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How India Started Paying Through Mobile

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The E-wallet (or Mobile wallet) category in India until two years back was a very different space, when only cash transactions used to happen. Big Telecom players like Vodafone with its ‘m-pesa’ and Airtel with its ‘Airtel Money’ tried their hand at convincing the consumer to adopt e-wallets. But they could not make a breakthrough with just two million subscribers accrued in more than five years.  

This was all thanks to the super cautious Indian consumer who doesn’t trust anyone when it comes to his money. And transacting online using a mobile App would be the last thing that he would do. While smartphone penetration in India is growing rapidly, imbibing technology in daily lives is still a challenge with the common class. 

Hence the marketing objectives for PayTM became two-pronged:  

(1) Gaining Consumer Trust, so that he starts considering PayTM as an alternative to cash, and; (2) Changing consumer behaviour, so that he overcomes his inertia of trying new technology and sees various benefits of using PayTM. 


Using Maxus' proprietary tool Resolve, for ‘Gaining Consumer Trust’, the agency arrived at the top three communication tasks based on the category and audience requirements: 

1. Build Top of Mind RecallBreak the clutter through communication/awareness strategies so people are at least familiar with it.  

2. Build Brand Stature: The brand has to be big enough to garner trust as it is their money that we are talking about. 

3. Establish the Brand Icon: A new player has to establish its identity (audio-visual) firmly in order to attract attention. 

Maxus focused on high reach corridors and high affinity vehicles.  

Cricket was a natural choice as it has an unparalleled reach and following in India. It struck at a very opportune time and signed on the four year PayTM-BCCI sponsorship (BCCI – Board of control for cricket in India). This entitled the brand to Titling rights of All India matches played in India for four years (example – All series to be called PayTM Cup) 

The association gave an unprecedented earned media value thereby lending enormous brand exposure.  

To build TOP-OF-MIND-AWARENESS, apart from cricket, it was also present on India’s top 10 TV channels. 

For ensuring HIGH BRAND ICON FOCUS, the agency did a STRATEGIC channel partnership with India’s most trusted news Network NDTV. This entitled it to 50%:50% exposure between brand and channel logo on screen.  

To reach out to influencers in the target audience, it also did various print ads and innovations in leading dailies across the country.  

All of these initiatives ensured that it reached 85% of its audience in an impactful manner. 

For ‘Changing consumer behaviour’, the communications strategy was split into two parts: 

1. Demonstrate and Educate the consumer about the benefits of using PayTM 
2. Make the brand PayTM visible at all moments of truth, i.e., moments of actual transaction. 


‘Educating the consumer’ – required the agency to not just use media differently, but also change the communication. Instead of emotional story copies, it focused on rational ‘How-to-use’ copies which helped demonstrate and educate about the width of services PayTM offers like Uber cab payments, electricity and water bill payments and movie ticket booking. 

Since this time the media task was to give the consumer frequent cues, Maxus used Print, but it took mastheads instead of just large format ads. It took News channels, but ran Astons instead of pure commercial time. It used radio in the form of RJ integrations instead of plain commercials. And it used DTH (Direct-To-Home), again as a frequency builder in the form of ‘Search n Scan’ banners.  

‘Moments of Truth’ – The fact that PayTM is an option when consumer actually makes a transaction holds importance as it was walking the talk. It started becoming visible at all the milestones in the day of a consumer where he makes a monetary transaction like Mother Dairies (milk selling convenience stores), Fuel pumps, food courts, in-taxi, big and small, organised and unorganised grocery stores, travel booking apps, movie ticket booking apps, money transfers, electricity and mobile bill payments, and much more.   

By being visible at two million+ points-of-transaction (in the form of stickers, directional OOH, branded POS material, etc), PayTM assured that it just does not solve one of consumer’s many problems- it solves practically all of them!  


A perfect combination of Reminder ATL (Above the line) media and Point-of-transaction BTL (Below the line) media helped convert the massive mass of ‘aware’ people to actually ‘try’ PayTM 

'USD $45 Million increase in actual transaction value'. A 100%+ increase in business value.  

'Product Usage: Achieved Target of 100mn+ Subscribers': 

The number of app downloads doubled from 18 million to 37 million with active App sessions increasing by 144%.  

E-wallet subscribers increased from a mere 23 million to an astounding 115 million, thus helping PayTM surpass its goal of 100 million subscribers and become a market leader.  

'Phenomenal movements in Brand Health parameters': 

PayTM established itself as a household name in merely nine months with brand TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) going up by 370% (10 to 47). This is a marketing case study considering brands take years to move the TOMA for just 3-5% movement, PayTM had a movement of 37 basis points. Unheard-of in Marketing circles! 
- The Ever Used score in the brand track took a phenomenal jump of 291% from 11 to 43. 

'High Returns on Investment': By smartly playing out the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) association, it was able to juice out seven times the media value from a small investment of $4m. And this enormous brand exposure helped in accomplishing the Awareness task very efficiently. 

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September 2015 - June 2016
Media Channel:
Direct Marketing,Print,Radio,Retail/POS,Sponsorship,TV
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