I remember watching a Youtube video the other day, of an interview with a very famous marketing strategist who said…
“If you are in the business of disrupting a major competitor, and you want to gain market share, do what Uber did…”
Now, at first I wasn’t sure what he exactly meant, and sadly he hadn’t expanded much on the idea.
But then I started to dig a little deeper into Uber’s marketing strategy through my own research and prior knowledge.
What Uber did was simple, but tends to cross our minds a lot of times as marketers.
Before Lyft, and many other Uber competitors, the biggest industry they had to disrupt was the taxi business.
The taxi business was their biggest competitor.
The taxi business has been running for decades, where drivers barely survived of their earnings, on top of the many bad experiences customers had with no other alternative.
But the problem wasn’t the taxi business itself, the problem was the taxi business’s inability to adapt.
The way we pay for cabs hasn’t changed much except for an added debit machine to accept debit/credit cards.
Uber challenged the traditional method of transportation by integrating technology and freedom for their drivers.
Whether Uber pays their drivers well or not, it doesn’t escape the fact that Uber has provided a side-hustle for many families who wanted to generate income for themselves, and to provide for a more comfortable and safe environment for their customers in a easy and accessible way.
So what is Uber’s marketing strategy, and how can you implement it into your own business?
Uber did not want to associate themselves or market themselves as another taxi business.
What they had to do was create a “new category”…. P2P Ride-Sharing
Creating a new category is one of the 22 immutable laws of marketing which says…
When you are creating a new product or service, take an existing customer who is already familiar with a specific product, and just make it better.
By doing this, you build customer comfort to have them trust the experience because it’s not something totally new, and after the experience is over, you would have wanted to show them that the value exceeded their expectations.
By doing this, we market the product as a new category in the customers mind and they will not associate you as every other company, but a new one!
Uber’s success is implementing smart phone technology and globalization of the taxi business. It was about giving drivers and customers freedom, accessibility, in a much more collaborative way.
Which was the exact problem that people faced with the taxi business.
What are some examples of this strategy?
I don’t want to get off topic, but another example of this, was with the “Smart Phone”. iPhone was one of the first dominant Smart Phones, which was a new category of the typical “Phone”. They disrupted the market by integrating convenience and easy access using smart technology.
What Uber has done is no different.
Sure Uber is promoting itself through word-of-mouth and referrals, but these are basic strategies that anyone can implement.
What really differentiated Uber from the taxi industry was it’s ability to take what already exists in the customers mind… and just make it better.
The taxi business has failed to adapt to the changing world of technology and it was about time things started to change.
This is similar to Airbnb who disrupted the hotel industry, or Skip the Dishes who disrupted the food delivery business.
A new wave of disruption is starting to come!
Now what if you decided to build something totally brand new, instead of better?
Trying to build something that is completely brand new or isn’t already familiar in the customers mind is extremely risky, difficult, and can takes years before people will begin to trust it’s use.
Instead why not build on what already exists and make it better?
What’s next for Uber?
The best part about is Uber is they are not slowing down.
Some of there future plans consist of providing self-driving cards through the integration of Artificial Intelligence.
You can feel bad for the drivers, but this is just another wave of what is about to come.
If you would like to learn more marketing strategies just like this, click here to follow me on Medium!
Sachin Kaushal — Business Blogger
P.S. Uber is the best example of a company that has disrupted a massive industry which was the taxi business.
By creating a new category of P2P ride-sharing and solving the many problems their customers were originally facing, they were able to disrupt the taxi industry.
I can see what that famous marketing strategist in the video meant now.
Uber has directly solved the problems that many customers were facing when driving in a cab or taxi, and by implementing smart technology everyone is safe and the communication between both parties is much more collaborative.
Through rating systems both parties will know how safe and good their experience will be.
Besides the fact that Uber uses a lot of referral based marketing, what they have done is undoubtedly a very powerful marketing strategy.
What are some other examples of this strategy being used in today’s world?
New York City!!!