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Sales & Marketing: Fintech is Not All Finance & Technology

Is Good Finance Idea + Good Tech = Great Product = Successful Fintech ??

Then why so many Fintech failure??

The rate of failures are particularly high in the Fintech sector and there are many reasons to blame for this. You have legal complications, trust issues, lack of capital, wrong VC, but above all, most fintech fail because of improper and unplanned Marketing & Sales strategy including the audience, the timing as well as the medium.

It is the customer who decides the Success or Failure of any product irrespective of all the science you put inside. Sales & Marketing helps the customer to find the product and start using it.

Fintech Sales & Marketing tools for retail customers (B2C):

Fintech marketing tools for B2C Retail customers: Adword maketing, Social media marketing, Interactive marketing, pricing, Email & Loyalty marketing, offers & promotions

Adword marketing: If your website isn’t on 1st page (max within top 30 listing), it is not going to see much traffic. Let’s face it: Google is the king, and next is Bing. SEO & SEM should be the focus area for the new & the old alike. The key is to have a mix of organic & inorganic growth strategy here (Read: Natural & Paid listing). The paid SEM can be a great drainer if not done with right planning. It should always be done in collaboration with organic SEO with emphasis on content. A relevant content will decrease the Adword CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) significantly. It will also ensure a higher page ranking and better first page impressions.

Pro Tip: Always predetermine weekly Adword expense and don’t deviate irrespective of how lucrative it might look. Have a keyword wise cost review and keep it dynamic.

Example: Suppose you are an education lending fintech in Kenya. You start with SEM, but the cost of keywords like fintech lending, loans, financing is very high. You need to identify the less common keywords your targeted customers are searching. You may put in keywords like education loans in Nairobi, “Education loans” etc with geographical targeting. You also set the CPC (Cost per click) to $0.3 which will give you random 1st page listings. With your link directing to a page describing about educational loans in Nairobi, there is a very good probability of frequent first page appearance for educational loans in that geography. You wouldn’t want to waste money on some research clicks from China or America.

Social Media marketing: If you are a B2C fintech and not on anyone of these: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Reddit, and Youtube; you are loosing some of your potential customer base. Almost 95% of the youth and high income group is connected to one or more of these social media and the spend a considerable amount of time on this. As per recent study 50% of the world population is connected to Social media with number going up to 70% in North America. This leads to lot of consumer behaviours being dictated by concurrent social media trends. Additionally, it helps you to interact with your current & potential customers in real time, build brand image & identity, promote new offerings, track competition and help solve client issues.

Pro Tip: Social Media Videos have almost 12X more visibility. Aided by good organic content and backlinking, it will result in an increased page ranking. This is also the most cost effective way to build a loyalty base.

Example: Let’s take another example of a Neobank in India. You have created a social media presence which has got a huge following. Your Facebook page is brimming with followers and their interactions; you have a good twitter handle with lot of tweets getting retweeted. Now you are launching a new product line for youths. You announce and create a buzz around the same on all your social media channels. With word of mouth and direct reach, you have reached to 3X of your total followers immediately without spending a single penny on paid marketing campaigns. Now with paid social media advertisement, you aim for the inorganic growth through a highly involved crowd.

Video & Infographics: Video contents attack two of the senses simultaneously, leading to much better retention and recall. Relevant field information videos, product overviews and walk throughs ensures higher brand loyalty and conversion. On an average a brand garners 13X more engagement with video content. Video content also has this side advantage of higher page ranking as Google love videos. A colorful infographics is very similar to this but targets specific user segments who are more likely to buy your product or service.

Pro Tip: Make use of Paid Youtube / Instagram Video advertisements to immediately reach to your target market segment.

Example: Let’s take the same example of the Indian Neobank launching a youth specific product. You create a video showing the added advantages which the youth might get by having this account. You explains the complete benefits and clear common doubts. It is presented by a trustworthy personality. This video is being played on your site, on all your social media accounts. It is shared among the targeted user group, leading to lot of additional interest. You also use the video for paid advertisement and any youth looking for a banking solution is seeing this before the actual video. This multiple and repeated messaging leads to a positive imprint in your customer mind which in turn results in a XX % increase in product sales.

Offline Media Marketing & offline referrals: Build trust through offline channels like Radio, TVC and paper ads. Online sponsored contents on trusted sites also build trust and conversions. Paid blogs, reviews and contents sometimes help too. While half of the world is on social media, half is still not on it.

Pro Tip: Local Radio channels can be a great way to reach to the target segments and conversions are comparatively better

Example: Let’s take an example of a Regtech in India focused on B2C and looking to help solve annual return filing and compliance issues for salaried employees. Now while the solution they provide is completely digital, there is a large customer base opaque to them. These people are paying huge money to CA to file their annual returns and don’t have any idea about this company. An offline media campaign was done with a TVC, radio & newspaper advertisements. Additionally, the company tied with HR of large MNCs. With direct outreach to these customer segments along with a visual brand reinforcement, it led to a 300% jump in the net revenue of the company along with an access to a big market for retargeting and upselling.

Email marketing and loyalty program: Email and loyalty marketing goes a long way in building customer loyalty, enhancing retention and facilitating repeat purchases. They allow for continuous touch base with clients and offering them customized solutions. One need to ensure content, delivery as well as the offer in the email for it to be successful. Newsletter going to a large base means they are getting certain brand recall signals.

Pro Tip: One can use applications like Mailchimp for creating professional Newsletters. Loyalty program can also be created easily as most web hosting companies provide the tool bundled.

