Carsome COO indirectly calls out competitor Carro's field marketing tactic

Malaysia-based Carsome has indirectly called out competitor Carro on LinkedIn for allowing one of its employees to stand outside an inspection centre in Jakarta while holding an advertising poster. In a LinkedIn post, chief operating officer Benjamin Koellmann said: "The poor lady was baking in the sun for hours, getting paid only a few dollars for the entire day." He added that temperatures in Jakarta have risen to 40 degrees celsius. The post was also accompanied by two images of the lady and the words at the bottom of the signboard showed Carro's URL. 

Instead of chasing her away, Koellmann said the team decided to show compassion and offered her to step into the office to cool down during her breaks. The team also brought her doughnuts and bubble tea "to make this unpleasant task more tolerable". He added that "a bit of compassion goes a long way" and that this is how Carsome is built differently. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that the tactic of having individuals stand by the roadside while wearing promotional signboards is not a new practice in Jakarta. 

Carro declined to comment on MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's queries, but Carsome's spokesperson said the company is not questioning the marketing and sales channels, which are commonly shared, but rather commending its own team on how it upholds the values it holds dear and showing compassion when carrying out its duties. "We always believe in a people-centric approach, in which we ensure that the welfare of people who matter to us is at the core of what we do - this was also the main point of Koellmann's recent post on LinkedIn," the spokesperson clarified, adding that Koellmann spent four years of his career in Indonesia, and is currently supported by a strong Carsome Indonesia team. The spokesperson added that the company believes in treating all individuals fairly, and this is the same approach it adopts in its operations, including deploying its field marketing team members. 

Nonetheless, a LinkedIn user commented on Koellmann's post with a screenshot of an Instagram Story that allegedly came from the lady who was at the centre of this online discussion. In the Instagram Story, the lady explained that attitude and honesty are important. "I have no problem with my work and I like it," she said, adding that her family, too, has no objections. She also clarified in the Instagram Story that she is not that unfortunate. In fact, her brother is a doctor while her mother is a pastor and has retired from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Samudera Tanjong Priuk. Her late father also retired from Freeport Indonesia

Carsome was birthed out of Malaysia in 2015, and is one of the biggest used car trading platforms across Southeast Asia. This year, the company set up a data centre of excellence (CoE) in an attempt to revolutionise the used car industry through digitalisation and to empower decision-making in business. The company's co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng said the company has amassed a wealth of data after six years in the business and setting up its data CoE will kick off its implementation of data science solutions, along with data-driven insights to increase operational efficiency. 

The company has also been ramping up its senior leadership team and assigned group CMO Danny Chin expansion duties as he now takes on the role of chief expansion officer. Chin held the group CMO role for over a year where he was leading all of Carsome’s brand marketing, consumer marketing and trade marketing activities across the region with offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Chin's new role came after Carsome named Derek Tan as chief brand officer to champion the growth of Carsome’s brand, marketing and communications.

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