Inside food delivery company Deliveroo’s plan for growth in 2019

On Mondays, there’s often a winding queue to sign into Deliveroo’s office in London. For those who don’t know why, it can be befuddling: “Has everyone in this queue forgotten their pass?” said one executive watching the proceedings one particular Monday this week.

“No, most of them look like they’re for the first time,” said another.

Mondays are induction days for new employees, and it’s been particularly protracted recently: Deliveroo is on a hiring spree, with particular focus on paid search, social and data roles.

There are over 100 vacancies at the food-delivery app, according to LinkedIn. Around a quarter of those roles will work with the marketing team, with expertise ranging from performance marketing experts to creatives to data scientists. It’s a boost the 15-person marketing team in the U.K. and Ireland.

Like other born-online brands, Deliveroo is looking beyond digital media to maintain momentum. Spiraling costs on Facebook and Instagram have pushed advertisers to consider other alternatives to extend reach and stay cost-effective. Video game-streaming site Twitch has been put on the media plan for Deliveroo for the first time this month, for example.

The company is working with Wieden+Kennedy London and the7stars to help with its advertising plans.

Developing the marketing nous that propelled Deliveroo to make £277 million ($363 million) in revenue between 2013 and its most recent reported year in 2017 is critical for the business as it looks to break with some of the direct-to-consumer marketing tropes that can no longer be relied on their own.

“It’s hard to say whether we’ll definitely bring certain parts of our marketing in-house, said Emily Kraftman, Deliveroo’s U.K. and Ireland marketing director. “In the past, we’ve done our own creative, but for the latest work, we’re partnering with agencies. We’re proud of the work we’ve done in the past because it’s delivered great results, but it was predominantly focused on being memorable but functional.”

Branding and perception scores are becoming just as critical to Deliveroo as driving app downloads and orders. “Establishing a global brand is important to us so there’s more focus on balancing how we can be famous on an international level with more hyperlocal activations,” said Kraftman.

In the U.K., this means launching a nationwide campaign on TV for the first time this week, said Kraftman. While most of the money spent on TV will go on linear broadcasts, targeted ads are being bought on Sky Adsmart and VOD players in key areas for the business. “Addressable TV is great for us to feed into our CRM plans, but it’s not going to work by itself given the scale we need to get,” said Kraftman.

Previous forays on TV were tests, with the startup focusing smaller, regional buys. “From tests we’d done last year, we realized that it was more impactful for us to TV as part of the media mix than we didn’t have it on the plan,” said Kraftman. Indeed, awareness of the brand spiked thanks to TV, particularly outside major cities, as did app downloads year-on-year, said Kraftman.

Deliveroo’s spend on TV isn’t at the expense of other digital channels like Facebook and Instagram. According to Kraftman, spend on the new campaign is up year-on-year across all channels. The business spent a reported £10 million ($13 million) annually on media in 2018 when it hired the7Stars. The commitment to digital is reflected in how Deliveroo’s marketers captured additional content throughout the production of the ad to be used on social for the first time so they weren’t having to repurpose footage people had already viewed.

Ads are also being bought through Spotify and Global Radio’s programmatic exchange Dax, which are being used to serve ads for 280 local restaurants on the Deliveroo app to 70 locations across cities in the U.K.

The decision to behave more like a traditional advertiser comes at a tricky time for Deliveroo. It hired its first CMO earlier this year to help it find a way to balance the cost of expanding into new markets like Thailand amid pressure in mature markets like the U.K. where there is more competition from rival app-based services. The food delivery and takeout market in the U.K. was worth £4.2 billion ($5.5 billion) last February, nearly double the £2.4 billion ($3.2 billion) it was a decade ago, per The NPD Group.

“Our heartland has been younger professionals in major cities, whereas now we’re looking at people outside of that area who might be using the local takeaway or other providers but not have thought Deliveroo was applicable to them,” said Kraftman.

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