Uber Marketing Playbook: 24 Strategies, 78 Examples

Company: Uber

Founded: 2009

Founders: Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp

Description: Peer-to-peer transportation company.

This playbook focuses on marketing strategies and tactics used by Uber.

The marketing playbook series is for founders who want to:

1. learn from real-life examples
2. discover which growth strategies fit which businesses and industries
3. find the 20% of strategies that return 80% of results

Table of Contents

Freemium Marketing

1. First Ride Free Uber

Uber routinely offer free rides to introduce new users to the service in hopes that they would become regular customers. (Page)

2. Delivery Free

Uber Eats offered free delivery to introduce users to the service. (Page)

3. JUMP – Free Rides

Uber-owned JUMP offered free rides on scooters and bikes to reduce the friction involved with trying something new. (Post)

Niche Marketing

4. Starting in San Francisco

Uber launched and focused on the San Francisco area before expanding to other cities. This allowed them to nail product-market fit and gave them access to a community of early adopters. (Wiki)

5. Uber for Business

Uber designed a specialized experience for businesses that allow companies to offer rides to employees and clients. (Page)

6. uberFRESH becomes Uber Eats

Uber Eats began as uberFRESH and focused solely on Santa Monica, CA. This allowed the team to seek product-market fit within a single city before expanding to others. (Post)

7. Uber Designed for Patients

Uber designed a unique experience for medical patients. It’s the same logistics platform with features specific to the medical industry. (Page)

Affiliate Marketing

8. Rider Referral Program

Uber created a potential sales team of millions by giving individual promotion codes and offering rewards for referring riders. A similar program was created for Uber Eats. (Post)

9. Driver Referral Program

A much more lucrative affiliate program was created for referring drivers. (Article)

Flywheel Marketing

10. JUMP

Uber moved into bike and scooter rentals with the acquisition of JUMP. They modified their app and leveraged their huge user base to compete against players such as Bird and Lime. (Article)

11. Uber Eats

Uber leveraged it’s experience from building a dual-sided marketplace to build a three-sided marketplace with Uber Eats. (Page)

12. Uber Freight

Uber created a similar app for moving freight instead of people. (Page)

13. Uber Cash

Uber moved into financial services with Uber Cash. Users receive a small discount for using Uber Cash instead of another form of payment. (Page)

14. Uber Rush

Flywheel marketing doesn’t come without failures. Uber Rush was a short-range package delivery service. It was shutdown but demonstrates Uber’s intent to move from being an innovation company to a distribution company. (Article)

15. Advanced Technologies Center

Uber is experimenting with self-driving cars. (Page)

16. Uber Health

Uber is open to specific applications for it’s platform such as Uber Health. (Post)

17. Credit Cards

When a company has a huge user base, they seem to move into financial services in the form of a credit card. Uber is no different and they offer rewards specific to their service. (Page)

18. Uber Air

Similar to self-driving cars, Uber Air is a forward-looking effort that explores three-dimensional travel. (Video)

Status Marketing

19. #Riderzero

The #Riderzero campaign signals the launch of Uber in a new city. Influencers are tapped to be the first to try the service. (Post)

20. Uber Types

Uber started as a black car service. They still show elements of their origins by offering different levels of service such as Uber Black, Uber Comfort, Uber X, Uber Pool and more. (Post | Article)

21. Customer Tiers

Uber also has a rewards program for riders. Different levels come with different benefits. (Page)

Urgency Marketing

22. Expiring Promotions

Uber and Uber Eats has a constant string of expiring promotion codes. This creates a sense of urgency among users. (Page)

Poacher Marketing

23. Taking Lyft Drivers

Uber aimed for Lyft drivers with it’s affiliate program. In doing so, Uber went after people that were already comfortable with ride-sharing and likely to convert. (Article)

Discount Marketing

24. Uber Discounts

Uber and Lyft offer a perpetual stream of deals to gain adoption and usage. (Page)

25. Uber Eats Discounts

Uber Eats also boosts usage and adoption with discounts. (Discussion)

26. JUMP Discounts

JUMP followed suit with it’s parent company by offering discounts to spur usage. (Post)

Ease Marketing

27. Uber Vehicle Solutions

To ease the adoption curve, Uber got into the business of making sure that vehicles were available for people who wanted to drive. (Page)

28. Uber Eats Bikes

Uber Eats lowered the barrier of entry for deliverers by allowing bike delivery. Getting access to a bike requires less capital than a car or scooter. (Page)

Influencer Marketing

29. Russell Wilson

Uber tapped Russell Wilson to star in it’s Super Bowl commercial. (Article)

30. LeBron James

Uber worked with LeBron James and Kevin Durant in it’s Rolling With the Champion video series. (Video)

31. Andrea Denver

Uber worked with Andrea Denver to promote Uber on his Instagram page. (Page)

32. Charlotte Bridgeman

Uber worked with Charlotte Bridgeman to promote Uber on her Instagram page. (Page)

Content Marketing

33. Youtube

Uber’s YouTube channel has over 300k subscribers and over 100 million views. (Page)

34. Blogs

Uber maintains a blog for each serviced city and an engineering blog. (Post)

Presence Marketing

35. Riding with Friends

Uber has a natural viral component that stems from users introducing potential users to the service by riding together. I’ve introduced several friends and family members to Uber and Lyft by simply ordering one for us. (Post)

Image result for uber sticker on car

36. Uber Decals

Aside from allowing riders to identify cars, Uber decals also provide brand awareness. (Discussion)

37. Uber Eats Bike Bags

Free advertising with the bike bags on Uber Eats. (Page)

