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Vanguard of PayPay Marketing Vol.3 Interview with the Head of the Marketing Division

Kona

04/13/2022

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 a day. Read on to find out about the Vanguard of marketing at PayPay – the team of diligent marketers driving campaigns and marketing strategies critical to this achievement. In the hope of climbing to further heights, they continue to push forward at greater speed and vigor as we speak.

Hirofumi Fujii

Division Head, Marketing Division, Corporate Group

After working at SoftBank Mobile Corp. as manager of the Marketing Division, senior manager of the Product Marketing Division, and senior manager of the Service Management Department, Service Content Division, he joined PayPay in his current role in August 2018.

The Division in Charge of PayPay’s Marketing

What is the role of the Marketing Division in PayPay?

The goal is to get as many people to properly understand PayPay as it continues to evolve.
Our role is to communicate to various stakeholders, including ordinary users, merchants, local governments, and corporations, that PayPay is
– A payment method where you can get many discounts
– Fun and exciting in a way unique to mobile payments
– Available in numerous stores, both online and offline
– An app that is constantly evolving
– Already used by many merchants and users, and that PayPay’s payment network is daily expanding

What is the mission of the Marketing Division?

PayPay continues to grow rapidly, so the KPIs we focus on keep on changing. Our mission is to accurately identify signs of such changes, flexibly change target KPIs, and quickly but carefully implement measures to achieve them.

I heard that the Marketing Division has a code of conduct. Could you please elaborate on it?

The code of conduct was established in September 2018. This is what we came up with when we thought about what sort of colleagues we could work with to achieve success. It’s what we want everyone in the Marketing Division to focus on when working. “Speed,” “flat,” “data-driven,” and “professional” are characteristics that are naturally needed when working at PayPay, but “radar” and “cross-functional” tend to get neglected. We need to be constantly aware of all of them.

What system do you have in place to carry out your mission and code of conduct?

We established a system where each measure can be completed by the Division alone, so that we can go through the PDCA cycle at high speed.
Starting from “grasping user insight through data analysis and research,” we also
– Develop strategies that include group synergies
– Conduct CRM planning
– Create user growth plans centered on 1-to-1
– Plan and develop promotions utilizing a variety of tools, including mass media, digital media, social media, offline promotions, and owned media
Just like the Product Division, we are able to implement measures quickly because we have a framework that allows us to do all web production and design within the division.

What is your role in the organization?

Perhaps something like a manager in a soccer team. I think the similarity lies in the data-driven approach to formulating a strategy and planning tactics, alongside considering our “playing style” during the season.
The monthly campaign planning is like a match. We prepare meticulously for each game (campaign), deal thoroughly with events during the match, and analyze the results afterwards to utilize the data next time. I think it’s the culture of the company as a whole, but we believe that God is in the details, so I check the correctness of our data and logic, as well as whether the rules we’ve established are being followed to a tee. We’re also close to the frontlines of business, so we occasionally provide detailed feedback. I guess I’m like that manager who stands by the pitch, constantly hollering.

PayPay’s Marketing until Now and Future Possibilities

Out of the measures you have implemented, which ones left an impression on you?

It’s difficult to choose one. I’ve had my share of ups and downs. However, the measures that I remember have one thing in common: we were able to create templates that lead to medium-term growth. When we analyze data, hypothesize market needs, act on it, and that leads to improved numbers, it becomes a template. We want to create repeatable measures, not one-off ones, so the initiatives that left a strong impression on me are ones where we were able to create a template for a stable and sustainable growth.

If I were to choose which ones, it would be the following.

PayPay = savings on purchases

PayPay = payment service available at many independent stores

PayPay = SaaS (PaaS)

What area do you want to strengthen in the future?

PayPay was able to grow into one of Japan’s leading payment platforms within its first three years. I think the next step is to update our product to a money platform (partner) going beyond payment services. We need to disassemble the image of mobile payments that we built up until now, and newly create an identity as a partner that meets multiple financial needs. To achieve this, we have to be rather creative.

Please tell us about the challenges you are facing now and what you are doing to solve them.

We’ve made mistakes in the course of carrying out numerous campaigns. Plus, the composition of users and merchants, market conditions, and the competitive environment change rapidly, and the company’s KPIs are also shifting, so simply repeating successful patterns will not work. We make it a point to improve the precision of each measure, while at the same time not losing our dynamic nature.

How do you see the role of marketing in PayPay’s further growth?

Marketing is responsible for the “tilt” of PayPay’s growth, especially to make it sharper. Before launching our first campaign in December 2018, I told the marketing members that their meticulous and hard work now will make a big difference in how much the company will grow in two to three years. I believe that the Marketing Division is a unit where each measure and initiative has quite a significant impact on the company’s revenue and growth.
Now that we achieved a certain level of growth, it’s difficult to significantly alter the tilt, but we want to maintain the same mindset because a small difference in the tilt has a large impact on our GMV (gross merchandise value) and profit.

Tell us about what you need to do and what you want to do in the future.

There’s a lot going on, but I especially want to approach those who haven’t used PayPay yet!
Currently, about half of all smartphone users are using PayPay. Looked at differently, though, that means the other half of the population hasn’t used it yet. We are currently considering diverse measures so even more people will use our services.

A Message to Future Team Members

What kind of people do you want to work with?

People who are curious and can dig deep.
PayPay is a volatile environment. It’s important to be able to absorb a lot of new information, digest it, put it into your own words and discuss it. So, I want to work with people who are interested and curious about everything and can absorb and digest information.
In addition, as stated in our code of conduct, we would like to have people who are professional and autonomous, who can build their careers by supplementing what they lack on their own, and who can find their own path.

What skills are required to do marketing at PayPay?

First, you should be able to read and feel numbers. I would say this is the foundation of marketing. The ability to look at data and notice something is crucial. Second, you must always have your radar on, take in copious information, and be able to think for yourself. If you’re in the Marketing Division, you get a lot of input from inside and outside the company, so it’s important to be able to organically connect the information and reflect it in measures. And finally, flexibility. If you’re flexible enough to enjoy an environment where targets set in the morning can change by the evening, you’ll enjoy working at PayPay.

What are the joys and rewarding aspects of being a marketer at PayPay?

It’s a stimulating place prone to changes, so you can gain a lot of experience and build your career in a short period of time, whether you like it or not. At PayPay, if you enjoy change, you can perfect the skills in your area of expertise while going through exciting events that go beyond your imagination.

Finally

There’s a reason PayPay was able to grow so much so quickly. The ability of our Sales Team, product development speed, and management’s eye for current trends have all contributed to our current success. If the Marketing Division doesn’t effectively communicate these strengths of PayPay, people won’t know about it in the first place, and if they don’t know about it, they won’t use our product.
PayPay is an interesting company by any measure, and there’s already a lot of “pros” we can tell the world, and new “pros” will continue to come out. It’s a rare environment where you can experience the thrill of changing society for the better. If you have a strong desire to grow and a passion to step up your work, let’s work together!


Special thanks: Hirofumi Fujii / Author: Kona (PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team) / Translator: Justin / Translation Editor: Chris
*Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.