Not many people might have heard of FoodieBay.com, a simple restaurant directory founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah in 2008. 2 years later, however, when this venture was renamed ‘Zomato’, it started growing rapidly in the business world.
The Zomato marketing strategy has played a pivotal role in shaping it’s unique identity and helping it to grow exponentially.
Although the company itself has existed for many years, the Covid- 19 pandemic propelled them into the spotlight as numerous households across India began to order food digitally through the Zomato App, which connected people to food joints and restaurants through a single click.
When it was first launched, it aimed to become the best “Where to eat?” discovery platform. Now, it does not just serve as a food directory but has converted itself into an online food delivery platform.
What is the Zomato Business Model?
At first, Zomato was started just as a listing platform and restaurant directory to discover places to eat. The business then expanded into a food delivery service. Users can search for various restaurants, menus and their ratings, and order food, all from the same app.
It then launched ‘Zomato Gold’, a loyalty programme which consisted of a three- month subscription which would enable loyal customers to get discounts and offers on their food orders.
Zomato also focuses on acquiring brands with potential and works closely with entrepreneurs and restaurants.
The following has made the Zomato Business Model unique and strategic:
Zomato started as a restaurant discovery platform, allowing users to find nearby restaurants and read reviews. This feature still forms a significant part of the Zomato business model.
Online Food Ordering:
Recognizing the trend toward online food ordering, Zomato ventured into food delivery. They partner with restaurants and provide a platform for customers to order food for delivery, creating an additional revenue stream.
Zomato introduced the Zomato Gold and Pro membership programs. These programs offer discounts, exclusive deals, and other benefits to customers, increasing their loyalty to the platform. Membership programs are becoming one of the major trends of the food delivery business.
Advertising and Promotion:
Zomato offers restaurants the opportunity to promote their services and reach a wider audience through sponsored listings and advertisements.
Zomato’s cloud kitchen initiative, Zomato Kitchens, allows restaurants to set up delivery-only kitchens, increasing their revenue potential.
The diversity of the Zomato business model has helped it to thrive and adapt to changing market conditions.
The Zomato Marketing Strategy: A Masterpiece of Digital Marketing
Zomato has created a marketing plan which has brought about a revolution in digital marketing in the food industry. The following methods adopted by the brand make it a force to be reckoned with in the industry:
SEO & BACKLINKS
Zomato is one of the top, if not THE top ranking online food delivery service option which shows up when you decide to Google it. A major part of its success is attributed to the use of SEO keywords and backlinks in it’s content, which directs the users right to the digital doorstep of the company and ensures the growth of organic traffic. It also has backlinks in different domains which further increases its reach in the digital space.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING MADE TRENDY AND HUMOROUS
One thing Zomato has perfected over the years is the knowledge of who their audience persona is. The social media marketing strategy of the brand uses this knowledge to create content which appeals to the target audience and adapts to changes in demographic.
Zomato’s Twitter account is full of relatable memes and other statistically- put humour which is a joy to read. Their content on social media is not just enjoyable, but also engaging. They regularly hold food photography contests, quizzes and other audience – engaging activities which makes people invest more time in their content. Digital marketing in the food industry is made unique and interesting by adopting these methods.
Zomato not only uses ads for its own brand but also runs third- party ads related to keyword searches on food, online delivery, restaurants and so on. Creatively constructed Facebook and Instagram ads are also utilized to increase social media reach.
Zomato effectively uses emails to alert users of new updates, offers and other interesting content. These are written in a way which makes the audience feel like a friend is speaking to them. The signature goofy, sarcastic tone of Zomato is utilized here as well, winning people over with their humour and periodically reminding them to order through Zomato.
After downloading the Zomato app, one continuously receives push notifications worded in trendy, modern lingo, which creatively urges users to press the message and regularly check the app out. Notifications also ensure that people are constantly reminded about the services offered by the brand and why they should avail of them.
THE ZOMATO APP
How much easier life becomes when you can just whip out your phone and navigate the menus, prices and ratings of restaurants near you as well as order food effortlessly. The Zomato App is extremely mobile- friendly, which makes it very easy for people to use, and encourages them to order through Zomato.
DATA- DRIVEN DECISION MAKING:
Zomato collects and analyzes vast amounts of data about user preferences and ordering behavior. This data informs their marketing efforts and helps them tailor recommendations and promotions to individual users.
