Over the years Uber’s expansion into other spaces such as Food Delivery has served the company well in increasing market share. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the technology marketing strategy examples to be learned from Uber’s expansion whether you are a tech startup or seasoned software business.
Uber recently launched its grocery delivery service, starting with Latin America and Canada. The move comes at a time when Uber is looking to rapidly expand market share in the food delivery space, as well as focus on other revenue sources since the pandemic has reduced demand for Uber’s primary rideshare activities. To help fuel this expansion, Uber recently acquired food delivery competitor PostMates for 2.65 billion. The market entry is sure to give Instacart a run for their money. From a consumer perspective, it’s certainly advantageous to have options to choose from, and from a marketing perspective, Uber’s expansion strategy, creates many learning opportunities.
Here are 11 Technology Marketing Strategy Examples to Learn from Uber’s Grocery Delivery Expansion
Lesson #1: Start with your big technology idea by concentrating on a niche
It’s often tempting when you have a great idea to want to be everything to everyone, and in the end, end up being no one to anyone. The grand vision is always so much bigger and more exciting. The pathway to get to the grand vision is often what makes the difference between the companies that thrive and those that struggle. One central element to note from Uber’s market strategy is the dominance of the ridesharing industry. The founders of Uber may have always had a vision of expanding into other possible delivery areas, including food and groceries. However, by starting in a niche market such as ridesharing, which at the time had little to no competition, Uber was able to dominate the market quickly, gain a considerable market share and build a reputable brand.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: When you have to select where to spend your marketing dollars or the key targets to focus on, it’s often better to start with a niche and then expand from there. Additionally, focusing on a niche allows you to amplify your market reach even if you have a limited marketing budget instead of spreading yourself thin.
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Lesson #2: Build a solid reputation in an industry
Trust makes a big difference in any sales transaction. Customers are less likely to buy from a company that they don’t deem reputable. For many years, Uber’s strategy has been to build a solid reputation in the ridesharing industry. It’s important to note that over the years, this reputation has come under siege due to many incidents. With that said, the brand still has a long-standing reputation as a company that you can trust with sensitive information such as your credit card details and your home address.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: The lesson to learn here is that, as you concentrate on building a trustworthy brand for your business, you may run into issues. You have to keep going and focus on what makes your brand unique. Building a brand takes time and often comes with its challenges, but it’s worth the effort as it can help in your future brand expansion goals.
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Lesson #3: Create a clientele base that you can cross-sell to in the future
As you look to start marketing your technology business to a specific industry or niche market, also think about ways that you can tap into that market to sell additional services or products. In Uber’s case, it can quickly capitalize on its existing customer base who are everyday people with the need for grocery delivery.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: Choose your niche market wisely if you plan on expanding your market down the line. It’s always easier to market to existing clients who know and love your brand than to market to an entirely new audience that does not.
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Lesson #4: Expand in phases while capitalizing on your existing customer base
Again, the expansion approach that Uber has taken over the years has been very systematic and has allowed for a more phased market growth. One can argue that Uber’s move into the food delivery space with Uber Eats makes the transition to the grocery delivery industry much more seamless. The service is about the same; the only difference is, this time, the products are the groceries and not restaurant takeout.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: Always create your marketing initiatives in phases – try out a step, find out if it works, and then refine and reiterate before trying something else.
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Lesson #5: Make it easy for existing customers to use the new solution you build
One of the most notable elements of Uber’s expansion strategy is how seamless they have made it for existing customers to use any of their services. It’s pretty much similar to having a Google account today, signing in, and then having access to all of Google’s products that you’d like to use. This approach makes the barrier of entry of a customer not wanting to sign up for a new service non-existent. With one login to your account to request for a ride, you might find yourself looking for essential toiletries from the nearest grocery store delivered to your hotel just because it’s all integrated.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: Having a great product design goes hand-in-hand with creating successful marketing campaigns. No matter how amazing your marketing team is, if you make it clunky or cumbersome for users to sign up for a new service, you are likely to have fewer conversions and many drop-offs. Always look to simplify your processes and create as little barriers to entry as possible. Continuously track customer journeys on your website and software applications to identify why customers are dropping off to help improve marketing results.
