Affirm announced today that it has tapped Carl Gish to be its first chief marketing officer. The former eBay vice president is tasked with broadening the lending service’s appeal, especially as the company begins to release direct-to-consumer products this year.
Since 2013, Affirm has been providing funds to people through point-of-sale systems. But following its recent $100 million funding round, Affirm has begun moving into new ways to lend money, and it has to make sure people know what it has to offer. This is where Gish comes in, since Affirm has never done any marketing before.
“Silicon Valley and technology companies, in particular, tend to undervalue and under-invest in brand equity. Our goal is to make Affirm one of the most-loved companies in the world — one that is fully aligned with the best interests of its users. Carl’s experience in both enterprise and consumer brand marketing equips him to do just that,” Levchin said.
Previously, Gish served as the vice president for eBay’s global delivery experience and local unit, handling strategy, product marketing, demand generation, operations, and more. This is the extent of Gish’s experience in lending, but Affirm believes his stints at large consumer-oriented companies like Dove, Dyson, and Amazon make him perfectly suited for the CMO role.
“Hiring a CMO like Carl means that we are continuing to grow and expand Affirm beyond the company’s existing point-of-sale payments method,” the company shared with VentureBeat. “Consumers have told us they like what Affirm is doing, and investing in marketing and hiring a strong CMO will help us do more of that and introduce Affirm to more people.”
Affirm CEO Max Levchin sees his company as an opportunity to “build an aspirational, truly loved financial institution for everyone.” This will take a real shift in public perception, as banks generally don’t instill that kind of admiration. With an experienced CMO on board, Affirm can make an effort to distinguish itself from the pack and show why it’s a better alternative.
This is the company’s latest step in moving beyond point-of-sale lending, following the acquisition of Sweep last week.