Yash Bhatia

Shaadi.com pitches itself as a dating platform for ‘desis’ in the US, UK, Canada and UAE

Adhish Zaveri, AVP – marketing, Shaadi.com, talks about global positioning, new campaign, and how the founder’s appearance in ‘Shark Tank’ has aided the matrimonial platform.

The matchmaking segment in India is growing at a fast pace. According to Statista, the market volume of matchmaking will reach over $302 million by 2027. The segment’s revenue will grow at a rate of 0.91% (annually) between 2023 and 2027. And, the number of matrimonial platform users will increase to over 29 million by 2027.

It’s a big market, indeed. One of the big players in the market is Shaadi.com, which was founded in 1996 by Anupam Mittal. The matrimonial platform began its journey with the name ‘Sagaai.com’, which was changed to Shaadi.com in 1999.

Shaadi.com is the one of biggest drivers in the Indian matchmaking business. It also operates in countries like Canada, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Adhish Zaveri, AVP - marketing, Shaadi.com, tells afaqs!, “Globally, we target Indian catchment areas. The purpose is to get more people of Indian, or South Asian, origin.”

As far as brand positioning goes, he adds, “In India, we have positioned ourselves as a matchmaking business or service, as families are involved. Globally, we position ourselves as a serious dating platform.”

Shaadi.com has bought the dating application ‘Frill’. It has also invested in another dating app ‘Thrill’.

On what differentiates Shaadi.com from dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, etc., Zaveri mentions, “Casual dating is a big thing globally. The big differentiator for our business is positioning ourselves as a serious dating platform and for that, we use outdoor ads as an important media vehicle.”

Shaadi.com's ad placement on the bus in New York City
Shaadi.com's ad placement on the bus in New York City

In addition to outdoor ads, Shaadi.com also advertises on Indian television shows that are aired globally through various platforms. YouTube is also an important channel for Shaadi.com. Globally, its focus is digital-first, whereas in India, it’s more about TV advertising.

The dating culture has drastically changed in metro cities, with the introduction of various apps in the market. During COVID-induced lockdowns, people were more into virtual dates and video calls.

Is Shaadi.com planning to foray into the dating space in India? Zaveri responds, “In the Indian market, we are not planning to venture into the dating business. In our country, people in the 16-17 and 24-25 age groups are mostly into dating. Shaadi.com’s TG is in the 25-plus age group.”

New campaign

Recently, Shaadi.com unveiled a feature ‘Shaadi Live’. It allows users to have a quick five-minute virtual rendezvous with up to 10 potential matches within an hour. The company launched this feature with a campaign featuring Mittal as a superhero.

Elaborating on the campaign, Zaveri mentions, “We see this as a revolutionary offering in the matchmaking space, as it fundamentally solves two core issues. First, faster meetings, as it’s a long process to set up a profile on the platform, etc.”

The second issue that it solves is by giving an opportunity to people to showcase their personality. A user can understand the visceral reactions through body language, accent and the way of speaking through Shaadi Live.

80% of the signups on Shaadi Live involve individuals, with parents contributing just 10-15%.

Founder-cum-brand ambassador

With the new trend, in which founders are turning out to be a face of their brand. In this campaign also, the founder was featured.

When asked about Mittal's appearance in the latest campaign, Zaveri points out that the brand started this trend last year. 

Shaadi.com pitches itself as a dating platform for ‘desis’ in the US, UK, Canada and UAE

“In this case, it was clear that we were looking to establish a revolutionary service. With (reality show) ‘Shark Tank India’ being launched on the heels of the campaign, we knew that the buzz around him (Mittal) would be quite high. Hence, we decided to do it.”

“The only advantage of having a founder-led campaign is that nobody else can own that celebrity and it is exclusive to the brand. And most importantly, it doesn't cost you anything,” adds Zaveri.

On the impact of Mittal’s ‘Shark Tank India’ appearance on Shaadi.com’s business, Zaveri says, “There was definitely an impact on our business after his ‘Shark Tank India’ appearance. Tech companies usually don't have any face value, as compared to other categories. With his appearance, there was a kind of a personification of our brand.”

“How the founder is perceived by people, is important, as it plays a role in how the brand is perceived.”

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