In the last years, marketers from around the world have reshaped the way fintechs think about their presence and relevance. Anchoring brand campaigns to principles like customer centricity and giving way to the customers’ voice, is winning to some of today’s most recognisable fintech brands (like Stripe, Klarna or Wise), a place in the consumer’s hearts.
Financial services hasn’t always been synonymous with sexy marketing campaigns, and receiving a letter from your bank isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. On top of that, some popular fintechs in recent years were proud to publicly disclose their lack of marketing efforts or budgets, even.
"'No marketing’ sounds like marketing to me", says Laurel Wolfe, Mambu’s VP of Marketing while guesting a recent episode of the Architects of Change podcast - “I was at an event one time where a CEO said exactly that and I thought, wait a minute, where does your branded keynote and videos come from? Everyone does marketing, but maybe you can create more resonance when you say you don’t!”
Arguably, coming up with a good marketing campaign in fintech is more complicated than it may be for other industries. The constraint from regulators is pressing, and it takes some calibration in order to hit the sweet spot and produce assets that are responsible, without being dull.
“It’s a dance, it’s intricate, it’s a juggling act and it definitely requires some balance” admits Lucy Woolfenden, founder of The Part-Time CMO. “But when you understand your customers, you can really be daring because you know if they appreciate tongue-in-cheek, and you can give them what they want - it’s more of a calculated risk than a jump in the dark.”
It’s not going to work all of the time, but mistakes aren’t always mistakes, necessarily.
One of the latest trends in fintech marketing seems to be celebrity endorsements. A craze that other industries have milked for decades, but new for finance, a previously unattractive no-go area for the Hollywood glitterati. Klarna, who launched the trend with Snoop Dogg, just got ‘smooth again’ with A$AP Rocky to inspire people to drop their lockdown look and dress up again.
To ring authentic, an endorsement cannot be gratuitous and a celebrity cannot be plugged in just because it fits a budget. So maybe the best examples are coming from those celebs who can really stand behind what they’re signed up for. Enter female rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who recently partnered with Cash App to educate young girls on the cryptocurrency world. Or Brazilian, favela-born pop star Anitta on joining Nubank’s board of directors to target low-income clients. These examples are not only interesting PR. They are needed.
Google, Instagram, Facebook ads and paid search - does it work?
They do. However, any good marketing strategy is a mix of different strategies. Rather than putting all the eggs in one basket, fintech marketers who are creating longer-term strategies, will leverage content creation that’s steeped in their customer base and their communities. There is wisdom in not trying to replicate immaculately-curated Instagram ads for brands that reveal an empty shop upon swipe-up: that’s counterproductive pay-per-click advertising.
“I see the need for more open, quality content, more educational and for free,” adds Laurel.
Marketing is the glue that binds companies together. Marketers deal with PR, curate investor and analyst relations, set-up events, build demand and lead generation, the list goes on. They get to be part of different discussions, but they also need to stay focused on their goals, after all, they are the experts.
This article is an extract from the Fintech Marketing episode of Mambu’s podcast series, Architects of Change. Listen to the full version, here.