Zomato’s One of a Kind Marketing Campaigns:
Zomato VS Zomato
The Zomato V/S Zomato ad campaign was one of the most standout and recognizable ads made by a business. As the Indian paparazzi was seen mispronouncing the names of famous Hollywood stars Tom Holland, Zendaya and Gigi Hadid in a viral video, Zomato with its knack for crafting ads around current affairs, came up with the viral question: Is it pronounced “zo-maa-to” or “zo-mai-to”?. Famous celebs starred in versions of the ad including Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth who made an appearance owing to the approaching IPL. This ad not only became a fan favourite, but also managed to create a new meme format.
Humans of Zomato Campaign
The Humans of Zomato series showcases the life and work of the delivery agents of the company who tirelessly deliver food to thousands of doorsteps. Although this ad faced backlash owing to the portrayal of overworked employees, it also managed to put the brand story forth in a way which showcased the delivery personnel as the heroes of the company.
Allu Arjun’s Special Message
This was another such ad which ticked all the boxes of humour and creativity. While national sensation Allu Arjun performs an exaggerated slow motion action scene, Zomato’s service delivers the order faster than gravity. After the grand success of the movie ‘Pushpa’, creating an ad with Allu Arjun was an extremely smart and effective move by the brand.
Mann Kiya, Zomato Kiya!
This one of a kind YouTube ad made using Artificial Intelligence starring Hritik Roshan, showed him ordering food from local joints according to the viewer’s location. Using deepfake and AI personalized technology, Zomato managed to change the same ad multiple times to customize it for users based on their location. This ad campaign also speaks a lot about the intricately crafted marketing strategy of Zomato.
The Zomato Success Story: A Delicious Journey
The Zomato success story is a tale of determination, adaptability, and digital innovation. Founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, the company started as a simple restaurant discovery platform in India. Over the years, it expanded its services to include online food ordering and delivery, becoming a global brand with operations in multiple countries.
Their success can be attributed to several factors:
Adaptive Business Model:
The Zomato business model with it’s ability to adapt and diversify its services as the market evolved, allowed it to stay ahead of the competition.
The company expanded globally, taking its services to countries like the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Zomato’s innovative marketing campaigns and social media presence helped it build a strong brand and connect with a wide audience. With it’s one of a kind content, Zomato clearly stood out in the field of digital marketing in the food industry.
Zomato prioritized user experience, making it easy for customers to find and order from restaurants. Their loyalty programs further incentivized customers to stick with the platform.
Collaborations with restaurants and cloud kitchens expanded their network, offering customers a wide variety of food options.
Zomato’s data-driven approach, analyzing user behavior to enhance recommendations and personalize offers, played a vital role in the Zomato success story.
Controversies Surrounding Zomato: Unpacking the Challenges of a Food Delivery Giant
Zomato, one of the leading players in the food delivery and restaurant aggregation industry, has not been immune to controversies throughout its journey. While the company has enjoyed significant success, it has also faced its fair share of challenges and criticisms:
Restaurant Commission Rates:
One of the primary controversies involving Zomato has been its commission rates. Zomato charges restaurants a percentage of the order value for their services. While this model is common across food delivery platforms, it has sparked disputes in the industry. Some restaurants argue that these commission rates are too high, eating into their already thin profit margins. This has led to protests and boycotts in some cases, with restaurants seeking more favorable terms.
Delivery Partners’ Working Conditions:
The working conditions of Zomato’s delivery partners have come under scrutiny on multiple occasions. Reports of low wages, long working hours, and concerns about their safety have raised questions about the company’s commitment to the welfare of its gig workers.
Controversy Over Halal and Jain Food Options:
Zomato found itself in hot water when a controversy erupted over its handling of Halal and Jain food options. The issue began when a customer demanded that his food delivery should not be assigned to a “non-Hindu” delivery executive. Zomato’s response to this demand stirred debate, with some accusing the platform of not doing enough to support religious neutrality and inclusivity. Zomato ultimately stood its ground, asserting its commitment to treating all customers and employees fairly. However, fresh controversy erupted when people questioned their labelling of food as “Halal” and “Jain”. Zomato asserted that this was the personal choice of the restaurants and not of the brand itself.
Food Safety and Quality Concerns:
Food safety and quality concerns are not unique to Zomato but are a concern for the entire food delivery industry. Customers have reported issues with food quality, including late deliveries, missing items, and in some cases, food contamination. Ensuring the safety and quality of delivered food is a complex challenge that Zomato and other platforms continue to grapple with. They are working on improving quality control and enhancing the customer experience.
Data Privacy and Security:
As a digital platform, Zomato collects a vast amount of customer data, including personal information and ordering history. Data breaches and privacy concerns have made headlines across industries, and Zomato has not been immune. While the company has implemented security measures, data breaches can still occur, raising questions about how well user data is protected.
In some regions, Zomato’s dominance in the food delivery market has raised concerns about a potential monopoly. The company’s market share and influence have led to discussions about whether competition is being stifled, potentially affecting both restaurants and consumers. Regulators in some areas have started to examine the competitive landscape more closely.
