxi platform
Rapidoshifted its gears to focus on what’s important.
- It was quick to bounce back as it continued to engage with its customers through digital mediums and by accelerating its logistics business towards providing essential services.
- For 2021, Rapido has earmarked $20M in marketing spends. We caught up with Amit Verma, Head of Marketing, Rapido to further discuss the company's plans for FY22 and how it will go about spending its marketing monnies.
According to PGA Labs, bike taxi service is now a $150 million market, growing at 20% month-over-month. In India, 300 million people commute every day out of which only 1% of bookings happen via apps and only 20% of India owns private vehicles today. It is estimated that bike taxis in India have the potential to create 5+ million livelihood opportunities, generating a revenue of $10 billion.
In 2020, after the nation-wide lockdown was lifted and consumers were still concerned about stepping out and using public vehicles, they turned to private vehicle providers like Rapido for safe and secure commutes.
Now, as the market has started limping towards normalcy, Rapido is putting its best foot forward to increase brand awareness and acquire new users.
Amit Verma, Head of Marketing, Rapido said, “The market is now opening up and the overall number of COVID-19 cases are going down, so we thought now this is the right time that we can increase our spends. We also want to grow 100% maybe in the next 12-13 months. And we have set aside $20 million for marketing in FY22, which will mostly be spent to acquire new users and spread awareness of Rapido as a brand.”
Verma said that it was because of Rapido’s marketing efforts that it continued to acquire new users despite a recession. It also decided to pivot its focus on accelerating the existing logistics business model such as delivering essentials at home, supporting the government to resolve supply-chain challenges, etc. As a result, 25% of its business bounced back in June 2020.
He said, “Unfortunately, the last financial year started with the COVID-19. The operations came to a halt during those few months and post that, when we started our operations, we were really frugal and trying to optimize our marketing spends. And just because of that, we are focusing on marketing well this year.”
From the $20 million marketing budget, Rapido has decided to spend 50% on digital media.
“Our lion’s share of the $20 million, around 50-60%, will be spent on digital. A major share within digital will go on performance marketing. Post that, we are going to spend a lot on traditional mediums as well which includes TV, radio and outdoor media because our TG spends a significant amount of time on these mediums. Apart from that, we are putting a lot of focus on improving user experience. So we might do more activities to enhance in-app user experience through brand campaigns and digital activities,” explained Verma.
Winning consumers with a bullish marketing campaign
From a rap jingle to partnering with celebrities and other media houses, Rapido tried to woo its customers with one message across all platforms - how Rapido is ensuring safe commutes, which is affordable and accessible in every nook of top 100 cities. Its strategy was multilingual and regional.
After securing a leadership position in the Bike-Taxi ecosystem across cities, it is hoping to increase its user base and brand recognition.
Walking us through Rapido’s future marketing plans, Verma shared, “There are two things we are planning for next year. First, there will be a few brand campaigns which will focus on polishing the upper funnel, that is, increasing brand awareness and making our brand top of the mind (whether it be aided or unaided recall). That is our first objective. We might do two to three brand campaigns followed by some sustenance campaigns. And apart from that, we're also planning to do quite a few content integrations with content partners like TVF, Pocket Aces, Pocket Media, so that we can keep a continuity alive, and we can engage with our user base as well.”
Currently, Rapido’s Creative agency-on-record is Enormous Brands, GroupM will be handling its TV, print and radio and Laqshya Media Group has been awarded brand’s OOH duties.
Goals for FY22
Rapido was growing at around 15% month-on-month for the last 3 years before the pandemic-infused lockdown hit India. It also doubled its presence from 50 cities to 100 in the second half of 2020. Now, it is eyeing to grow by 100%.
“If you compare it with pre-Corona, we were doing 10 million rides per month. So for the next 12 to 13 months, we are again aiming 100% growth on that base,” said Verma.
Rapido has recorded over 20 million app downloads so far and Verma said that the company will try to double its downloads by the end of FY22.