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398: Kraken and Crypto are Entering the Next Phase with CMO Mayur Gupta

Mayur Gupta grew up in India, got his degree in computer science, and started his career as an engineer in 2000 at HCL Technologies. Since then, Mayur has had quite a diverse and impressive career path. He has held key marketing leadership roles at SapientNitro, Kimberly Clark, Healthgrades, Spotify, Freshly, and most recently, Gannett, part of the USA Today Network. Throughout the years, Mayur has also developed a role as an investor and board director for various organizations. This diversification has helped shape his view of what marketing is and should be. He tells us he tried to be an entrepreneur twice and failed, so investing is his way to fulfill that unrealized dream. Today, his role as a marketer and his role as an investor play into each other and make him better at both. Always one to keep his finger on the pulse of emerging technology, Mayur started getting into crypto in 2016 and, in late 2021, was offered the opportunity to join the team at Kraken. With the e-commerce boom of the 1990s before his time, Mayur knew he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to get in on this next movement. In 2022, he was brought on as the Chief Marketing Officer at Kraken.

In this episode, Alan and Mayur discuss his career path, his investor activity, his board directorship, and the throughlines he has seen having worked across different verticals and scales. They also talk about what marketing crypto looks like, what he is trying to achieve, and how he measures effectiveness. Alan asks how the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried and the downfall of FTX have impacted the crypto market and the role Mayur’s marketing team plays in educating the next wave of adopters with a focus on substance and real-world use cases.

Kraken is a crypto exchange that has been in business for over 12 years, making it one of the longest-standing and largest exchanges in the world. In the first few years, they focused on their first consumer segment, professional traders. Kraken has developed a reputation for a high standard of data security, excellent client services, and great user experiences. About 4 years ago, they diversified into their second and third consumer segments: retail consumers and institutional clients. Recently, their focus has been on continually diversifying with new ventures like NFTs while staying focused on the broader mission: driving and accelerating the adoption of crypto to bring financial inclusion and freedom to the world.

The first 10 or so years of Kraken’s growth were based on word of mouth, signaling a great market fit. Mayur tells us Kraken’s next phase is going to be driven by branding and performance, with 2024 being all about scale and getting on the Formula 1 race track. No matter the industry he is in or the goals they are trying to achieve, Mayur says he has found the challenges, opportunities, and outcomes of marketing are largely the same: velocity of decision-making, prioritizing the consumer, and understanding the “why, what, and how.” He sees the role of marketing as creating demand, capturing demand, and retaining demand.

“Technology, at the end of the day, is a means to drive change in human behavior and drive the business forward.”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why and how Kraken is shifting its marketing strategy and segment focus
  • The role of marketing for crypto in the wake of FTX and SBF
  • The importance of increasing your velocity of decision-making
  • Understanding that brand is performance and performance is brand

 Key Highlights: 

  • [02:10] Marketing through the lens of an investor and board director
  • [05:00] Mayur’s path to Kraken
  • [09:25] What is Kraken, and who do they serve?
  • [11:25] Growth Marketing for Kraken
  • [12:50] Marketing across different verticals and scales
  • [15:35] Livestages and business models impacting marketing
  • [19:25] Where is Kraken with their marketing strategy today?
  • [21:45] Marketing to the entire world
  • [23:55] Measurement, attributions, and making the case for marketing
  • [28:15] Making decisions with 70% information and 30% belief
  • [29:10] The FTX and SBF impact on the category
  • [33:50] Buddhism is the backbone of Mayur’s life.
  • [36:40] Advice to his younger self
  • [38:40] The need to prove marketing’s relevance
  • [40:10] AI, measurement, and the crossover between marketing and brand
  • [41:55] The biggest challenges facing marketers today

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