3 questions with Radhika Duggal, former Chase exec, on her new role as CMO of SnapCommerce
- What’s it like going from working as a marketing exec at an established financial institution to working as a CMO at a company just dipping its toes into fintech?
- In this Q&A, Radhika Duggal answers questions about what her transition has been like going from Chase to SnapCommerce.
A while back, Tearsheet sat down with Vineet Mehra, the new CMO of Chime, to speak with him about his recent experience in his new role, and what it’s been like transitioning from industries outside of finance into his current role.
For this Q&A, we’re flipping the script – hearing about the experience of transitioning from an established financial institution to an up-and-coming fintech.
In January, Radhika Duggal, former managing director and chief marketing officer for community and business development at Chase, left her role to join SnapCommerce, a commerce platform founded in 2016.
The company currently offers two products – Snaptravel, which basically helps consumers search for better travel and hotel deals, and Snapshop, which uses AI to help customers find the best deals for their purchases. The latter product was launched at the end of last year.
Most recently, the company has been emphasizing its upcoming dive into fintech, through its soon-to-be-launched third product, which it says will be focused on helping underserved consumers improve their credit standing.
In her conversation with Tearsheet, Duggal dives into her experience going from corporate to startup, the differences she’s noticed, and what it’s like going from focusing on several customer segments to one specific one.
So, without further ado, here are three questions with Radhika Duggal, CMO of SnapCommerce:
Q: How are you finding the transition from Chase to SnapCommerce? Are there any differences you’ve noticed so far?
You know, it’s interesting – when I joined my first startup in 2015, I wrote this piece called ‘From Corporate to Startup’, and I don’t know if I had quite the perspective at that time.
But then I went from that startup to Chase, and now from Chase to another startup. And I have to tell you, we all perceive these to be really different places – but I don’t know if I believe them to be entirely different.
I think the day-to-day tends to be quite similar, actually. As a CMO at SnapCommerce, or as an MD at Chase, you end up doing many of the same things.
First and foremost, you’re focused on the customer – understanding the customer, building solutions for the customer, and communicating with the customer.
Secondly, you are laser-focused on your team, and making sure they have what they need to be successful in their roles. And third, particularly as a CMO, you’re focused on building brand awareness, consideration, and acquiring customers – doing the job of a marketer, essentially.
And these things are the same, I think, in any environment.
There are some differences, though. Whereas at Chase, I had three different customer sets – affluent customers, students and parents, and underbanked customers – at SnapCommerce, we are laser-focused on underserved consumers. We have two products that exist today, and we’re building a third.
The two products that exist today are truly for a design target that’s lower-income, even though these are travel and ecommerce products.
So I would say that’s the biggest difference – we have a clear idea of the segment that we’re serving, and so everything we do is in service to that group.
Q: Would you say it’s easier or harder to be laser-focused on a particular group?
A: I think both have their challenges. So I would say in some ways, it’s easier, because as long as you can rally the company around who that design target is, and what it feels like to go through life as them, you have one goal. And having one focus area is always easier.
I’d say a challenge, on the other hand, is, like in any industry, we all naturally think about ourselves as the consumer. And while many of us have lived experiences similar to our target consumer base, many of us haven’t.
So at Chase, let’s say, a lot of the customers I served were very much like me or like me in the future. And when you can intuitively put yourself in the shoes of your customer, it’s easier to serve them.
Q: What are some lessons you’ve taken from your time at Chase?
I spent much of my time at Chase launching products and focusing on new customer sets or new areas for the bank to zero in on – underbanked customers, students, autosave – very much in that realm of financial health. And that was a new focus area for us.
So one lesson, which I think was incredibly important, was learning how to only invest in the things that you think will drive scaled output.
Another lesson came from a leadership perspective. Every single one of us is a work-in-progress, and there’s no better bootcamp in leadership than large teams, large budgets, and big companies: you go through all of the upsides but also the trials – how do you make a case for what your team is trying to do? How do you argue for that budget effectively? How do you then deploy that capital and show results? It was really Leadership 101.
So my time at Chase was invaluable for me, as was my time at CommonBond before that, and working as an advisor before that. So I’m grateful for all of those experiences – I think they really did prepare me for this role I’m in now.