What Captain Kirk Taught Me About Financial Services Marketing

What Captain Kirk Taught Me About Financial Services Marketing

Captain Kirk Tribbles BWWhat happened the last time you told someone you work in financial services? Did their eyes glaze over, instant boredom setting in at the thought of crunching numbers and soulless database systems?

Start talking business loans or investment options, and you suck the life right out of a room.

People associate numbers with boring, calculated deal brokering. And who can blame them? Even for those of us who work in the industry, talking technology and money all day can make us forget that finance isn’t an emotionless trade.

Money is an integral part of people’s lives, the thing on which their mortgages, vacation plans, college funds, and annual Christmas parties rely. Put it in those terms, and you’ll see all kinds of emotions arise.

And therein lies the challenge for fintech marketers. Too often, they approach B2B clients in cold, hard terms, talking interest rates and banking security systems as if they’re divorced from customers’ everyday lives. In reality, if you’re in fintech, you’re in just as deep as your consumer-facing clients.

Both B2B and B2C clients want to know that fintech vendors get it. They need to be sure you can provide them with the right technical support and that you’re along for the journey. Finance may be a fact-driven industry, but buying decisions always come back to emotions.

Marketing to Captain Kirk

If people based decisions on logic alone, there’d never be need for deliberation, and there wouldn’t be much room for marketing. The specs would speak for themselves, and the most efficient and cost-effective companies would have monopolies on their industries.

But we can’t all be Mr. Spock and operate on logic alone.

Most people are similar to the more emotional Captain Kirk, even those of us who work in finance. Fintech marketers have to remember that their B2B clients are still people. And people make purchases based on how a brand makes them feel. In fact, emotions drive 80 percent of the decision-making process.

Banks and other financial institutions carry great responsibility when hiring fintech services. Customers entrust these companies with their life savings, and they expect the highest standards of professionalism and support. When a cable company drops the ball on its service, customers are upset they don’t have ESPN for a few days. When a bank loses their money, they’re panicked, furious, and they take it very personally.

Negative experiences that cause stress, anger, and irritation stick with customers far longer than positive ones. A bank that suffered a security breach due to negligence may offer excellent customer service and perks, but people will only remember the screw-up that endangered their financial well-being. These companies take on an enormous amount of risk dealing with people’s money, which creates emotional needs for reassurance and security. Who would you work with – the brand that shows you charts and graphs, or the one that says, “We understand the pressure you’re under, and we’ve got your back”?

“No one gets fired for choosing IBM”

Emotions play a leading part in people’s purchasing decisions, but they also impact customer retention. If you can make people feel more confident, smarter, optimistic, or secure, you’ll win their business regardless of your price tag. That’s why IBM is so successful. The brand is synonymous with professionalism and reliability, and companies want to eliminate risk. That’s where the saying originates – other services might be more cost-effective, but they don’t inspire the confidence IBM does.

Let’s look at the three most important results of emotional marketing:

  • Buy-in: Your brand story provides a powerful way for prospects to connect with your company. Emotional marketing campaigns enable you to establish the personal connections people crave. This is your opportunity to surprise, educate, and delight consumers, and it’s crucial to your long-term success.

We’ve been working with a local community bank that wants to market its services to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Instead of saying, “Here’s our lowest loan rate,” we’ve encouraged the bank to say, “We know taking out a loan to start your business is a big move, and we’ll be here for you every step of the way.” The conversation instantly changes from a straight business transaction to a partnership, and that creates positive emotions associated with the brand.

  • Loyalty: You know how folks will sit down at a restaurant and order a Coke, only to ask for another type of beverage entirely when the server says she has Pepsi? That’s brand loyalty in action.

Once you’ve persuaded someone to work with your company, they feel an allegiance to the organization. Which brands they favor says something about who they are and how they see themselves, and they’re proud to honor that bond. Emotions influence loyalty more than any other factor in the customer experience.

  • Longevity: Simply put, investment equals attachment. We’ve had opportunities to save $10,000 by switching to different business platforms, but we never do. We trust the ones we’re already using. The risks and stress inherent in changing to a less costly system outweigh any monetary benefit. When you consistently make people feel inspired, confident, and excited about your brand, they’re less likely to seek alternative vendors, even if they offer lower price points.

Humans are emotional beings. Marketing needs to reflect the importance of emotions, catering to people’s needs for connection, inspiration, and security – especially when you’re dealing with their money.

Picture of Rory Holland
Rory Holland
Rory Holland is CEO and Co-Founder of CSTMR. For more than 20 years, he has made it his passion to help Fintech and financial companies leverage digital marketing and advertising to drive growth.

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