Manguera is the Chief Marketing Officer of Mynt. He won the Mansmith Young
Market Masters Awards (YMMA) in 2018 and shares his insights about the mobile
money and micro lending business. He will share more marketing tips during the
10th Market Masters Conference on April 3 at SMX Aura.
Mobile money continues to soar as a lifestyle product. What’s the market
penetration here compared to other Asian countries? What accounts for the
differences/similarities? What do you expect market penetration to be like in 5
Philippines may have been growing in terms of mobile money user base the past 3
years, but it is still relatively low in terms of market penetration compared
to other more advanced countries in mobile payments like China, India, South
Korea, Indonesia, to name a few.
has been interesting is that the trends that impact the start of a cashless
ecosystem in a country are usually the same – better data/connectivity,
increasing smartphone penetration, younger market that is willing to adapt to
new technology, and the general demand for more accessible/convenient financial
what sets it apart to achieve scale would be how each country reaches a certain
tipping point. It can be driven by the growth of e-commerce, a growing demand
to O2O (Online to Offline) services like ride sharing, food delivery, on demand
services etc. Sometimes, the growth will be triggered by the demand to have
access to financial services (remittance, savings etc) especially in countries
with very low banking penetration.
being part of the global mobile wallet group under Ant Financial, we have seen
the success of wallets in India and China. In India, the growth of PayTM drove
the mobile payment revolution in the country. This brand has been a driving
force of mobile payments in the country as they enabled QR code payments across
merchants that changed the way the Indians pay. This further grew during
India’s demonetization where cashless was further democratized as more shops
accepted QR payments to address the demand. In China, Alipay started its growth
by enabling secure payments for the leading e-commerce in the country, Alibaba.
Alipay then further secured cashless transactions by setting up QR codes across
merchants in the country. Walking along the streets of China, you will even see
how small shops or street vendors carry Alipay QR codes to accept payments.
Which market segments appear to be more open to cashless transactions and why?
In GCash, we see certain market segments that are attracted by the promise of
mobile money. These segments see it as a means to have more savings – in terms
of cost, time, and effort. As digital payments allow more convenient and cost
efficient means to pay or transact, they see this as an opportunity to optimize
their resources to channel them to more important things.
far, we have seen 2 key segments that are becoming more open to mobile money.
Big portion of this base are driven by the growing student population
becoming more open to this technology. We see them using certain use cases like
buy load (mobile top up at a discounted price) or purchase items online
(usually with discount vouchers). We also see the behavior where they cash in
or load up their mobile wallets by going to the convenience stores that are
usually within their university. This is the case as there is lower banking
penetration in this segment. We are also seeing growing usage for “savings” or
storing of their allowance securely in these mobile wallets. On the other hand,
there is also growing demand for this service among young professional segment.
They see the convenience of sending money to friends and family electronically
more efficient while using same for bills payments and online payments like
booking tickets, shopping, or for travelling. They usually top up their wallets
by linking their bank accounts into the mobile app for more seamless
is nice to note is that there is also growth in user segments within rural
areas where certain unbanked customers use the service to address certain
barriers in remitting money home for their families, or using it to pay for
their bills where it usually takes them a day just to travel and pay for
electricity and water. That is why as a service, we assure a multichannel
approach to serve various markets with different device types. A user with a
feature phone may access GCash via USSD (*143#), while a smartphone user can download
the GCash mobile app. But if space is limited in the device, they may also
access GCash via Facebook Messenger by searching for @gcashoffical to register
and create an account.
What have been the fundamental strategies to change payment behavior of your
target market in favor of using mobile money?
For GCash, our strategy revolved around addressing 3 Cs of customers. First, we
found out that for our service to be used often, it needs to truly deliver
convenience. A lot of users during our user research are able to “compute”
convenience when they start assessing cost over benefit of our offering. Cost
for this matter is not only in monetary form but also the time and effort they
need to invest. So the constant battle of GCash is to design a product that
truly offers a simple way to load up your wallet, a maximum benefit by offering
various services like buying load, booking movies, paying bills, purchasing
online or offline (brick and mortar), getting credit, insurance and even
next “C” is confidence. This is all about trust. Trust that can only be built
with constant assurance of security of money in the wallet, assurance of
availability when they need support or help, and assurance of offering the best
service in the market.
last “C” is Community. For the cashless ecosystem to thrive we need to enable
payments across relevant use cases within the daily life of our customers.
