The use of data to drive growth has been the mantra of marketers over the past couple of years, but very few brands have been able to apply data-driven insights to build effective user acquisition and engagement strategies. One brand that has seen success is Cleartrip.
Cleartrip is an online travel aggregator website for booking flights and train tickets, hotel reservations, and holiday packages. In 2018, it reported annual revenues of $45M. With over 10M app downloads, Cleartrip is a favorite among users who want a hassle-free way to to book travel. The brand has also partnered with Google Flights for its flight search application and is seeing huge traction there as well. Cleartrip’s success can be largely attributed to a culture that fosters experimentation, innovation, and data to support phenomenal growth and stay ahead of the competition in a highly competitive market.
Hi Pallav. Very excited to chat with you and learn Cleartrip’s growth story. The highlights of your journey will definitely help mobile marketers build a powerful approach to sustained growth and revenues.
Hi Almitra, it is great to see CleverTap driving this effort and publishing the learnings to the broader community. The app economy is growing at an exponential rate and there is so much we can all learn from each other.
The online travel sector has emerged as a leading driver of growth in the overall travel industry, touted to be worth $1,091 billion by 2022. With a plethora of mobile apps available to users, mobile travel service bookings as a share of total global online bookings have skyrocketed by over 230% between 2015 and 2016 alone. There is definitely no one-size fits all, and instead of reinventing the wheel, marketers can share knowledge so not only seasoned professionals but early-stage brands can have some quick wins.
As you know, CleverTap helps us solve most of these challenges and I am excited to discuss how we use your marketing platform to convert data into insights and use those to drive customer engagement. We have all seen this with Netflix — data can be a sustained competitive advantage, if mined the right way.
Before we delve deeper into how you harness data to delight your users, can you tell us more about your role at Cleartrip and what defines success for you?
I head Cleartrip’s global growth strategy and lead the efforts around increasing user acquisition, mobile engagement, and customer retention throughout the entire user lifecycle. I have been with Cleartrip for almost 5 years and we have worked very hard to build this growth culture.
For us, growth is a mindset. It extends to all functions, not just marketing. It is also not a point-in-time activity but something that is an integral part of our culture here. We have seen a 10X increase in users with the right combination of these 3 parameters: product, people, and process.
The key success KPIs for my group are:
What growth initiatives did your undertake that led to maximum ROI on your efforts? If you have to advise brands on how to optimize their efforts, what would you recommend?
The Cleartrip app has 10M+ downloads. According to Hubspot, 68% of organizations work without an identifiable funnel. Econsultancy quotes that for every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them.
So we look at not only how to acquire new users, but also make sure the existing ones have a great experience once they find us. If a user has a bad experience with your brand, the loss is unquantifiable. They will not use your brand and also recommend their network to not use your brand, which is a problem that you don’t want to address.
The initiatives that have yielded the biggest short-term and long-term benefits are:
A user goes through various stages of growth as they engage with you across digital touchpoints. This gets complicated when you use different engagement channels such as push, email, SMS, etc.
This multi-dimensional matrix is difficult to understand and act upon. Only when the entire user journey is stitched together can you get the real truth rather than ad-hoc queries that provide misleading answers based on short-term user actions. CleverTap helps us build this complete map of our users across mobile moments, which helps us engage them better.
For example, if a user uninstalls your app is it because your app crashed or because you sent too many marketing campaigns? This question is best answered when you look at all the user actions in a holistic way. Ideally the product and marketing teams need to come together at every stage of the user lifecycle curve to get insights and propel them to the next logical stage of growth.
Using data analysis without context is like driving a car without knowing your end destination. Today’s marketers need to be data-driven. They should use tools that help them to better understand data rather than having to run to a data analyst to get insights.
Growth-friendly tools like CleverTap help us to do exactly that. This democratization of information is highly beneficial to organizations and can drive rapid growth. Data+context is a sure win for high-growth brands.
Couldn’t agree more. Can you recommend some CleverTap features that you use and other growth marketers could benefit from?
Cleartrip has been a CleverTap customer right from the start, and we’ve been excited to see it evolve from a set of features to a comprehensive mobile marketing platform. Here are some of the features that I highly recommend.
The Intelligent Mobile Marketing Platform
That’s great. Can you also highlight some growth marketing campaigns that you run and the ROI on those?
With CleverTap, we are able to:
As a growth enabler, we are always amazed by how our users use our platform. What would you recommend to teams that are looking to leverage growth marketing to the fullest?
As of 2016, revenues worth $65 billion were generated through mobile app bookings,compared to just $115 million earned through traditional online bookings. This number is only likely to grow in the future as the share of mobile app bookings continues to rise. With over 5% of all apps available across both Android and iOS platforms being travel-centric apps, it creates a highly competitive marketplace. Here are some that I would like to particularly focus on:
Build a culture of growth and innovation: Experimenting is very important to keep in mind as you drive growth. Fail but fail fast, and learn from your efforts to improve your next growth strategies.
Messages, product screens, and feature roll-outs need to be constantly A/B tested so brands can figure out where the optimal ROI is and how the use the shortest path to drive growth.
How does Cleartrip plan to continue this phenomenal growth? How do you see CleverTap playing a role?
Marketing automation is the key here. As a growth team, we are looking to explore predictive analytics. The ability to create automated segments and trend their behavior with some confidence in the outcome makes experimentation a lot easier. For example, if you have multiple segments – champions, loyal users, potential loyalists – you can decide which segment needs to be marketed to with discount coupons to get the best ROI. Just looking at giving a 20% to users who haven’t transacted in the past one month is a thing of the past. Marrying specific user actions to a broder data set helps create more opportunities.
Pallav, we wish continued success to Cleartrip and are looking forward to more tips from you in the near future. I am sure our readers will learn a lot from your experience and the fact that it is measurable and SMART.
Thanks Almitra! Growth is often an overused term, similar to what big data was a few years ago. As leaders we need to make sure we show a direction that is replicable and doesn’t take months to implement. This agility is what keeps a brand relevant in the mind of their users. It is not dependent on whether you are a startup or a Fortune 500 business — it is the attitude and the willingness to adapt to change in user preferences is what will make the difference.
The Intelligent Mobile Marketing Platform