FinTech, or the merging of financial services with technology for the digital era, has the potential to compete on equal terms with – and even surpass – more traditional methods of finance delivery. At the heart of the FinTech phenomenon are innovative technologies and techniques, capable of disrupting and recreating the established methods of transacting business, delivering value, and interacting with the stakeholders and consumers of financial services.
The finance industry has – rightly or wrongly – earned a reputation for being mysterious, bureaucratic, and tight-fisted, with arcane procedures, strict chains of command, and a ton of hard-to-understand regulations, transaction fees, and surcharges. Current and emerging manifestations of FinTech have improved things to some extent, by adding the convenience and familiarity of internet and mobile applications or platforms to the mix, and by speeding up many of the processes considerably.
But financial planning remains a tricky and worrying area for many consumers. Many are reluctant to rock the boat by switching from their existing finance houses to virtual platforms and cutting edge technology – while others simply aren’t aware of what’s happening in the financial services sector, and the new options that are available to them out there.
Spreading the word about FinTech equates to marketing – and the very nature of this emerging sector demands a marketing approach that’s geared to fully exploit the possibilities of the internet and digital sphere, together with the new opportunities that exist through social engagement and data analysis. Here’s your roadmap of recommendations and hacks to bring your FinTech marketing to the highest level.
Explain Yourself Clearly and Simply
For most people on the street (and this constitutes the major portion of your potential consumers), a conversation that starts with “percentage CAGR”, then goes on with stuff like “hedge funds”, “credit instruments”, and “discretionary buy-outs” will soon have their eyes glazing over.
Talking about money and planning financially for the future are sensitive topics for many prospective buyers. They’ll need assurances from you that you can offer the kind of savings and investment plans that they truly need – under the kind of conditions that they’ll favour.
So take the time to set out your stall clearly – explaining what it is that you do, and the way that you go about doing it – all in simple and understandable terms and language. If you gain a reputation at the outset as an organisation that’s plain-speaking and informative, you’ll likely make a lot of new friends. And they’ll be inclined to tell their friends, too.
Be Transparent – But Not Without Substance
Besides a clear idea of what you have to offer, prospective customers will also be keen to know how safe their money’s going to be with an organisation like yours. They’ll want to know that you’ve put in place all the latest and strongest insurance and security measures to protect their assets, and that the funds which they entrust to you will be processed in a fair and efficient manner at all times.
Financial legislation and regulatory compliance regimes already dictate your actions and attitudes in this arena, but your customers won’t be interested in reading your latest audit reports, or ploughing through a bunch of headache-inducing legalese as you release copies of your contract documents and operating terms in an effort to look transparent.
Transparency – in the sense of good marketing for your FinTech enterprise – goes hand in hand with clarity and simplicity. Be up front and open about the way in which you handle customer assets and information, the security mechanisms you use to protect those resources, their rights and privileges, access to your company, help and technical support – everything a consumer would need to make an informed decision about entrusting their money to you.
(Image source: nutmeg.com)
Nutmeg (as illustrated in our screenshot above) has managed to achieve this quite successfully.
Disclosure also gives you an opportunity to take a stand on certain issues or customer pain points. You may not want to go as far as Transferwise and hire a mob to strip down to their underwear as a protest against bank charges (and a promo for your website). But expressing your organisation’s opinion on some vital topics could help to establish you as a thought leader in these areas.
Make Your Information More Accessible
Competing in the digital arena as a FinTech player, you’ll no doubt have a number of touch points in place for engaging with your customer base. Websites, portals, mobile apps – not to mention blogs, streaming media channels, and social media. But the ways that people can learn about and gain access to you should increase in quality, as well as quantity.
Again, simplicity, speed, and clarity should be your watchwords.
For example, signing up for your services initially and setting up an account should be a clearly sign-posted and straightforward process, rather than a complex or stressful one. Customers are understandably cautious about revealing information relating to themselves or their finances, so you’ll need to walk them through the system and give them a number of options for submitting the data that you need.
