Growth Marketing Team: Designing & Executing Promotions that Uncover User Needs

The number of stores that accept PayPay continues to increase across Japan as more and more convenient features and lucrative services are launched on the PayPay app. However, the definition of convenience varies amongst the 38 million people who use PayPay, depending on their lifestyle and where they live. Considering this, there is a team at PayPay dedicated to exploring and proposing ways to deliver convenience that is tailored for each and every person. Today, we introduce you to Yui Sugiyama and the other members of the PayPay Growth Marketing Team.

Yui Sugiyama: Manager of the Growth Marketing Team, Marketing Planning Department. Appointed as Manager of the Growth Marketing Team in April 2021, after joining PayPay in August 2020.

Determined for a long-term relationship with customers

What is the mission of the Growth Marketing Team?

As the word “growth” implies, our mission is to grow, or nurture, customers. We think of things such as, “How can we make heavy users out of those who have downloaded the PayPay app on their phones?” We predict the user’s interests based on attributes and usage history and promote suitable campaigns and features through in-app channels such as push notifications and the notification center within the app. We also place advertisements together with the Digital Marketing Team. The Growth Marketing Team’s job, through these efforts, is to increase the number of users and the frequency of their use of PayPay.

What is the difference between your job and typical mass marketing?

There was a large campaign called “Cho PayPay Matsuri (Super PayPay Festival)” just recently in March. This campaign was promoted nationwide on a mass-scale through various media channels such as TV commercials, in-store posters, and SNS, so I’m sure it’s still fresh in people’s minds. This kind of campaign is what is known as a typical mass marketing technique. The idea is to promote the service in a uniform manner to “all users” who will potentially participate. Nationwide campaigns like this are essential to get more people to know and use PayPay.

Growth marketing, on the other hand, designs and implements measures using a “one-to-one” approach. This is a method in which target groups are created based on the needs and behavioral history of each customer, and the method and content of the promotion is altered for each group rather than applying a uniform approach. That’s the biggest difference.

I hope that once users learn about PayPay and use it, they will continue to use our service for a long time. However, as each user is different, we promote services that we think will meet each user’s needs the best. As a team, we rejoice when we find that our efforts have led to users continuing to use our service for a long period of time. On the other hand, if our efforts do not necessarily produce goods results, we create a set of hypotheses on what the problem may be. In this way, we work hard every day by putting our heads together and planning for the next campaign and promotion.

Can you tell us a little about the flow of designing one-to-one campaigns?

First, we classify a certain group of users into several segments based on the status of their usage. For example, users can be segmented into just registered, active, no payment within a month, and dormant. Next, we investigate the issues and hypotheses of the users in the target segment. Let’s say we want new users who have signed up with PayPay to complete their first payment.

PayPay has 38 million users, so we know from historical data that, for example, users who use the service more than X times a month after making their first payment tend to stay active thereafter, or that they tend to go dormant if they do not make a payment after Y weeks from signing up.

In this case, to prevent our valuable new users from going dormant, we will conduct a campaign such as “Complete the mission and win ***yen!” so that we can easily encourage these users to make X payments within Y weeks. In this way, the team comes up with three or four plans each month users in various stages, repeat small tests, and after verifying the effectiveness, rolls out measures that worked well to the entire segment.

During Cho PayPay Matsuri, PayPay ran a campaign for all users to receive up to 100 yen at Starbucks. Meanwhile, the Growth Marketing Team ran a campaign with the aim to allow users to experience the convenience of PayPay payments by encouraging them to use PayPay in various occasions in their daily lives. The campaign offered users the chance to receive a PayPay Bonus worth *% of the amount spent by making a payment at Seven-Eleven, a drugstore, and an online store during the campaign period.

Many reasons to use, and many reasons not to.

Do regional differences, for example, affect the way you target users?

Yes! How much PayPay is used differs by region depending on things like the merchant penetration rate or whether there’s a local government campaign offered in the area. That’s why we need to consider how many times people can actually use PayPay in an area where there are only few stores, as opposed to using it 5 times in an area with many available stores, when planning a campaign. On the other hand, if a popular local supermarket introduces PayPay, it will make a difference in the effectiveness of our campaign. Usage among users is greatly affected by such regional differences as well as other conditions such as the weather.

There are so many reasons why users don’t use PayPay and why they do, hence there are many issues to be addressed. One-to-one marketing is not literally a one-to-one service, so it is challenging for us to find a way to communicate in a way that is easy to understand by users.

Some users usually use cash but will use PayPay only when there is a good deal, and of course, some users hop from one payment service to another chasing the various offers provided. Some users don’t know how to use their PayPay Bonus after they receive it, while others are at a loss how to top up on their PayPay Balance after using it up.

