In a world of global brands and omnipresent digital campaigns, it’s easy to forget that every purchase is local and every customer is an individual. High-growth brands must quickly learn what makes each market different and how to connect with consumers in the context of where and who they are. Susana De Luca understands this challenge well, having grown Uber’s presence in South America, tailoring their service to new markets and new riders. Now as the Head of Marketing for Glovo, newly acquired by Delivery Hero, she’s spearheading growth at a new brand.
Susana De Luca | Interview
Changing how South America Eats
Glovo is a delivery service app that allows you to have food and groceries shipped or delivered to you. I am the Head of Marketing of Central America at Glovo, managing an 8-person team of marketers, analysts and business intelligence experts. We cover online strategy, promotions, user acquisition and retention. We also have a part of the team devoted to data and insights, which measure everything we do, while making sure we are getting the right results.
Glovo is a Spanish company, and that is very exciting for me, both personal and professionally, because it’s very different culturally as a Latin American. They launched in our region two or three years ago, and I am responsible for the growth plans and executions in different markets. Each country has its own tailored plan and strategy. My team is completely distributed across the region, and this is amazing because it allows me to get to know the different cultures, markets, dynamics and countries from where I am currently based in Bogota, Colombia.
How I built my marketing strategy
I consider myself 100% a marketing person. I started my own business in college providing experience and brand marketing strategies to small businesses, restaurants and bars. The business eventually turned into a wedding and event planning company. In early 2014, Uber contacted me with an opportunity to join their marketing team and that’s when I started my career in growth. I worked there for six years! I’ve always loved entrepreneurship, but my time at Uber really shaped my career.
When I started, the app was only available in Mexico and Colombia. This really dropped me into the deep end of the technology world. The role helped me understand how to scale my ideas and reach bigger audiences through technology. I touched every aspect of marketing – experiential, PR, events, social media – and was able to learn what was required to grow a brand in a new country.
Over time, I began working more closely in the area I enjoy most – branding. I started working closely with Brand, Product and Design teams to launch new products and continue story telling in Colombia and across LatAm. I have also managed CRM teams working on user activation strategies and media teams for acquisition work in traditional and digital media. We worked on the launch of different types of mobility services, different ways of paying and new products and we built out the first online marketing campaigns.
Scaling ideas and markets with data
The first challenge for every marketer is to understand the value of your brand and your services. This is the key to everything you do. The unique thing that makes someone choose one service over another is how the service meets their needs and solves their problems.
- Understand your customers
The marketing team for me is the user ambassador. All customers have different needs and data is an amazing way to start to get a picture of what your users care about. For example: people might complain because you are charging extra fees. Based on their order history, you see that they are only buying the cheapest food and choosing free delivery every month. What does this tell you? It tells you that they just want a meal: fast, convenient and cheap. They don’t really care about variety.
You can also use demographic information to start understanding the broader context: what do they spend money on, what kinds of promotion mechanics might work and what services they invest in. Data talks to me and I use both qualitative and quantitative to complement each other.
- Understand what you have to offer
You want to understand what about your brand or service is fulfilling your users’ needs. Based on your understanding of your customers, you want to find what solutions your business has to offer to them.
- Understand what makes you different and makes a difference for your consumer
With Uber, for example, the differentiator was safety. If you get into a stranger’s car, you want to know that you will arrive safely at your destination. When you work in a delivery app, it’s very different and it varies across markets. In some markets you want food and you want it warm. I do competitive analysis to understand what solutions we have that are better than what the market currently offers and what value added services we can provide to stand out. The thin slice there is what makes you different.
Finally, you want to make sure that you tie everything together in a story that is coherent and makes sense to the end customer. It takes a lot of internal work and you need to start from inside to understand the values you chose, why they matter and how to tie it all together. This is where many companies miss the mark. You want to make sure every touch point -internal and external – is connected to the DNA of the brand for a consistent, but personal, message.
It’s important to have this ready before you launch. Asking the right questions before you start doing anything can save a lot of time, effort and money. Once your story, team, values and differentiators are aligned, then you can really focus on growth.