Cater For The Mobile
Recent figures from Pew Research suggest that 86% of people aged between 18 and 29 have a smartphone – and that 78% of them spend more than 2 hours each day using some form of smart device. Of those in the 30-49 age bracket, smartphone owners make up around 83%.
This all translates into the fact that 68% of adults now own a smartphone. So, if mobile access and distribution or some form of presence in the app ecosystem aren’t part of your FinTech marketing strategy, they should be.
The micro investing platform Acorns capitalised on this very well. Knowing that 75% of its users are aged between 18 and 34, they created a simple mechanism with incentives for in-app referrals. An integration between the Acorns app home screen and the user’s phone contacts list allows subscribers to invite their friends to join the investment platform – with $2.50 credited to their account for each referral.
Target The Youth
It’s not only in terms of the mobile app sphere that your FinTech marketing strategy should involve the millennial demographic. Targeting the younger savers and investors out there is a solid investment in the future.
In terms of traditional finance, only 23% of Generation Y consumers admit to feeling fully engaged with their bank. And a three-year study of over 10,000 subjects (The Millennial Disruption Index) found that 73% would be more excited over a new financial services offering from the likes of Apple, PayPal, Google, or Amazon, than they would be from their own bank.
There’s an entire generation of consumers out there looking to plug into the FinTech phenomenon. The trick is to provide the financial products and services they need – and to distinguish yourself from the competition enough to attract their interest.
Engage and Nurture
This is where content marketing fits neatly into the FinTech ethic of disruption, innovation, and interaction through technology. Online points of presence, mobile outreach, and digital transactions are an ideal complement to the delivery of help, advice, information, entertainment, and thought leadership on topics relating to your industry, and crafted on the basis of your particular areas of expertise.
You’ve a variety of formats to choose from in engaging their interest: email, blogging, social media, infographics, podcasts, video, and so on. And you’ll have a mission to chart the route of the consumer’s journey with your brand, interacting and intervening at strategic points to guide and assist.
Keep Track of Your Customers
Knowing when and how to intervene in that journey requires you to know something about the customers that you’re catering for. Digital and content marketing strategies in many industries are now typically constructed on the basis of detailed target demographics and customer or buyer personas – and FinTech need not be the exception to this rule.
You’ll need to be continuously monitoring your consumers’ activity and behaviour (transaction histories, interactions with your touch points and personnel, conversations and comments on social media, etc.), and applying interpretive analysis to what you observe. Things to look out for would include how people are using your service, what their feedback suggests that they’re getting out of it, and any pain points or other issues that should be addressed.
Jump Through Hoops Occasionally
You’re providing a service and safeguarding their assets. But from time to time, it won’t hurt to give something back to your consumers in the form of tangible gifts, bonuses, or opportunities.
With give-aways or promotions in line with your customers’ profiles and/or stage on the “buyer’s journey”, you can present your organisation as not only in-tune with what your consumers need, but also as a service willing to go the extra mile to ease their pain, or to increase their loyalty and engagement with your enterprise.
Mingle with The Crowd
FinTech is an emerging market, so there’s still scope for you to network, expand your sphere of influence, or forge valuable partnerships with others in the field. So while you’re marshalling your online resources and conducting your content marketing campaign, you should also make time to promote your business offline.
Attending conferences, seminars, and other FinTech gatherings will give you the opportunity to directly interact with others in the financial industry who may become allies or supply chain partners. You can even use social media to reach out to key individuals and organisations before the event.
Conducting your own events (such as a webinar, or presentation) will enable you to show off your own expertise, and establish yourself as an authority or thought leader in your chosen subjects. The content of these presentations may also be repackaged to form part of your marketing output.
Keep Track of Your Progress
Finally, as in all marketing activities, it’s important to set achievable goals, set benchmarks or milestones for recording when you achieve them, and to use measurable quantities or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in monitoring your progress and success.
Besides the financial and operational indicators, you’ll also need to take in those qualities that can gauge your success in the digital realm. So figures relating to downloads and installations of your mobile apps, likes and mentions on social media, blog and website statistics should also be part of your assessment.