INTRODUCTIONPaytm isIndia’s largest mobile commerce platform. Paytm started by offering mobilerecharge and utility bill payments and today it offers a full marketplace toconsumers on its mobile apps. They have over 100mn registered users. In a shortspan of time Paytm has scaled to more than 60 Million orders per month.
Paytmis the consumer brand of India’s leading mobile internet company One97Communications. One97 investors include Ant Financial (AliPay), SAIF Partners,Sapphire Venture and Silicon Valley Bank. They strive to maintain an openculture where everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharingideas and opinions.
Their team spends hours designing each new feature andobsesses about the smallest of details. Their approach is simple – to designsomething they’d LOVE to usethemselves. Therefore, they listen and take the time to understand their usersand take consumer reactions most seriously.Paytmwas founded and incubated by One97 Communications Limited in 2010 as a prepaidmobile recharge website. It was founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma. In 2013, thecompany launched Paytm Wallet, which became India’s largest mobile paymentservice platform with over 150 million wallets and 75 million Android-based appdownloads as of November 2016.
The surge in usage of the service was largelydue to the demonetization of the 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes. After 8November 2016, Paytm’s transactions and profit increased significantly. Paytmhas invested $5 million in auto rickshaw aggregator and hyperlocal deliveryfirm Jugnoo. It has also acquired Delhi-based consumer behavior predictionplatform Shifu for $8 million and local services startup Near.in for $2 millionto $3million.In 2015Paytm received a license from the Reserve Bank of India to start one of India’s first payments banks, called”Paytm Payments Bank Limited”. At the time, the bank intended to usePaytm’s existing user base for offering new services, including debit cards,savings accounts, online banking and transfers, to enable a cashless economy.
ThePaytm Wallet application enables users to book air tickets and taxis, mobilerecharge, and payment of DTH, broadband and electricity bills among others. Themoney transfer feature is only available for mobile users, not for desktop.Users can also pay for fuel at Petrol pumps and buy movie tickets at PVRCinemas through the wallet.Executive Summary About “Paytm Karo”Ad CampaignPayTM had been launched in 2010 as amobile and DTH recharge platform.
In 2014 they launched online wallets and inone short year had already reached 23 million wallets. In 2016, they werelooking for a quantum jump in this number. Clearly, the growth had to come fromTier I and II town consumers. However – for Tier II consumers, the world of onlinepayments was literally becoming a bewildering web. Credit card. Debit card.NetBanking. Visa Pay.
Airtel Money. PayUMoney. Mobikwik. So many options andmethods that even the savvy urban consumer was hard-pressed to keep up. The answer lay in changing the frameof reference from yet another payment platform, to a new currency. The creative approach showed everyday situations, likebickering over change with auto drivers.
The catchphrase “PayTM Karo”(Just Paytm it”) turned PayTM into a verb, elevating it to a currency inits own right. An Integrated Media approach,covering every possible consumer touchpoint, gave it mass stature. Tie-ups with leading FMCG companiesfor cash-back promos on paying with PayTM, encouraged universality of use. Result – PayTM went from 23mnwallets to 105mn wallets within 10 months. India had accepted a new currency. Market backgroundand cultural contextThereal complications of virtual money In a simplerworld, not so long ago, making a payment was easy – it was either cash orcheque.
Then came credit cards. And debit cards. Net banking. And now, with theintroduction of e-wallets and mobile wallets the complexity reached a whole newlevel. Brands like Airtel Money, Vodafone m-pesa, Mobikwik, PayUMoney.Platforms like VisaPay.
Aggregators like Masterpass. So many options andmethods that even the savvy urban consumer was hard – pressed to keep up. Theworld of online payments was literally becoming a bewildering web. Mobile payment platforms – All hypebut not really keeping pace with the smartphone explosion. The newestoption on the block, the app-based mobile payment platforms or mobile wallets,were the new buzzwords, but data indicated that they were not really keepingpace with the smartphone explosion that they were supposed to ride. In 2014, there were 140 million smartphones in themarket, but all the key players in the mobile wallet segment like Mobikwik,Airtel Money, Vodafoe m-paisa and CitrusPay were struggling to cross apenetration for 10-15%. Even the biggest player, PayTM, was at 20 million- onlya fraction of the 140 million As the smartphone explosion headedto smaller towns, the task was only going to get more difficult. The category needednew users.
But there were barriers. Smartphones,mobile internet and online shopping – for all three, the big growths were goingto come from Tier I and II towns. And it was at the confluence of these threethat PayTM’s opportunity lay. So if a quantum jump were to be achieved, thegrowth had to come from mass segment consumers.
Challenges: The massexpansion of the category was not going to be driven by motivators likeconvenience, instant speed or discount coupons but by overcoming adoptionbarriers. The barrier ofintimidation: money + technology platformThe massmarket consumer was increasingly feeling out of step with the rapiddevelopments he was witnessing all around him. He was only just beginning tounderstand the notion of virtual money. To now have to deal with virtual moneyon a technology- based, online platform was a double whammy.
