Not long ago, fintech was the new kid at school.
It sat in the corner while the other students —the incumbents— looked on in judgment and scorn.
At first, people were more mystified by its spelling than its disruptive potential:
“Is it fintech?”
“Or is it FinTech?”
“Can’t we just call it financial technology?”
Typical schoolhouse tactics. When all else fails, take aim at their name and newness.
Change is never easy, and the frontlines of fintech were met with pronounced skepticism. Most wondered aloud if “technology” that aimed to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services was really worth all the hype. Even the SEC Commissioner Hester M. Pierce openly wondered if “we would be better off without all this newfangled tech.”
Then, in 2019, the tide began to turn as fintech affirmed its place in the future of commerce.
Fintech Goes Mainstream
In a 2019 statement, the formerly apprehensive Commissioner Peirce finally admitted that “we need to keep our doors open to innovation.” In reality, the door got kicked down.
According to Forbes, “what felt like a corner of the technology industry a decade ago is today the largest funded category globally. Fintech received over $130 billion in capital, representing 20% of all capital invested in 2021.”
Money talks, and today, everyone can hear fintech loud and clear. After all, nearly 90% of U.S. consumers used fintech apps in 2021, up from 58% in 2020.
To secure a piece of this enormous cake, fintechs (especially emerging ones) must deploy a robust digital marketing strategy that attracts, educates, and empowers consumers.
This begs two important questions:
- Where is fintech headed this year?
- How can you deploy a relevant digital marketing strategy to capture the trends?
While there are many possible ways to achieve success, here are five marketing trends to really pay attention to as we close out 2022 and move into 2023.
1. Best-in-Class Branding
Read “traditional”, and more likely than not, something bland, even boring, will automatically come to mind.
In the best of cases, a traditional fintech brand is just one more brick in a humongous, pastel-colored wall.
That wall is only growing, and looking more and more uniform. By “wall”, of course, we mean the fintech industry, where products (and their marketing strategies) are starting to get stuck in the same humdrum patterns.
You might offer customers a solution no one else does, but if your brand doesn’t scream out your name and product, there’s no way of getting through. And when competition is as fierce as it is right now, being bold with your brand works wonders.
Regardless of where you are as a product, the point is to stand out. It’s never too late or too early to make a statement with your brand—whether you’re launching, scaling, or updating, having a consistent and strong personality gets your product to ring in people’s ears.
Take Klarna, for instance: they bet hard on their story, collaborating with influencers and celebrities, and, perhaps most importantly, understood the value of radically redefining their visual assets. That’s awareness for you—making an impact and relating with people on their uniqueness.
Another great example, although a few years old, continues to teach us a valuable lesson today: N26’s “no bullshit” campaign. This controversial marketing campaign not only made noise with competitors, but it helped N26 connect with users by placing their product as a disruptive player in an otherwise traditional industry. The campaign took user pain points head on and offered a better solution, all while getting fully noticed.
From start to finish, customers need to know that they’re dealing with a product that knows what it’s doing, and that they’re doing it in the best way possible. More than ever, in the digital world, where people can’t see a smile or give a handshake, trust is built through your brand.
Ultimately, branding isn’t just about having a sparky name and the flashiest color: it all needs to be backed up by a genuine and powerful statement. It’s not about dressing your product in the most beautiful clothes, but rather giving it a fully developed personality.
Sure, a good branding strategy makes your product stand out from the fintech crowd. A great branding strategy also helps you link on a personal level with customers, develop their trust and nurture their loyalty, build customer communities, and at the end of the day, improve customer retention.
2. The Rise of the “Fin-Fluencer”
Developing a strong branding strategy is essential to building a customer community around your product. You’ve got your flare; now you need to spread the word to get your product up and running.
You have some options here, and all of them are useful to place your product within view of your target market. Referral programs, gamification, incentive campaigns, are all good tactics to apply in your strategy. But there’s one strategy that beats them all: influencer marketing.
By now, everyone knows what an influencer is: someone who has the power to steer potential consumers towards a product, via their social media posts. With their power continually rising, influencers are becoming leaders who can take your brand to the highest mountain.
At a time when two thirds of the U.S. population is on social media (with the number only going up), social platforms are the place to intimately connect with your audience. Add to that the fact that digital-native Gen Z is a growing market to target, and social media marketing with influencers is a no-brainer.
Influencers are even getting more specific: we now have finfluencers.
You guessed it—influencers who talk to their followers about financial products. In fact, not only are fintech-related hashtags on the rise, but, finfluencers are so popular, they even have a Wiktionary entry.
Reaching younger audiences is perhaps the most obvious benefit of partnering with a finfluencer. In fact, they’re maybe the only way to get to them. They get there because they speak the same language; they know what they need and what their concerns are. Building trust on a personal level is the key for finfluencer success.
One person at a time, finfluencers can eventually create a community around them, and the brands they support. Audiences like, comment, and react to their content—as they connect with their favorite finfluencers, they connect with your brand.
3. Holistic and Integrated Inbound Marketing
As part of your marketing strategy, you should rely on different forms of original content. This puts you in the right spot to show your customers that you really know what you’re doing with their money.