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Lesson #6: Create incentives for existing customers when cross-selling
If you want your existing customers to try your new software solution or service, be sure to make it easy for that to happen by enticing the customers with an incentive. These incentives even work better when they are exclusive deals for customers only. In Uber’s case, they frequently offer discounts or free delivery fee deals to existing Uber customers.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: Incentivize your target audience to try out new products from you by offering exclusive discounts. Exclusivity marketing also works pretty well when you are launching new software products and want to create early user buzz. There is something special about being one of the few people to try something new.
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Lesson #7: Focus on selling convenience instead of technology features to eliminate your competition
As mentioned earlier, part of Uber’s strategy is to sell convenience. The convenience of not having to create multiple accounts and the convenience of using Uber for different types of delivery services. When you compete on other critical strategic benefits of your products, it becomes more difficult for a competitor to copy your solution easily. Features are easy to copy, provided your competitor has a similar expertise. Strategic benefits such as convenience, belief in the company’s core philosophy, and a connection with the brand are not as easy to copy.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: Focus your tech marketing efforts on why your brand is unique and continuously build on that. Your software solution features are the enablers. For instance, if your ai-powered interface allows companies to automate tracking their financial transactions, that enables your unique brand identifier of wanting to empower companies to handle their financials inhouse. In this example, your marketing should focus on how businesses can be empowered and not just how impressive your machine learning engine is. The more your users buy into your vision of an empowered business, the less likely they are to look elsewhere, even if your competitor releases a similar version of your product.
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Lesson #8: Pay attention to where the industry is headed but stay focused
The technology industry moves at rapid speed, and as a result, you want to ensure that your company stays in the know at all times. There is a difference, however, between staying in the know and not staying focused on your brand vision. Mostly, you have to pay attention to what lies ahead and create plans to meet the changing landscape, but you also have to ensure that you do this in a way that doesn’t distract from your core business.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: In today’s world, marketers are fortunate to have access to a broad range of marketing tools and strategies. You’d often find businesses who might try out a marketing strategy or solution and, without giving it enough time, abandon it to try the next new hottest trend. Always try to think in terms of the long-term goals as well as short-term. This type of approach allows you to keep an eye on new markets and strategies that you’d like to implement while staying focused on what you have to do today.
Lesson #9: Always stay true to your unique brand identifier
One of the issues with rapid market expansion is the possibility of losing that secret-sauce that makes your company special. Staying true to your unique brand identifier is critical as you look into expanding into new markets and grow your business’ market share. Always ensure that you have the core principles of your business non-negotiables which are, what you’d like a customer to think about first when they think of your brand and what you don’t want them to associate with your brand. If you find that in the process of expansion, you are losing more of your brand voice, you may expand, but it the process, you might become like everyone else.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: Always ensure that your unique brand identifier shines through every marketing initiative that you have today. There should be no compromises if the compromise takes away from what makes your brand unique. Your goal is to stand out and not blend in.
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Lesson #10: Be nimble and pivot often with your marketing and business
While you don’t want to compromise on certain core elements of your business that makes you unique, you also have to be prepared to change when need be; continually. In Uber’s case, the need for the move into grocery store delivery services comes at a time when there is a massive demand for these types of services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: When testing out marketing campaigns or new marketing initiatives, create realistic benchmarks based on industry data on how long it will take for you to start seeing positive results. Always have a pull-the-plug or change-the-strategy plan in place. However, do this in a way that genuinely gives that marketing initiative a chance to make an impact. As an example, you can’t start blogging and then pull the plug after a month just because you don’t have any subscribers or haven’t sold any new business as a result of your blog. At the same time, empower your marketing teams in a way that they can quickly pivot when needed. With this in mind, try to create short-term detailed marketing plans for three months at a time.
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Lesson #11: Don’t worry so much about not being the 1st in your industry. Timing is everything.
Being the first mover has its advantages, but it also has serious drawbacks. For one, you have to educate a market that may not be ready for your services. In some cases, businesses fail, just because of the education when they are early, only to find another company succeeding in selling the same services years down the line. Timing is everything. Do not rush into a new space just because you want to be the first one to do so. It’s likely that right now, Uber will not face the same challenges that Instacart had when they introduced their grocery store delivery business. This is because there is now a proven business model, and customers have bought into the idea of having someone else grocery shop for them.
Key marketing strategy takeaway: Be methodological in your expansion and marketing strategies. If you need a little bit more time to develop a concept, do not rush to deliver or market a product that’s not ready just because you want to beat a competitor to the punch. At the end of the day, as the saying goes, it’s not who laughs first that matters, but who laughs last.