Launching a FinTech product into new B2B markets is an exciting process that requires an ambitious marketing strategy.
Laurel Wolfe, VP of Marketing at Klarna, has plenty of experience in launching FinTech products into new B2B markets with proven success. Laurel gave us incredible insight into how she approaches this task, with reference to her role at Klarna.
Klarna is one of Europe’s largest banks, providing payment solutions for 90 million customers across 200,000 merchants in 17 countries.
This interview covers:
- Key practical steps to launch a FinTech product in a new B2B market
- Research into the existing landscape
- Create foundational channels
- Layer on specific activations
- The markers of a successful product launch
- Tangible business results and more
- Challenges in launching a FinTech product in new markets
- You might have an issue with market education
- How Klarna and Laurel’s role has been impacted by Covid-19
- Drawbacks and solutions
- Drawbacks and solutions
FINITE: Hi Laurel, it’s great to have you involved. Firstly, could you tell us a bit about your past experience at Verifone and about your current role as VP of Marketing at Klarna?
Laurel: Sure. I think the common denominator in my roles at Verifone and Klarna is that I’ve been able to help and advise clients – in both cases retailers – on how they can use FinTech to innovate and improve their businesses.
That’s what I love to do, create better business and solve user problems through smart, disruptive financial services and technology.
FINITE: What are some of the key, practical steps you take when you launch Klarna in a new market?
Laurel: We have it down to a bit of a formula now from a marketing perspective. It always starts with research into the local retail landscape, competitors and shopper behaviour. We stress test our naming conventions for example to see what resonates and will be most easily understood by potential users.
The consumer interviews we conduct inform our product and marketing strategy. Then we start creating the foundational channels which will underpin all our activities, like our website and social media. Next step is layering on specific activations, such as PR, to generate market momentum and roll out lead generation campaigns.
The interesting thing about Klarna is it’s a two-sided job. We work with merchants to offer our pay later services in their checkout and then directly promote Klarna to shoppers so that those shoppers go and seek out Klarna at a merchant’s site.
Much of the work that we do is about raising our brand profile in a market, which in turn benefits our retailers, as we drive traffic to them through our channels, such as our shop directory.
FINITE: Given your experience, what makes a new market launch successful?
Laurel: Some of it is about brand awareness and buzz. How do you become famous amongst your target audience as quickly as possible? But the proof is in the pudding with tangible business results – signing new clients, acquiring users, hitting KPIs, generating revenue.
FINITE: What is the biggest challenge you have come across so far in reaching businesses in new markets?
Laurel: The biggest challenge at Klarna has been that what we do and offer isn’t ‘normal’. Klarna doesn’t fit into any predetermined category. When we launched in the UK, the idea of a short-term, interest-free, deferred payment option being available at the online point of sale was a real novelty.
No one – retailers or shoppers – knew what Klarna was or how we could benefit them. After lots of market education on how Klarna works and honing in on our value proposition per audience, people have come to realise that the concept of ‘try before you buy’ has a solid use case.
That’s why we’ve been able to grow so quickly in the UK and are now closing in on 10 million users.
FINITE: How has Covid-19 impacted the B2B side of your role?
Laurel: Covid-19 has certainly affected retail, and that’s impacted Klarna. Retailers are under pressure to differentiate from competitors, find new and loyal users and optimise their sales opportunities – and do it all very quickly.
The online channel has grown exponentially and retailers need ways to accelerate conversion, while meeting changing shopper demands. Klarna has been able to help fill this gap.
We work with all major PSPs and eCommerce platforms too, so integration of Klarna’s alternative payment options can be super-quick for merchants. We’ve also added a host of new features to our app over the past months to help improve the purchase journey from browsing to buying. These features include wishlists, price-drop notifications, deals and more, which also help our retailers reach more shoppers who love using Klarna.
FINITE: Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us Laurel. We’ve learned so much about launching a FinTech product into new B2B markets!
To read the last edition of the FINITE FinTech Interview Series and to learn about how to align your Product and Marketing teams, click here!