The barrier ofcomplexity: Ease of UseFor the masssegment consumers, the world of online payments was a maze. So many options andmethods that even the tech–savvy urban consumer was hard–pressed to keep up.Now imagine the state of the masses. The barrier of massacceptance: It was of little use if everyone else didn’t use itThe Strategic CommunicationChallenge before Paytm : How could Paytm go from “TheBetter Way to Pay” to “The Only way to Pay”? Objectives The Objective was simple: increasein the number of Paytm mobile wallets. More specifically, “massacceptance” meant: More peoplethought about Paytm when they through payments – KPI: Top of mind /SpontAwareness; More people downloaded the app;More people created a PayTM account– KPI: Number of wallets;Increase in usage of PayTM bypeople– KPI: increase in average transaction value.Insightand strategic thinking The Big Idea: From payment platform to currency.Welcome theNew Currency – Paytm KARO. Paytm’s quest was democratization ofmobile wallets.
The other players were trying to project onlinetransactions as the “cool”, new way to pay. The protagonists weregenerally hip youngsters, who were completely beyond the understanding of theirparents or elders. In an attempt to appeal to the youth, humour and clevernesswere almost the norm.
However, the broader masses could not relate to it. Paytm’s insight: People don’t understand paymentplatforms, they understand currency. Any currency is not only measured byits transactional worth, but also by its emotional worth. Paytm decided to change the frame ofreference From a better payment platform thaneveryone to a better currency than cash Creativeand/or channel execution The entire strategy was carefully craftedkeeping in mind the objective of Driving Mass Acceptance for India’s NewCurrency: Making it the new default behavior – Firstly,and most importantly, they turned Paytm into a verb (like “Googleit”), saying “PayTMKaro” (“Just Paytm It”)-a verbal shorthand that elevated Paytmfrom being merely a platform to a currency in its ownright.
Showcasing width of acceptance – The TVCshowed various everyday instances that the mass market consumer could easily relate with, such as A payment to anautorickshaw driver without the inevitable bickering over change, a brothergiving his sister “Rakhi ka shagun”(Rakhi is a festival that celebrates the brother-sister relationship, where theritual has the brother handing over a token amount of cash – “shagun” – to the sister), a sonrecharging his mother’s phone. These situations underlined the universality ofuse of Paytm, and took the brand deep into their everyday lives.Rewarding increasedusage – Paytm tied up with various FMCG companies like Lays,Britannia, L’Oreal and even Kingfisher (India’s most popular brand of beer). Therewas a consumer cash-back scheme with these companies if consumers purchasedthese items using Paytm.Supporting EmotionalAcceptance – The TVC showed various instances with an addedemotional component.
The son recharginghis mother’s phone was so that she could speak with him a bit longer. The”Rakhi shagun”showcased a typical relationship between brother and sister. Paytm also tookthe “rakhi shagun” ideato print, releasing a half page ad on Rakhi dai, telling brothers to gift theirsisters with PayTM cash this year.Giving it massstature – Nothing reaches the masses better in India thancricket. Paytm launched its campaign with the biggestcricket show in India – the Indian Premier League. It further leveraged itsassociation with BCCI – the Board of Cricket Control in India – with theIndia–South Africa Freedom series. The entire award presentation backdrop wasbranded by Paytm.
Paytm usedradio extensively to reach out to the general public in different states. Apartfrom radio ads, there was seamless content integration – e.g. the anchor askingpeople to narrate embarrassing instances when they had run out of cash (settingup the relevance of PayTM). Print ads were run in 25 leadingvernacular dailies cross the country. Ads were placed inside autorickshawsin Rajasthan. Spots were taken on Hindi newschannels before the 9 0’clock news Performanceagainst objectives #1. From 23 millionwallets to 105 million wallets in 10 months.
A four-fold jump in the number ofwallets and Paytm had breached the 100 million barrier. India had accepted anew currency – Paytm. #2.
Proof thatadvertising was driving this. The massive jump in top-of-mind andspontaneous awareness. #3. A whopping 109%jump in number of app downloads in the campaign period #4.People were using Paytm more than ever before.
Dth recharge, a key measure of usageshowed a 150% jump from 205 crore to 505 crore. #5. The biggestevidence of mass acceptance – the changing profile of the Paytm users: 1. The number of recharges withtransaction value less than Rs.100 – went up from 9.08 mn to 17.
2mn – anincrease of 90%! 2. Number of wallets with transactionsbelow Rs. 1000 – from 2.9mn to 8.
4 mn – an increase of 186%! 3. The number of market place ordersfrom non-metro areas went up from 150,000 to 600,000 – an increase of 300%! #6.In the Economic Times most trusted brand study, Paytm was the most trustedcompared to all the other compeititors. Paytm had managed to break thebarriers and given India the new way to pay – Paytm karo. Learnings Shifting theframe of reference can be invaluable. The moment Paytm defined its competitionnot as other online platforms, but as cash, it set itself on the path toexponential growth.