Customer Service Issues:
Like many service-oriented businesses, Zomato has faced criticism over its customer service. Reports of unresponsive customer support and difficulty in resolving issues have frustrated some users. Ensuring excellent customer service is a significant challenge for any company dealing with a large volume of transactions.
Controversy Over Dynamic Pricing:
Dynamic pricing is a common practice in the food delivery industry, with prices varying based on factors like demand and time. However, some customers have expressed displeasure over the excessive price fluctuations during peak hours. This has led to debates about price transparency and fairness in Zomato’s pricing strategy.
Digital Marketing in the Food Industry: Trends and Insights
Digital marketing has become an integral part of the food industry, and Zomato is a prime example of how effective digital marketing strategies can propel a company to the top. Here are some overarching digital marketing trends in the food industry:
As the majority of food ordering occurs through mobile devices, businesses must have a mobile-first approach, ensuring their websites and apps are optimized for smartphones and tablets.
Social Media Marketing:
Food businesses can leverage platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest to showcase their dishes, engage with customers, and drive orders. This is one of the primary reasons which has aided Zomato’s success.
Tailoring marketing messages and recommendations to individual customers based on their preferences and behavior is a growing trend. Zomato excels in this regard because the Zomato business model focuses on connecting with it’s audience.
Encouraging customers to share their experiences on social media and review platforms can create authentic content that boosts a brand’s reputation.
Sustainability and Health:
Marketing campaigns emphasizing sustainability, locally sourced ingredients, and healthy dining options are gaining traction.
Collaborations and Influencer Marketing:
Partnering with influencers and other businesses can expand reach and credibility in the food industry. In this way, you can also keep up with the trends in the food industry.
The Ever-Evolving Food Delivery Trends
The food delivery sector has seen remarkable shifts in consumer preferences and technology-driven solutions. Here are some notable trends in the food delivery industry:
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of contactless delivery, making it a standard practice in the industry as well as one of the major food delivery trends.
The rise of cloud kitchens and ghost kitchens, which focus solely on fulfilling online orders, offers a cost-effective way for restaurants to expand their reach.
Subscription models like Zomato Gold are gaining popularity, offering customers exclusive benefits in exchange for a monthly or annual fee.
Food delivery platforms are increasingly integrating with smart devices and digital assistants, making it even more convenient for users to place orders.
A growing segment of consumers is looking for healthier options, and food delivery services are responding by offering more nutritious and dietary-specific choices.
Sustainability and Environmentally-Friendly Practices:
Food delivery services are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact through eco-friendly packaging and delivery.
Though it first started in India, Zomato did not wait long to expand abroad as well, in countries like Dubai, Philippines, Qatar, UK and others.
They have not just concentrated on their own growth, which has been more than commendable, but also worked to acquire companies such as Urbanspoon, Uber Eats, TongueStun, Fitso, Mekanist, MapleGraph, Cibando, Nextable and Blinkit, which have shown great potential in terms of growth.
The Zomato marketing strategy relies heavily on social media marketing as well as the pivotal role of SEO keywords in increasing the reach of it’s content.
By keeping up with recent food delivery trends and diversifying the concept of digital marketing in the food industry, Zomato has truly aced the marketing game.
While Zomato has become a household name in recent times, it has gone through a long journey coupled with carefully strategized marketing plans which have contributed immensely to its growth. For further reading, check out this Case Study on Zomato.
A well- thought out marketing strategy is key to growing your business by diversifying your content and making it audience- specific and relevant.
For more information on how you can create your very own unique digital marketing plan, contact Abstract MediaVerse and avail of our exclusive benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
- What is Zomato Marketing Strategy 2023?
Zomato uses Google Adwords for it’s search ad campaigns, utilizes an effective SEO strategy, engages users through it’s fun social media content on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and reaches the target audience through multiple channels.
- Who is Zomato’s target audience?
The Zomato target audience falls in the average age category of 18- 35 years, because this demographic extensively uses smartphones, and the discounts, offers and benefits offered by the Zomato app make it ideal for middle- income groups. As restaurants need Zomato for advertising, a large number of restaurants also form the audience- base of the brand.
- How many customers does Zomato have?
The latest report evaluates the number of active monthly users as 32.1 million.
- Who are Zomato restaurant partners?
Zomato has around 21000 restaurant partners throughout the country. Find out more about Zomato business statistics here.
- Who are Zomato’s main competitors?
Other food delivering services like Swiggy.com, dineout.co.in, magicpin.in and ubereats.com, pose as major competitors for Zomato in 2023.