- Kraken has hired its first director of marketing and strategy, Mayur Gupta.
- The newly created position is part of plans to improve the company’s prospects in an increasingly competitive environment.
- Kraken has been criticized for not closing the accounts of its Russian users in light of the invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. cryptocurrency exchange and bank Kraken has named Mayur Gupta as its first chief marketing officer. The move forms part of efforts by Kraken to shore up its share of the fast-growing and increasingly competitive market category, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Gupta comes fresh from his role as a marketing and strategy executive at ‘Gannett Co’, where he has been working since 2020. Gupta previously held similar roles at ‘Freshly’, a meal subscription company, and ‘Spotify Technology SA’, the streaming services giant.
Payward Inc.’s parent plans to ramp up and improve its marketing activities after launching a consumer app last year, said CEO and co-founder Jesse Powell.
A Change of Strategy
Since its foundation in 2011, Kraken’s previous strategy for attracting customers was geared towards improving the customer experience, Powell revealed. however, due to increased competition in the crypto business sector, crypto exchanges are finding it increasingly necessary to improve their marketing efforts.
Recently, several commercials from other cryptocurrency companies were seen during the Super Bowl broadcast, such as ‘Coinbase Global Inc’, which commissioned a 60-second ad during the event which showed a bouncing QR code. A Crypto.com commercial was also featured during the game, involving several sports stars.
Gupta’s marketing strategy will reportedly be focused on broadening the consumer understanding of cryptocurrencies to boost Kraken’s overall user base.
The move is also part of plans to support the company in developing emotional and cultural connections with its clients and consumers as individual investors.
Gupta emphasized he will draw on his experience in subscription companies where such relationships are vital to continued success. However, he also clarified that the company is not “in a race to be the loudest voice.”
Following in the Footsteps of Rivals
Kraken is not to first to look to expand on its marketing, with other crypto exchanges also hiring marketing experts in recent months, such as Coinbase, which hired Kate Rouch, the former ‘Meta Platforms Inc.’ executive, in August.
Bittrex Global GmbH hired Paul Grier as its first CMO in January. According to the company’s CEO, Stephen Stonberg, the persistent increase in regulatory legislation has been a major factor which has led exchanges and other companies in the crypto industry to hire CMOs.
"The role of the CMO is invaluable at helping speak to our customers. They need to make our industry complexities understandable to new retail investors, while making the experience familiar for institutions used to the traditional financial space,” Stonberg explained.
Criticism of Kraken Grows
In recent weeks, criticism of Kraken has rained down from several of its clients as the company refused to close the accounts of Russian users after the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia in light of the invasion of Ukraine. Criticism has also been levied at the exchange has for the closure of its offices in San Francisco on the grounds that the city is “unsafe”.
In defense of its actions, the company explained that it has been closely following the situation in Ukraine, and fully complied with the legal regulations and the sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia.
For his part, Gupta highlighted that such decisions are a reflection of the company’s values related to concepts such as independence, transparency, and security, which represent the crypto industry.
He further said that "While marketing is going to be accountable for growth, it is going to be on top of purpose-driven efforts."
“We won’t drive growth in the absence of that purpose, or the cost of our soul, which sometimes can happen in growth-stage startups,” he added.