Example: Let’s take another example of this Indian Insurtech. The company has a very strong email marketing program with regular emails going to all potential clients for any possibility of touch base. With constant reinforcement of idea, this company is able to get more than 2.8% clicks and 0.6% conversion on cold leads. They have much higher conversion rate on inactive and incomplete purchases. Email marketing alone contribute a whopping 20%+ of total new to company business. Now let’s take an hypothetical example of the same company building the loyalty program with tiers (Silver / Gold / Platinum) for added benefits like bonus premium discounts, Premium support, direct access, better returns. With this they have created an exit barrier for customers to leave the company and move to competition. The customer will also get enticed by the gamification and desire to move to higher tiers. This will lead to increased spends and upsell opportunities.

Mobile First: Imagine not seeing your mobile for a day. An average person spends around five hours on Mobile which is 1.2X more than computers and tabs together. In countries like India, the difference is 3X. The world is going Mobile and conversions are much better here thanks to a higher young adult population. The key is to create content for the escalator test public who will not give you more than 5 seconds at best. Mobile first is not a marketing tool but still should be an integral part of your strategy.

Pro Tip: Mobile responsiveness and UX play a key role in customer perception of your product for Mobile first customers.

Example: Let’s take another example of an Insurtech in South East Asia which is trying to attract the age group of 25-40 for a new digital Insurance. His customer base is highly mobile centric and make use of it for on the go purchase. Now as his website is not customized to mobile, he is loosing business. With a mobile first policy, he overcomes this issue with ability to make the payment on the go. Now his customers are comparing products, reading reviews in malls, in metro, in bus, in toilet (believe me, lot of important decisions are now finalized there 🙂 ). This has led to an increase interest in his product understanding. This is also sending a signal to his target segments that as a digital finance company, they are super suave and smart.

Offers & Promotions: This is one of the most important tool in the hand of marketing managers to immediate raise lot of interest as well as build initial customer base. One thing you need to keep in mind: Don’t bleed fast and work with predefined burn ratios and an absolute fixed burn amount.

Pro Tip: Promotions can be channel specific with specialized offer codes to understand the channel efficacy.

Example: Let’s take our previous example of the Neobank. Now as a new entrant in youth market, this bank is offering platinum card, free of cost for first year for the first 50 customers, if they apply within next 10 days of offer. This offer can be used by clicking on a special promotional link received by pre-registered customers. For all other customers, it is offering a gold card, again free of cost for first year, but with lower benefits if they apply within the next 10 days. A free platinum card / Gold card otherwise would have costed hundreds of dollars. This will lead to immediate interest in the product thanks to the extra offer during the promotion period.

Innovative pricing: You can have lot of experiments with pricing to bring value and affordability for your customers. Few examples are having small monthly fees instead of annual bombs, subscription based purchases instead of one time payments, Scorecard based interest rates, bundling of offers and products.

Pro Tip: Deep discounting if offered, should have a defined time frame with understanding of maximum cash burn.

Example: Let’s continue with the example of Neobank wherein the Youth banking fee is waived off for first year, has a spend based reversal for next year and has a relationship value amount for third year onwards. The customers also have the option to pay the fees as monthly instalments and pricing of the fees varies as per the credit score of the customer.

Mass customization: If possible offer differentiated product & apropos marketing to individuals or groups. Use of IOT and digital services has pushed all major fintech to look into this.

Pro Tip: Mass customization can be the differentiator in the market with lot of Me too competition. But the cost may spiral multifold with limited incremental benefit.

Example: Automated customized & dynamic wealth management tools by a Wealthtech or customized insurance solutions with AI based demographic analysis for individuals by Insurtech are few very good examples of mass customization.

Reviews and comparison: Mostly likely, you will not have a blue ocean to sail. Either you are a me too or you are going to face lot of me too in the market. Ensure you have genuine reviews, stories and experiences from the customer on your and other websites. Work with most, if not all trusted comparison sites in your domain to ensure your customers know that they have got a good deal.

Pro Tip: While paid comparisons may look an easy alternative, your customers are sure to identify it as fake. Paid reviews are still better, but it should be focused solely on product features and facts.

Interactive marketing: You interact with your current and potential customers on all your communication channels through real time engagements. This can be done through contests, polls, events, podcast among others.

Customer referrals and WOM: One of the most important, you can read about it here in my previous blog.

Pro Tip: Remember you are targeting retail consumers whose trust and taste is quite dynamic and hence you need to consistently churn your marketing plans as per the changing dynamics. Human touch is thili⁹e most important differentiator and make use of it to give that final nudge for purchase decisioning or query resolutions.

“Approach Each Customer With The Idea Of Helping Him Or Her To Solve A Problem Or Achieve A Goal, Not Of Selling A Product Or Service.” – Brian Tracy

B2B Marketing: B2C – Social + Referral + Networking

  • Influencers, Events and conferences become far more important than adwords, social media and Loyalty programs.
  • Product pricing becomes a major sales and marketing tool in B2B space. You need to maintain a balance between long term yields to short term benefits.
  • Certification and testing with customized product modification may lead to faster sales closure
  • B2B Sales & Marketing is 80% relationship management and ensure you have the best talent to manage that.

A Fintech must remember:

  • You are trying to provide a digital first solution to your clients
  • You target audience expect you to be tech savvy, suave, sophisticated and attractive
  • Your product / service should be explanatory, result oriented, tangible, & measurable
  • An excellent Customer experience / Digital CX is bare minimum expectation (Read my other blog on CX/DX here)
  • A great Marketing & Sales blitz to make it all possible

Sales and Marketing plays a key role in sustainability of your fintech & in ensuring higher profitability. You need to start early and work with marketers to have a defined strategy for it.

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