PayPay Inside-Out People and Culture

Vanguard of PayPay Marketing vol.1 Marketing Strategy Department


Having reached the benchmark of 45 million registered users and 3.55 million locations available for use nationwide, PayPay is a breath of fresh-and-cashless air in Japan, offering a comfortable and fun payment experience to its users and merchants who use the service multiple times every day. Read on through this series of article to find out about the team of diligent marketers driving campaigns and marketing strategies critical to this achievement, who, in the hope of climbing to further heights, push forward at greater speed and vigor as we speak.

Takao Kodate

Senior Manager of the Marketing Strategy Department, Marketing Division

Joined Vodafone K.K. in 2006. After the acquisition by SoftBank, he joined the service planning team in SoftBank Mobile. Since then, he has worked on planning and facilitating marketing operations of new services created through collaborations between SoftBank group companies, such as the launch of “Yahoo! Keitai,” service & content planning with Yahoo Japan on “Yahoo! JAPAN Premium for SoftBank” and “Sportsnavi Live,” and the joint-launch of “App Pass” in Japan & the US after the acquisition of US telco Sprint, amongst other things. Joining PayPay in November 2018, he promoted the marketing of the large-scale “10 billion Yen Giveaway Campaign,” as well as other campaigns tapping into inter-group synergies, including the acquisition of PayPay users via Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping. He now sits as the head of the Marketing Strategy Department.

Tell us about the Marketing Strategy Department

Let me first explain what the Marketing Division does. With PayPay merchants across the country in one hand, and the “PayPay app” in which new features and UIUX improvements are released almost every week in the other, the Marketing Division’s most important mission is to communicate to all smartphone users in Japan what’s great about the cashless payment service PayPay, and guide them to the new payment experience.

The role of the Marketing Strategy Department, a team within the Marketing Division, is to facilitate the making and execution of marketing strategies. Specifically, we work closely with the Management Planning Department and other teams to decide primary user-related KPIs (new users, number of payments, average spend per payment, frequency, etc.). We use these to drive various initiatives and ensure the PDCA cycle is put to practice, so that PayPay achieves its business plan goals. Furthermore, the Marketing Strategy Department is comprised of three smaller teams: Strategy Promotion, Marketing Promotion, and New Business Promotion.

The Strategy Promotion Team creates and promotes the crux of the strategies required to achieve the targets in the business plan, based on quantitative data analyses of actual usage, as well as user surveys to accurately understand the voice of customers from a qualitative perspective.

The Marketing Promotion Team works together with other group companies such as SoftBank and Yahoo Japan to market PayPay to users of those group companies. The team also works with internal units to market individual services such as PayPay Coupons or peer-to-peer payments. In addition, our team plans & promotes the “Cho PayPay Matsuri (Super PayPay Festival)” that we hold multiple times a year.

The New Business Promotion Team is the only team in the Marketing Division that deals with corporate customers and is responsible for pitching new marketing businesses to manufacturers and related companies, such as promoting the 2B marketing service that utilizes PayPay Bonus (PayPay Gift Cards and Balance API) or promoting the advertisement product “Yahoo! JAPAN Sales Promotion” together with Yahoo Japan’s ad team.

What’s unique about the work culture in the Marketing Strategy Department?

Around half the people in the department are originally from SoftBank or Yahoo Japan. The other half are people hired directly as PayPay employees.

Although this isn’t necessarily unique to our department, our colleagues in PayPay bring various corporate cultures and experiences to the table. So, whenever we encounter a new unknown, challenge, or topic of discussion, our seasoned team members offer the experience and knowledge they have in their fields of expertise to help each other get things done.

What are the moments that make or break your day in the Marketing Strategy Department?

It’s no exaggeration to say that marketing at PayPay is all about speed and numbers.

PayPay was launched in October 2018, and during the three years that have passed since then, it has grown into a service used by over 45 million users. This is thanks to the support from our parent companies and other businesses within the group. Only because of their help were we able to run mass campaigns and marketing initiatives that were otherwise out of reach for a newborn company. We witnessed many highs and lows, but always made sure to listen to our users and to continue to push forward on a trial & error basis. That is why we’ve achieved the success we enjoy today.

The experience you gain or the sense of satisfaction you get working in the Marketing Strategy Department comes from tirelessly spinning the PDCA cycle – I know, it’s one of the most basic things in marketing, but at tremendous scale and speed. We evaluate hypotheses that were formulated during the planning phase based on the results, make sure we’re able to understand initiatives from a quantitative perspective, work out what went well and what didn’t, and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes by devising improvement plans for better effect.

I’ve heard you’re actively looking for new team members. Tell us about your thoughts on hiring and what qualities you value.

Many of us in the Marketing Division share the determination to – through PayPay and our marketing activities – transform Japan’s cash-oriented society for the better through the shift to cashlessness. It would be great to see people who resonate with this idea to join PayPay. Also, since the company is still only three years in the making, I believe it’s important to continue to challenge the status quo all the time, without fear of failure. Someone who can feel passionate about this mission, about their roles & responsibilities, and who can take lead in driving projects and tasks would be a great fit.

Let me share what members of the Marketing Division, not just the Marketing Strategy Department, focus on every day.
If you resonate with these principles, spurred by the will for growth, there’s no doubt you will enjoy working at PayPay.

Principles for action in the Marketing Division
  1. Speed. Make decisions and solve problems quickly.
  2. Be equal. No hierarchy. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.
  3. Stay alert. We are marketers. Gather information efficiently and share with the team.
  4. Cross-functional. We are a startup. Nothing is not worth trying.
  5. Data driven. Make decisions based on numbers and use tech.
  6. Professional. Maintain integrity as a business person at all times.

Message to future colleagues

The environment is ideal. You can gain experience in formulating marketing strategies and drive marketing plans & businesses for a service enjoyed by more than 45 million users. For those of you who want to achieve growth at overwhelming speed for both PayPay and yourself, here we are waiting for you to join us.

Special Thanks: Takao Kodate/ Author: Sura Kim / Managing Editor: Az(PayPay Inside-Out)
* Employee affiliations are as of the time of the interview.