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The Secret to why it is one of the fast-growing startups in this present age

Today, we’re going to be looking at a unique company.

One that has come through for us in many moments of need for a small fee which, compared to the solution it has provided, seems like a giveaway.

Today, we’re going to be taking a peek into Uber, and how they became the giants they are now.

You’re sure to learn a thing or two, so read on with your eyes peeled and your senses attuned!

About Uber

Uber is a private company based in San Francisco, California that provides transportation facilities online through its website or mobile app. The company was founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, both Silicon Valley big boys who thought that they really didn’t need to drive around all the time.

The available solutions which involved sitting or standing and waiting at a stop under rain, snow or shine to get a cab was not doing it for them. And so they thought, “Why not build something that solves this?”

And the solution they came up with was an app that allowed everyone to sit in the comfort of their homes or offices and call a cab using their smartphones.

It was innovation at its finest and many years later, it has a huge consumer base with around 100 million users!

But at first, it didn’t really take off as they expected.

So, what did they do?



Uber’s Marketing Strategy

At first, they marketed their product by telling others in their network. Word of mouth marketing, so to speak.

It went really well for them, as their reputations preceded them and whatever products they both built or had been involved in individually or as a team had come to be trusted.

As time went on, they leaned into social media and worked it so well that Uber became a household name. Uber’s so popular now, that even smartphones suggest it when using their keyboards!

Amazing work, right?

But that’s just the small bit.

Because this is a product marketing case study, let us analyse Uber’s marketing strategy carefully. And to do that, we are going to be using the Marketing Mix formula, also called the 4 P’s of marketing. They are:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

Marketing Mix is a tactic used by any business company to promote their product or services, reach out to the customer and create a strong market position. Click To Tweet

Product Strategy of Uber

Camp and Kalanick have gone through several stages in their product development and have now finally settled on three major services the business offers through the app.

These services are:

1. Uber Ride – This provides transportation services through which anyone can travel to any location by booking a cab with a few clicks. The company ensures the safety and hygiene of the cabs.

2. Uber Eats – The company also provides food delivery services by which you can order food and get it delivered to your place from your favourite restaurants with a minimal delivery fee.

3. Uber Freight – In this Uber provides a parcel transportation service, by which you can send any kind of parcel with different customizable packings anywhere.

All these services are available in a single app that is user-friendly and easily accessible.

Pricing Strategy of Uber

As Uber became a global product, the founders knew that their pricing for the United States of America, where the app was conceived and built, would create adaptation problems for them in the other regions of the world they were expanding to.

And so, they applied Marketing 101 knowledge: Price according to who you’re serving.

Many businesses fail because they believe in a uniform price. But this is a trick most global businesses operate on and it is exactly why they are global even with the unstable economic situation of the world.

Uber  defines its prices according to the country and the area it is working in. It has different charges for every country.

There are several kinds of cabs available of different sizes for every number of customers and the prices are charged accordingly. The prices also fluctuate with demand-supply conditions and premium charges are collected in peak hours.



Place and Distribution Strategy of Uber

Uber has expanded and is still expanding its services in different regions. It provides its services across the world in over 40 countries and 700 plus cities. They distribute their services through their websites and mobile apps that are available both on Android and iOS platforms.

You can request rides and meals at any place by just a tap and you can easily track your orders from the app.

The app also has a customer support system, where customers can post any kind of complaints or difficulties faced.

Promotional Strategy of Uber

This is where it gets really interesting.

Remember we learnt that Uber was first marketed using word of mouth? And that, as time went on, it worked social media to its benefit?

They did not stop there, of course!

They have tried many other attempts to promote the brand and grab the attention of customers. Some of these strategies failed, while some succeeded. Among those ones that succeeded, some took quite some time to yield results.

And herein lies the first teachable moment.

Uber relied heavily on data to keep going with some of their promotional efforts. If they had baulked at the possibility of a failed marketing effort, some of these would have stalled their progress by a few years. Product Growth Marketing is data based and it is this data that leads to creating the product that customers would enjoy using.

Among the efforts which took time to yield results were their referral program, where free rides and coupon codes were provided for existing users who helped them acquire new customers to get discounts of up to 25% on Uber trips.

After some time, that marketing effort yielded the results the founders wanted and it became one of Uber’s most popular promotional tools. They essentially converted their customers to marketers who employed word-of-mouth marketing just so they could get free rides and discounts on their next trip.

Since then, Uber doesn’t spend much on advertising. All they do is roll out new offers and features, and the customers do the rest.

There’s also the occasional promotional stunt, of course. What’s a brand without them?

Now that we have seen the Marketing Mix in action for Uber, let us take a look at some lessons from their product marketing process, shall we?



Lessons learnt from Uber Marketing Strategy

Uber created a winning solution: Uber founder Travis Kalanick saw a problem with the way cabs were hailed and created a new way to solve it with a unique solution. Him and his co-founder reimagined the taxi experience to make it more attractive, seamless, and convenient for everyone involved.

The biggest foundational element of creating a winning marketing strategy is to have a winning product or service — unlike anything anyone else has seen before.

Uber connected a great team with a sizeable market: Kalanick understood the importance of having a strong project manager, so his first step before launching the business or thinking about a marketing campaign was to align himself with the right person for the job.

They got the funding they needed: Uber would not be the massive success it is today without capital. It is going to be a lot harder to orchestrate successful marketing campaigns without proper funding.

In its first round of funding, Uber raised $11 million from backers. Today, Uber has funded over 22 rounds of funding for a total of $24.2 billion. The first $11 million was raised in 2010.

Uber knows their customer base: Uber knows their target audience and as a result of that, they were able to effectively market to them.

Uber understood the needs of both their riders and drivers and was able to create effective,  innovative marketing strategies to meet the needs of both sets of people.

For example, Uber focused on marketing Uber Eats during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the United Kingdom, the company also befriended the community by carrying out a campaign that focused on praising the work of frontline healthcare workers with their campaign #GratefulUK. The campaign involved offering healthcare workers free rides and meals and it led to more downloads and rides completed for them.

Finally…

Now, Uber is expected to generate an astonishing $10 billion in revenue a year, despite growing competition from alternative ride-sharing companies such as Lyft.

And with its impressive Product Marketing, Given current trends, it is expected that the company will continue growing over the next few years.

Sign up for our Product Marketing Crash Course and get many more in depth case studies like this to arm yourself with the knowledge to sell to TODAY’s customers.

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