We are also working on ways to deliver information to users when they need it, for example, providing information on how to register a bank account and other necessary information via push notifications to users who want to participate in a campaign but who do not know how to top their balance up, so that they can actually top up during the campaign.

(Reference) PayPay Start Guide

For users who think that registering their bank account is a little difficult but are open to topping up at an ATM, we encourage them to start using PayPay by first topping up at ATMs, and then move on to registering their bank account later when their payment frequency increases.

We are a very good team – everyone is very positive, and we all excel in what we’re good at.

【From top left】 Sugiyama・Kobayashi・Okajima・Kimura・Tsutsumi・Ito・Hashimoto・Kato
Tell us about your team

The team is divided into three sub-teams: a team that executes marketing measures for customers; an operations team that registers campaigns into the reward system; and a team that handles system development and operations. We write our own SQL to extract basic data, and some of the team members engage in heated discussions in English with our international colleagues to define requirements for the campaign management system and its development.

It may sound like a big deal, but I had never seen SQL before I joined the company, and my team members taught me little by little, so now I’m able to get most basic things done myself. We support each other like this when we have things that we are not good at.

Most of what we’re doing now is new to most of us, even for those who have been around for more than a year, and those who have been in the marketing field for a long time. There are almost no situations where we can surely say that we know how exactly to do something based on our knowledge and past experiences, or where we are completely sure that our idea will work. It’s important to have a mindset in which we try things out first and think as we go.

In the Growth Marketing Team, everyone handles their own task with responsibility, and all members play an important role in each other’s work. We have a very talented team member who is in his third year and who is such a dependable person. He came up with a successful campaign and even made a presentation to our CEO Nakayama san. We are a very good team – everyone is very positive, and we all excel in what we’re good at.

How do you come up with ideas under the WFA (fully remote work) work style?

Until a while ago, we had a person in charge of each segment. All alone, that person would consider and analyze the previous month’s measures, report on the results, and propose measures for the following month. It became increasingly difficult to come up with ideas alone though, so we changed our approach. Each person in charge still analyzes the results, but from there, we deep dive into the details as a team by asking questions such as “Why did this happen?” “Can you dig a little deeper?” or “Could this hypothesis explain what happened?”

Ito-san Ito-san is the project leader in charge of development planning and operations of the campaign system that is indispensable for PayPay’s activities. In addition to the work in her own area of responsibility, she always pays attention to and takes care of all the team members. “Hasshii” – Hashimoto-san Hashimoto-san is the promising youth of the team! He is always cool and collected. He handles everything from the planning and execution of 1-on-1 measures to the operations of the campaign system in a smart and flawless manner. Tsutsumi-san Tsutsumi-san switched to an analyst position this year to improve the team’s analytical skills, which were lacking before. He leads the team’s strategy in a data-driven manner, making the most of his experience in planning. Kobayashi-san When it comes to the intricate tasks requiring meticulous attention, there is no one better than Kobayashi-san. With her natural tenacity, she is more proactive than anyone else, from meticulous test designs to the operation of complex campaigns. Okajima-san Okajima-san oversees campaign operations and registered over 300 campaigns in the campaign engine during the Cho PayPay Matsuri. He has a wealth of experience in operations and is expected to promote further efficiency related improvements. Kato-san Kato-san is a new member who just joined PayPay on April 1st, but he is already getting along with the whole team. He has excellent communication skills, so will be able to play an active role in projects that require collaboration with other departments!

Do you have any messages to the people who are thinking of joining PayPay?

PayPay is a company that values the capabilities of each individual person, which can be both good and bad. In any department, team, or position, everyone is expected to think for themselves and act proactively. It is very rewarding in the sense that your own ideas and actions lead directly to results. Meanwhile, there are not many tasks where you are told what to do or how to do it, so if you are not good at change or are worried about pushing forward without knowing what to expect, you may feel a little uncomfortable. Although PayPay is now well known and has many users, we are still in the development stage where we must evolve further, so I look forward to seeing people who enjoy a wild journey to come work with us!

A particular day at work for Yui

Morning Get up at 7, make breakfast and also prepare for lunch and dinner at the same time Get my older son out to school. Do the laundry and cleaning.
9:30 Start work Go through the inbox and Slack messages to check tasks of the day.
10:00 Team MTGCheck KPI on dashboard, confirm incident reports and check team tasks and progresses.
12:00 Lunch with younger son
13:00 MTG with external clientsAfternoon is filled with various meetings, team meeting, meeting with other teams and meeting with partner companies, including ad agencies.
19:00 Dinner with kids
20:00 My own concentration hour. To create documents and presentations at this time of the day.
22:00 Finish work Clean up dinner, and prepare for breakfast next morning. Finish all housework, run into bed before today becomes tomorrow!
The following positions related to this article are openGrowth Marketer
Edited by: Az (PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team) *Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.
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