Ultimately, the goal should be to place your organization as a thought leader in your industry. A recent study showed that 60% of buyers consider that thought leadership builds credibility. It’s essential that you give them good reasons to resort to your expertise and solutions.
To achieve this, you should roll out campaigns and release content in different channels—you need to be present across the whole digital world if you want to reach potential customers. And your impact must be felt throughout.
As much content as you may be delivering, it means nothing if you’re not organized about it. Partner with creative experts to guarantee that your brand messaging is relevant, consistent, and trustworthy. But you also need all your channels and campaigns to be aligned.
An integrated marketing strategy jumps in right here, to make sure that your brand narrative is cohesive and makes the right amount of noise. By combining paid, owned, and earned media strategies, integrated marketing can help boost your brand in all media outlets and channels.
And especially in a niche industry like fintech, hiring an integrated marketing agency can help you focus on your particular audience. Each message can be tailored according to their pains, their needs, and, above all, your solutions for them.
Yes, there are tools to manage integrated marketing. And yes, HubSpot is most likely at the top of everyone’s list. To fully take advantage of everything that a solid integrated strategy can offer, your best bet is to work with an agency that knows HubSpot (and the fintech industry) inside out.
CSTMR is a proud HubSpot Solutions Platinum Partner, which isn’t just a pretty name. We leverage HubSpot to drive our customers’ success by means of different strategies and content. Interested in learning more? Check out our five-part blog series on how HubSpot (and integrated marketing) can help boost your bottom line.
4. AI-Based Marketing Tools Increase in Popularity
Over the last few years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have truly put the “tech” in fintech.
AI, ML, and robotic process automation (RPA) are all driving innovations in the fintech space. They not only help neobanks and open banking APIs process massive amounts of data sets, but they also enable them to analyze that information and make real-time decisions.
That’s why lending approval processes can now happen in a matter of moments (and how/why risk monitoring has become so reliable). From a practical perspective, AI and ML also help reduce operational costs, eliminate reporting errors, and enhance the overall customer experience.
What you might not know, is that the power of AI is also being leveraged in marketing. Between 2018 and 2020, the use of AI in marketing has grown from 29% to 84%.
From a marketing perspective, AI is a powerful tool to interact timely and efficiently with people that are interested in your product.
Chatbots (or virtual assistants), if designed carefully, can give customers answers and guidance in an intelligent manner, and lead them towards a purchase. In fact, statistics show that over 41% of consumers go through with a purchase after they have a word or two with a chatbot. Just a few years back, in 2019, this number was only 17%.
It’s not just direct interaction: you can use AI to optimize your audience’s overall experience with your brand, from top to bottom and bottom to top.
In other words, AI and predictive analytics can help you to identify the best target audience for your brand, and give them the content that fits them best. You may have great content and campaigns, but if you’re not targeting them right, they can easily become superfluous. To avoid this, work with a strategy that can configure an AI engine to personalize and recommend content according to what your visitors are looking for.
This gives you a double advantage: you get through to the people who can actually become your customers, and you’re offering them a much more personalized experience, thus gaining their trust.
5. Cause Marketing and Doubling Down on Values
Everyone has at least one cause that they fight for. Or, at the very least, have sympathy for. It can be as big as world peace, or as specific as preventing the demolition of your local library.
As part of your brand identity, your product can also defend any social, political, or environmental cause. It involves taking a stand and being active about what you, as a brand, believe in and wish to defend. This, in a nutshell, is cause marketing.
Your marketing strategy around the causes can start off with a single social post, and go as far as collaborating with nonprofit organizations that back the same causes. But claiming to defend a cause just for a financial benefit never goes far, and can destroy any trust customers have with a brand. Recent greenwashing cases are a good example of this.
Causes are directly attached to our values, and values are a big part of what it means to be human. As such, they need to be treated in a sensitive way.
To apply an effective cause marketing strategy, the only way to go about it is being absolutely genuine and transparent: the values that you carry over to your audience are the exact same values that your brand believes in and works by.
At CSTMR, we work hard to drive success for our customers’ ventures. But one thing is imprinted even deeper in our veins: we strive for the financial wellbeing of the people we reach with our marketing efforts.
And we only work with brands and products that can relate with that desire. By collaborating with customers who share key values and view the fintech industry as we do, we can guarantee that our work always hits the mark and engages people the right way.
Working hard and doing the right thing is the only way to achieve sound and true success.
Looking Forward to 2023
These are just a few of the major trends that have been shaping fintech marketing in 2022. As we skate into 2023, we’ll surely see these trends evolve, and new ones sprout up.
The first step towards implementing a robust marketing strategy is to realize that you need one. If your brand sounds boring, if you’re not catching the right amount of attention, if you feel like your content could be just anyone’s content, here’s your marketing wake up call.
Whether it’s strengthening your brand, partnering with finfluencers, tightening your overall content and channels, leveraging the power of AI, or figuring out what your values are and how to transmit them, CSTMR Fintech Marketing & Advertising is here to help.
We succeed by investing in the success of your organization. We make it flashy, we make it meaningful, and we make it right.