Carro group CMO Manisha Seewal exits after 3 years with firm

Manisha Seewal, CMO of Carro, is leaving the company after three years with the firms. Seewal joined Carro in 2018 and scaled up the marketing function across all four markets in Southeast Asia. During her tenure she set up in-house marketing teams in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia which includes brand, PR, social, SEO, performance marketing capabilities and an entire creative hub in all four markets comprising copywriters, videographers, video editors, graphic designers and journalists.

She also led several digital innovations such as the first car subscription service or the “Netflix of Cars”, first Facebook Live sale in Southeast Asia where a SG$61,000 car was sold in 85 minutes and first contactless car purchase service to combat Covid-19 restrictions. In March 2020, Seewal also started double-hatting as the CEO of Jualo.com, Indonesia’s third largest C2C e-classifieds marketplace which was acquired by Carro in 2019.  Under her leadership, Jualo’s appeal grew especially amongst the younger Indonesians (age 18-24).

According to Seewal, COVID-19 lockdowns further helped in Jualo’s GMV (+17% yoy) and listings volume (+32% yoy) as Indonesians prioritised trading within their neighborhood. Website traffic from tier two cities surged by over 50% versuss previous FY and listings for key verticals such as commercial vehicles (+350%), services (130%) and jobs (+75%) grew exponentially. Jualo.com is an online platform that helps private and professional sellers trade new and used goods in over 300 categories, across 34 Indonesian provinces including cars, motorcycles, property, fashion, electronics and job adverts. 

“My journey as the first CMO of Carro to drive the company’s hyper growth, from a startup to a unicorn, has been phenomenal. I also welcomed the opportunity to flex as a CEO in an emerging economy. I am thankful to the founder and CEO Aaron Tan for giving me this opportunity,” said Seewal.

Meanwhile, Carro also recently hired Annop (Michael) Kettratad as its chief branding officer. In his additional role, Kettratad will be responsible for accelerating Carro’s brand in the retail business (B2C). Kettratad will continue to serve as CEO of Carro Thailand, where he was appointed to the role in January 2021. As CEO, Kettratad has been instrumental in driving growth in the Thai market and overseeing all strategic operations for Carro Thailand. A Carro spokesperson confirmed Seewal’s departure.

“We are extremely appreciative of her contributions over the past three years,” said the spokesperson. He added that moving forward, Kettratad and a soon-to-be announced CMO will drive the Carro's branding and marketing needs.

Seewal also added: “I wish Annop (Michael) Kettratad success in his new role as the chief branding officer. Kettratad and I have been working closely together since Jan 2021 to grow the retail business in Thailand. Given his marketing background and business acumen, I am certain that he will scale the Carro brand to greater heights. I am looking forward to taking a short break and await my next adventure." When asked what we can expect from her next, Seewal said, “ I am a true-blue marketer and would still want to be in the tech space. My passion remains championing the underdogs and making them relevant to tech savvy customers with clever marketing.” 

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More here from the interview with Seewal.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE:  What would you say has been your biggest personal achievement at Carro?

Seewal: It’s tough to think of just one achievement given the amazing journey I had at Carro. To narrow it down, I can think of three:

The first was being appointed as the CEO of Jualo.com (Indonesia);

The second is launching the zero-dollar marketing campaign “Netflix of Cars” and winning a regional marketing award of “Best use of Technology” for its ingenuity;

The third is scaling the marketing function from that of a startup to Unicorn level .

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE:  What would you say has been your biggest learning working for a company like Carro?

Seewal:

Less is more.

When we work with a startup's lean marketing budget, we are forced to think differently. Ideas become bold, we take risks and are willing to learn quickly - at little to zero marketing cost. KPIs are set from the onset and real-time data determines whether the idea is worth investing any resources in. It’s an on-going cycle of test, learn, fix and test again. There is no need for perfection. MNCs can save tons of marketing dollars if they can learn the startup way of marketing with agility and measuring key metrics.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE:  What do you think is the future of the automotive industry in Asia?

Seewal: Automotive is a super exciting space, not just in Asia but globally. Due to COVID-19, we are seeing a shift in customer trends around the world as more people prefer personal mobility space and are open to buying a car online.

When it comes to buying a used car, there is a huge gap in the current and desired customer experience. The brand that invests in this space will win big as the customer is ready for a hassle-free online purchase experience. Hybrid and Electric Vehicles will become increasingly popular with some incentives and infrastructure support.

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