38. Uber Gift Cards

Uber gift cards provide brand awareness and a physical presence in retail stores. (Page)

Feel Good Marketing

39. Uber Safe – Breathalyzer

Uber’s breathalyzer kiosk provided a reminder to drive safe and to try Uber. (Article)

40. Moving Forward Campaign

Uber kicked off the Moving Forward campaign following issues related to workplace harassment, spy programs and discrimination. (Video)

Gamified Marketing

41. Driver Quests

Uber offers milestones for drivers to reach in order to earn bonuses. (Article)

42. Uber Rewards Program

Uber incentivizes riders to use the service more with a rewards program that includes several tiers with varying benefits. (Page)

43. Uber Credit Card Rewards

Like other credit cards, Uber rewards certain purchase types along with bonuses such as earning $100 after spending $500. (Article)

44. Uber Driver Badges

Uber pushed further into gamification with driver badges. (Article)

Social Proof Marketing

45. Two-Way Rating System

Used to make it more acceptable. Even getting extra marketing mileage with people sharing their Uber rating on their Tinder profile. (Page | Video)

Value Marketing

46. Uber Driver Perks

Uber offers driver perks such as vehicle maintenance, phone discounts and health insurance discounts. This raises Uber’s value proposition to drivers. (Page)

47. Uber Freight Driver Perks

Uber Freight uses a similar perk scheme to reward freight drivers. (Page)

48. Uber Cost Versus Cabs

Uber offers a clear value proposition for riders. They generally cost less than cabs Ride-sharing services reduced money and time costs so much that the market was reshaped. Early investors didn’t imagine that he size of the total addressable market would rise as the price dropped. (Post)

Remarkable Marketing

49. Red JUMP Bikes

The bright-red design of JUMP bikes and scooters are designed to draw attention.(Article)

50. Uber Festival Rides

Uber often provides free rides during festivals. This tends to trigger word of mouth marketing, first-time riders and goodwill. They provided transportation to 20 music festivals in the summer of 2015. (Post)

51. Uber Delivers Kittens

Uber generated lots of press when it delivered kittens. Similar marketing stunts have been done with ice cream trucks. (Post)

52. Quiet Mode

Uber generated lots of press when they announced the ability to silence drivers. (Post)

53. Unhappy Hour – Super Bowl

Uber paired it’s Super Bowl commercial with Unhappy Hour, which offered free rides to riders who’s team lost the Super Bowl. (Article)

54. Mariachi band, margaritas, & piñatas

Another marketing stunt involved being able to send for a Mariachi band on Cinco De Mayo. (Article)

55. Free Rides at SXSW 2013

Uber offered free rides alongside announcements at SXSW 2013. (Article | Post)

56. Uber Lemonade Stand

Another marketing stunt involved setting up a lemonade stand in response to a TechCrunch article. (Article)

57. UberCADE – Motorcades for President’s Day

On President’s Day, Uber pulled a #UBERCADE marketing stunt that garnered lots of press. (Post)

58. Roses for Valentine’s Day

Uber delivered roses on Valentine’s Day. (Post)

Paid Marketing

59. Search Engine Ads

Uber has search engine ads. (Article)

60. Facebook Sponsored Posts

Uber has sponsored posts on Facebook. (Article)

61. Craigslist Ads

Uber posts ads for drivers on Craigslist. Each Craigslist post costs between $15 and $75. (Post)

62. Uber Commercials

Uber uses commercials to promote. They even advertised during one of the most costly events, Super Bowl. (Video | Article)

Sunk-Cost Marketing

63. Uber Eats Pass

The Uber Eats Pass functions much like Amazon Prime, in how the sunk-cost of the pass changes buyer behavior. (Article)

64. Uber Rides Pass

The sunk-cost effect also applies to Uber’s Ride Pass. Users find themselves using the service more to justify the expense. (Page)

Guarantee Marketing

65. Insurance for Riders and Drivers

Uber preempts objections by providing insurance to riders and drivers. (Page)

66. Upfront Pricing for Riders

Upfront pricing makes the purchase decision much easier by removing uncertainty. (Page)

67. Guaranteed Earnings for Drivers

Guaranteed earnings for drivers makes them more likely to drive for the ride-sharing service. (Article)

Permission Marketing

68. Push Notifications

Uber sends push notifications to alert users of promotions as well as when their Uber has arrived. (Post)

69. Emails

Uber sends emails to alert users of promotions, referral program updates and to urge users to take political action to protect ride-sharing services. (Article)

Personalized Marketing

70. Uber Eats Recommendations

Uber Eats recommends dishes and restaurants based on purchase history. (Post)

Partnership Marketing

71. Capital One

Uber partnered with Capital One to offer rewards for using Capital One credit cards with Uber. (Post)

72. Starwood Hotels

Uber partnered with Starwood to offer Starpoints as rewards for using Uber. (Article)

73. McDonald’s + Uber Eats

Uber Eats partnered with McDonald’s to provide food delivery for over 10,000 locations. (Article)

74. Zomato

Uber partnered with Zomato to allow users to order an Uber from the Zomato app.(Page)

75. Volvo

Uber partnered with Volvo to develop self-driving technology. (Article)

76. BMW

Uber partnered with BMW to promote the BMW 7 Series. (Post)

77. American Express

Uber partnered with American Express to provide tickets to Beyonce’s sold out tour. (Article)

78. Facebook Messenger

Uber partnered with Facebook to allow users to order an Uber from the chat app. (Post)

Thanks for reading!

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Check out the playbook series for more growth strategies.