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360: Getting People to Try Your Product with David Sandström, CMO at Klarna

360: Getting People to Try Your Product with David Sandström, CMO at Klarna

David Sandström is the Chief Marketing Officer at Klarna and a member of its executive management team. Since joining Klarna in 2017, he has overseen the transformation of the brand from a traditional financial institution to a vibrant retail media network with a hot pink edge. As CMO, David is responsible for driving consumer growth as well as leading design, marketing, branding, communications, and sustainability efforts. David’s diverse background includes experience in agency and client roles and working in various industries around the world, which has shaped him into the marketer he is today. David warns against full outsourcing and instead advises using agencies as an extension of the company to maintain control over the marketing efforts. This approach is one of the main reasons he looks for people with diverse backgrounds when hiring.

In this episode, Alan and David discuss what makes Klarna unique in the fintech space, how he approaches marketing, and what he is trying to do with the Klarna brand. Klarna is primarily known as a buy now, pay later platform, but it is so much more than that. The core of Klarna is a payment company with the aim to become a shopping utility platform where customers can search for products, find deals, and get inspired. Klarna benefits both retailers and purchasers by making sure incentives align and staying on top of ever-changing consumer behaviors. They are in about 45 markets worldwide and have over 150 million consumers and 400,000 retail partners. David views marketing as an avenue to increase the likelihood of people trying Klarna and then letting the superior product and user experience speak for themselves. He does this by investing in the Klarna brand to counteract negative perceptions of finance and leveraging culturally relevant partnerships to showcase the product. David has launched several pioneering marketing campaigns and has brought in high-profile celebrities like Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg to help build a stage from which they showcase Klarna. He and his team are working to build a brand that really stands for something in fintech and will push the industry forward.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • David’s approach and philosophy around marketing
  • The three levers to engage that get people to try your product
  • A new way to think about in-house vs. outsourcing

Key Highlights 

  • [01:55] The hippie/engineer blend
  • [03:15] David’s early obsession with consumer behavior
  • [05:00] The path through DDB Sweden to Klarna
  • [07:10] The current state of Klarna
  • [11:55]  How “Buy Now, Pay Later” is fueling shopping and the evolution of e-commerce
  • [14:30] BNPL vs. Credit Cards
  • [18:10] The benefits of Klarna partnerships and integrations for retailers
  • [21:10] Becoming a retail media network
  • [22:30] How Klarna is benefiting from the Big Tech Wars
  • [24:45] David’s main focus when guiding his marketing team
  • [29:25] The concept of building a brand that stands for something in fintech
  • [31:10] Leveraging partnerships to build yourself a stage
  • [34:50] Extending instead of outsourcing
  • [39:40] Diversity in experience makes a good marketer
  • [41:00] Start the side hustle
  • [41:45] Empathy as the counterweight to AI
  • [43:00] Brands to watch
  • [44:50] Creativity will never go out of style 

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