Perseverance gives you out-of-the-box imagination: Ankur Warikoo

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Ankur-WarikooOut-of-the-box thinking often makes the difference between the mundane and outstanding when it comes to marketing strategies. “Assume there is no marketing money to build the brand and that will make you think out-of-the-box,” remarked Ankur Warikoo, CEO, Groupon India.

Groupon India faced a fair amount of struggle when it launched in India as Sabsesasta.com. Soon, the brand realised that the consumers they targeted were apprehensive about the brand only because of the name ‘Sasta’. Thus, the reinvention was done with changing the brand name to ‘Crazeal’.

As an online brand, to connect to the consumers was the hardest thing for Groupon; the company had no choice but to think out of the box to connect with the consumers given the large number of dotcom competitors. Groupon realised that being in the deal space, there are very few chances that the consumer would remember the brand against the end brand that renders its services. So, Groupon made a few movements towards its customers in terms of service, which elevated the brand to another level.

Ankur Warikoo & Rajul Kulsheshtra, Founder, Xposure

Ankur Warikoo & Rajul Kulsheshtra, Founder, Xposure

Warikoo presented the five out-of-the-box marketing initiatives, or rather deals, which made Groupon what it stands for today in the daily deals space.

1. With the global success of Hollywood flick ‘Dark Knight’, Groupon (Crazeal at that time) realised that it was the perfect movie that their target audience would like to go and watch. They bought an evening show of the first weekend across the country – owning about 4,800+ seats at 50 per cent off on the tickets. But what was significant was that representatives were present at all the places to interact with the users and take feedback from them. And, they were able to speak to the customers directly even though it was an online brand.

2. As Groupon found its customers hanging at coffee shops, it wanted to be present there. It tied up with India’s largest coffee chain and the offer was that as the customer enters, he has to sign up for Groupon newsletter and will be offered a cappuccino free of cost. But the extra effort that it made to touch the customers’ heart was that the coffee was stencilled with coffee powder displaying the Groupon logo instead of the regular heart or smileys. So they saw the brand right in face!

3. Delhi Gourmet Club, owned by Rocky Mohan – the owner of Old Monk, partnered with Groupon and stopped the major restaurants of Delhi to create a special menu for the customers and called it as the ‘DelhiciousWeek’. It was no longer about a deal, it was something about that money can’t buy. It was curation at the highest level. People would look at the menu and could not buy that special menu if have not bought the deal with Groupon. About 656 deals were bought which further transformed into lot of buzz.

4. The brand wanted to check how much excitement it could create without making people buy a particular deal. So, people had to buy something on Groupon and ran a lucky draw, which was a all-paid expenses deal to Las Vegas. They tied up with Virgin Atlantic and The Bellagio – the two names synonymous with right quality and imagery and gave US $ 500 to spend also. About 28,000 customers took a chance on this.

5. The onion @ Rs. 9 deal bought absolute virality to the Groupon like never before. In seven days about 22,084 kilos of onions were sold. It was not about stalking up the house with onions but the deal was to make people feel the joy of buying onions at the rate of rupees 9 when they were available for almost about Rs. 100. It made the maximum news all over the world. So, “On Day 2, the site crashed – the traffic was insane,” said Warikoo.

“No matter how digital he gets, the Indian consumer likes the attention and handholding they get from the brands,” noted Warikoo.

Ankur Warikoo shared his views at the Pitch CMO Summit 2014 in Delhi on March 27.

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