I've already applied to the Marketing & Business Development Manager opening for Bucharest, but then I thought: Why not make it easier for you to pick me? Why let you spend a lot of time sifting through CVs when you can see my thinking? So here it is - my opinion on how BlaBlaCar should go forward in Romania.
So how are all these people going to travel? Train traffic is at 10% of what it used to be and air traffic is still prohibitively expensive for most Romanians. So they got to their cars and minibuses. The minibus, regional transportation businesses are booming, chipping away at train travellers. Yet, the experience they offer is uncomfortable at best and frightful at the worst. This leaves us the cars.
Now, you probably know all this since you already entered our market. What you might not know is how Romanians feel about sharing their car.
What needs should BlaBlaCar communication address?
On a rational/functional level - BlaBlaCar should make travel more fun, more accessible and more affordable. On an implicit/psychological level - BlaBlaCar has the great opportunity of making Romanians more trustful, more open and thus happier. On a side note, I think succeeding big in Romania would do a world of good because Romanians still carry some of the Communist legacy anxiey. Youths less so, but we need to cure more generations :)
Ok....so which Romanians?
Of course - you can target also occasional travellers but it's more efficient to build trial and routine at the same time.
How should we address these people?
Think partnerships that lend credibility, trust and fun!
One thing is for sure - young people (frequently called Millennials) do not like being sold to. Or harassed with ads. They love serendipitous surprises and helping hands. So how do we do that? By speaking to them in a context where people naturally think about transportation and by building word of mouth. And at the same time, work on the psychological level by addressing the fears they might have. So here are some of the partnerships that I would build:
oh...and one last thing that popped into my mind after this beautiful slide was done: team up with marathon organisers (we have several marathons all over Romania) and bikers that go mountain-biking at the weekend. Why not offer these people a chance to talk about their passions while on the way? Also, a rich source of WOM are tech communities.
Beyond that, there are tactical partnerships such as telecom companies (Orange), pizza deliveries (Jerry Pizza, Fabio) , movies tie-ins.
How Would I fit in at BlaBlaCar
In the Marketing And Business Development role of course, but beyond that?
Creativity, Novelty and Adventure - I keep my energy up by going horseback riding and skiing, keep my mind fresh by learning something each day, exercise my creativity by finding new ways to grow businesses. Yes, yes, I am T-shaped personality.
I am an entrepreneur - I built 2 companies in 5 years while holding various marketing positions. One company is fine, the other is a lesson. I also polished my marketing approach in a SaaS business growing its marketing team and processes from scratch.
I love your mission - make travel fun and affordable, protect the environment and help people connect. Might I also add changing the fabric of the economy from corporation-driven to socially-driven?
The world is my playground - kidding but not very much: I've coordinated multi-national teams, built digital marketing campaigns and outreach campaigns in several countries and studied as much as I could abroad.
Build, try, tinker - I live for this stuff and I deeply enjoyed building this report and this page.
Sharing is caring - In all my previous roles I built teams, hired, despaired and then succeeded in making it work.