Community also stands for the network (family and friends). For mobile money to
thrive, we need to build and enable social networks of our customers to sustain
matters that we address all 3Cs to fully drive adoption customers to this
What have been key turning points that spiked the number of new users? What
channels were used in acquisition?
There has been no single turning point that spiked our user growth but rather
more driven by series of incremental value adding initiatives that drove
exponential growth of GCash user base to 15 Million customers as of December,
2018 – this is ~5X growth versus last year. To name a few would be our
partnership with Facebook Messenger. This global pilot of embedding a mobile
wallet service in FB Messenger has been instrumental in providing our services
to an untapped market. This allowed convenient registration experience to
onboard users while offering payment services to keep the user base engaged in
driver of growth is when we opened up the service to any telco network provider
in the country. This allowed users, regardless of sim card brand to have access
to GCash services. This allowed incremental user growth to GCash base.
a major driver of growth has been our efforts to expand relevant use cases in
the GCash App. From financial services (credit, investment, savings), to
lifestyle enabling use cases (movies, shopping, gaming etc.) to time saving
transactions (buy load, bills pay, send money etc.). Our goal is to make GCash
an everyday App that allows customers to do more, and be more in life.
acquire customers, we do a mix of acquisition channels like B2B, where we
partner with enterprise customers to offer payroll services to their employees
via GCash. We also acquire B2C via Digital channels (Paid, Owned, Earned media)
while maintaining on ground direct acquisition in certain strategic locations
to facilitate face to face onboarding and education to customers.
What’s the argument in favor of consumers using mobile payment from the telecom
industry rather than using a credit or debit card?
Given the low banking penetration and low credit card penetration in the
country, we see it as an opportunity to offer financial services that are more
accessible to broader market while offering convenient and secure payment
transactions that are more often than not FREE of charge.
when talking to a potential customer, our usual argument is that, many users
admit that they would rather forget their wallets at home versus their mobile
phones. From here, we usually talk about speed and security of transactions
when you use mobile payments. This is usually further fueled by making such
payments more fun and engaging with personalised discount vouchers or
What success metrics do you track for mobile money?
Success metrics for mobile money companies in growth phase should not be all
about revenue. As we focus our efforts in driving user adoption and assuring
retention – we should monitor closely customer activity. In GCash, we look at
monthly, weekly, and even daily active users as these metrics give us an
indication of relevance of service to the customers. This is the north star of
our company as it measures impact we make to our customers.
In this age of big data, mobile money can track wallet size and past purchase
behaviors, what other ways can mobile money-linked marketing be used in the
It is true that mobile payments allow capture of various data points and we
take this as a responsibility to further drive back value to the users we
serve. As more customers leverage on their mobile phones to compare prices, see
reviews, search for more information, or look for deals to make better shopping
decisions – layering payments on top of these data points can fully optimize
the purchasing experience of the customer. We usually leverage on data to allow
more personalized offerings like matching the right promotion to the user or
recommending next best merchant they can visit. We also leverage on said data
to create what we call “GScore”. This score is a trust score that allows us to
offer credit services to users to optimize their payment experience. This is a
great help for many Filipinos as credit card penetration is still below ~5% in
(Chris Manguera can be heard live. Join over 1,000 marketing executives and entrepreneurs to listen to how 35 marketing rockstars think, strategize and execute this April 3, 2019 in SMX Aura. Register via www.marketmastersconference.com)
Record-breaking, bestselling author Josiah Go is the Chairman of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines), and Chairman of Waters Philippines (the market leader in the direct selling of premium home water purifiers in the Philippines). He is Chairman / Vice Chairman / Director of over a dozen companies.