Lendr's CMO Shares How to Market a New P2P Rental Marketplace
By: Carli Evilsizer | August 30, 2018
Launching a startup is hard as it is, and launching one while still in school comes with even more roadblocks, particularly in the financial department. Read how a team of students and recent grads launched and grew Lendr, a P2P rental marketplace, using cost-effective and creative marketing methods that work.
How Rob Salvati Uses Social Media Marketing to Help Launch Lendr's P2P Rental Marketplace
Lendr is a peer-to-peer renting platform that allows users to securely lend out or rent items. This gives the users the ability to create a passive income by lending out items that would otherwise be collecting dust, and also allows users to save money by renting instead of buying an item that is only needed for a specific period of time. Lendr is set to launch October 1st of this year, with the full app being available to both Android and IOS users.
Rob Salvati is a Commerce student at the University of Guelph, majoring in Marketing Management. As of May of 2018 he joined the start-up company Lendr Inc. as their CMO with the task of developing public relations, advertising and customer acquisition.
1. What was the inspiration to build Lendr?
“For this question I asked Lendr’s co-founder Drew Mortensen for his input. Drew said “Our inspiration came from the astronomical price of textbooks at our university. After spending $500+ on some books, we started talking about how much more cost effective it would be if there was a way to rent them for the semester. Then, we took in the bigger picture and realized there wasn’t an easy way to rent or lend anything between each other, and that’s how we came up with the concept of Lendr.” The Lendr founders realized that there was an untapped peer-to-peer renting market, and put together a team to create a Lendr.”
2. Tell me more about everyone’s backgrounds.
"Our team at Lendr is our biggest strength, everyone is great at what they do and we are all motivated to reach the same goal. Our co-founder and CEO Ryan Frampton is a recent graduate from the University of Guelph who majored in International Development, with certificates in Business and Communications. Besides Lendr, he also runs Frampz Marketing, which is a social media marketing service for real estate professionals. Lendr’s other co-founder and CCO Drew Mortensen is also a recent graduate from the University of Guelph with a degree in Political Science, with certificates in Business and Communications. Drew also runs his own web design and digital marketing agency called Navy Street Digital."
3. It's impressive the team launched Lendr while still in school! What was it like launching & growing a startup as students?
"Although I wasn't there at the very start of when Lendr was created, the CEO says that it was a great experience starting the company as students. Lendr took part in the University of Guelph's CBaSE incubator program which helps students and alumni develop their ideas along with providing a workspace for start-ups, which we currently still use as our office space. Overall, the experience of starting as students has been great for our team."
4. How did you build the brand?
"Lendr initially brought on design students from Conestoga to come up with the logo and design concepts. The brand was really looking for a design that was easily distinguishable and appealing for users. Going with a simple white and blue colour scheme was easy to work with, along with being attractive to users without being distracting. The logo for Lendr is the “Le” at the beginning of the company name which gives us two great logos to work with depending on what is being done. As for building a brand voice, prior to the launch and reaching a large audience we are attempting to be viewed as friendly and professional to consumers to create brand recognition and trust."
5. Tell me more about creating P2P marketplace. What are some of the difficulties you expect to encounter while growing this type of startup?
"Creating a peer-to-peer marketplace is difficult because we have to create an unestablished market and inform consumers that the market exists. Peer-to-peer markets have been becoming more popular among consumers over the past few years. Companies like Kijiji and Letgo currently dominate the peer-to-peer selling markets, Uber is dominating the the peer-to-peer transportation market, and companies like SkiptheDishes is dominating the peer-to-peer food market. These companies have done well because they have gained the trust of users and have created a well known market that suits the needs of consumers."
"For the untapped market of peer-to-peer renting a major difficulty we may face are gaining consumer trust to use our platform. Since users will be lending out their personal belongings it is important for us to put a strong emphasis on security to make lenders comfortable. To mitigate this issue we provide users with an item guarantee which will provide them with piece of mind when lending products. As a marketer a major focus when marketing to potential lenders is going to be informing them about our security procedures."
6. Until you receive funding how have you implemented low budget marketing campaigns?
"Our plan is to utilize social media and blogs to reach consumers until we run an advertising campaign which will occur closer to our launch. Regularly updating our Lendr social media profiles and engaging with users is our best way to reach out to them at this point. Reaching out to bloggers to feature our brand also gives us the opportunity to reach consumers through a private platform. Being featured in blogs is beneficial for both parties as it gives them content while giving us exposure. These approaches save us money for when we launch a paid social media campaign through advertisements to reach consumers that are unfamiliar with us."
7. What has been one of your most successful campaigns and how did you execute it?
"I would say at this stage of our development the most successful campaign came from developing a relationship with writers, to feature Lendr on their platforms. The best example of this so far was getting our CEO Ryan Frampton featured in an interview in Authority Magazine. This media coverage did not cost Lendr any money as it was beneficial for both the writer to create content and for us to get our name and story out to the public. In the future, I hope to continue to use this approach and aim to feature Lendr and our team in well-known media outlets."
8. What is one marketing tip you wish you had learned earlier in your career?
"One thing I wish that I learned earlier in my career, and overall in life is that there are positive results when you openly ask for what you want. This can be applied in any aspect of life, but in terms of marketing just reaching out to new people and asking or telling them what you want is a great way to quickly create a relationship."
9. What has been your most successful marketing campaign?
"Some of our successful campaigns include the experiences of journalists, bloggers and influencers who became our program participants for a day or joined us for our month-long programs. We are always open to anyone who wants to learn more about what we do and spend a day either with myself and the team, our non-profit partners or our program participants. Videographers and journalists visit us in our program destinations where they observe a typical day of our program participants, from visiting NGO partners to discovering local markets or coffee shops. It is the best way how to give anybody a genuine and authentic flavor of how it is to venture with us!"
10. Is there any marketing advice would you give to someone in the early stages of building a P2P marketplace?
"I would recommend that they put a strong focus on utilizing social media to interact with their community as it is a cost-effective way to reach out to potential users. Establishing a relationship through social media is as simple as commenting on a picture, and this generates brand awareness; also helping establishing a base of interested social media users for when the company is ready to launch a social media campaign."
So, what’s our take from all this?
To build your startup faster, with next to no budget, you should reach out, collaborate, comment, like and build meaningful relationships with as many quality people as you can over social media and blogs. It’s free and the benefits can lead to opportunities like press features and overall awareness for your brand.