How would you like to land 25,000 new customers every week? If that sounds impossible, it’s not. Uber is doing it and its general manager just shared his marketing secrets with me.
Who hasn’t shouted that word out, or raised their arm high in the air to hail one, or stood on a windy, rain-soaked street corner to get a ride home, or to arrive on time to an important appointment?
Uber, whose corporate tagline is “everyone’s private driver,” has set a goal of changing the way in which people get from one place to another. Uber connects riders to drivers through an app. Tap and swipe your Smartphone a few times, and you will arrive home, safe and sound, warm and dry in the winter and cool, calm and collected in the summer.
Besides the advantages to passengers, Uber also is committed to providing job opportunities to beleaguered taxi drivers in a profession known for long hours and being a hit and miss proposition.
In 2014 alone, some 140 million people summoned an Uber taxi. Uber now has 160,000 drivers in 290 cities worldwide.
Two months ago, Forbes estimated Uber’s valuation, as a start-up, at $50 billion and speculated that when it goes public, which is probably only a matter of time, investors will reward it with a market valuation of close to $70 billion. That’s higher than 80% of the companies whose shares trade publicly.
I just experienced a phenomenal opportunity to connect with Uber’s New York general manger, Josh Mohrer on the premier broadcast of my new weekly radio program, Mind Your Business, on 77 WABC Radio. I invite you to listen in every Sunday night from 11pm – midnight. I promise you won’t go to sleep before you’ve been exposed to an intriguing show, chock-full of business insights and marketing strategies, to get you off to a fast start on Monday morning.
My conversation with Josh took about 20 minutes, but what I and my listeners learned from him will last a lifetime.
Mohrer told me that 25,000 new customers in New York alone reserve rides with Uber every week! And, the reason for their growing popularity is that, in most locations, one can get a car within 3 to 4 minutes. “Our number one value is reliability,” Mohrer said. “There are reliability issues with a lot of our competitors, so we said, let’s build a service where people can always get a ride anywhere in the city, reliably, no matter what the situation.”
In doing so, Uber turned an industry known for inconsistency upside down, by adapting modern technology to solve real-life problems.
Both riders and drivers love their Uber.
“For the riders; our app becomes a cocktail party trick. Look at this, I’ll push a button and a car will show up,” Mohrer said.
But their real target market is the taxi driver. Impressive as Uber’s app is, by allowing riders to summon a cab, introducing the driver and passenger to each other by name, and tracking the progress of the taxi en route to the pickup spot, Uber also understands the value of multichannel marketing using time-honored, proven techniques.
Uber invests heavily in placards on the back of New York City MTA buses. “I run those bus ads because I want drivers in Yellow Cabs or other car services to see there’s actually a far superior economic opportunity with Uber,” Mohrer said on the air.
Uber doesn’t limit its marketing prowess to taxis and buses. It knows how to truck too. At the start of the summer, Uber instituted a new promotion. For one day in eight cities, you could hail a nearby Uber-rented ice cream truck to deliver you a cold treat right to your home or place of work.
It cost Uber $2,000 for each truck, but it was worth every penny, driving home the message that even in 95-degree heat, Uber can deliver what it promises, and on time. Sounds like a winning formula, to me.
This Week’s Bottom Line Action Step: Prove your reliability and customers will flock to you.