For decades, new financial services companies found it difficult to break into the industry. Well, the times they are a-changing. Fintech has shaken up the financial industry. Startups and innovative tech-first financial companies are finding ways to flank the old guard in a variety of ways. If you’re looking to learn more about how marketing for B2B Fintech organizations has evolved, you’re in the right place.
For entrepreneurial groups, it’s opened a door that’s been slammed shut for decades. For incumbents, it means investing in new ways of doing business and marketing differently.
Online banking used to be a differentiator. Now, it’s a baseline. Apps, AI, Big Data, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and contactless payment platforms are changing workflows. The pandemic changed habits for consumers, too. Banking and payment app usage increased by 26% globally. Sessions grew by 49%. Investment apps reported an 88% growth in sessions per day.
It’s led to increasing competition. Even in a down economy in 2020, more than 8,775 fintech startups began doing business in North America.
While businesses had to pivot in 2020, they’ll need to continue to practice agile strategies moving forward in the new normal.
Fintech Marketing Is Evolving
For the past few years, we’ve talked incessantly about customer experience (CX) and how CX is essential to growing and retaining B2B customers. While it’s not any less important, it’s also become a bottom-line expectation. Think of it like trying to get a job in business and the importance of a college degree. A degree doesn’t guarantee you a job but failing to earn one can prevent you from being considered.
Marketing for B2B fintech companies has typically put their technology front and center. However, it’s not the tech that people crave so much as it is how the tech enables them to make things easier or better. Fintech marketing needs to connect the dots for B2B customers.
It’s not what your app or solution can do. It’s what it can do for me and my company.
Legacy brands have built their reputation and business on relationships. If your company has been banking with someone for two decades, what incentive is there to change? Marketing for B2B fintech organizations needs to provide a jolt to catch a prospect’s attention and provide significant incentives to get decision-makers to even think about changing.
When you’re talking about company resources, trust is the first hurdle. Until they trust your brand and believe your brand promise, they won’t risk their money. Many fintech startups fail on this crucial step. They try to persuade people that they have a better solution before establishing the trust that underpins B2B financial decision-making.
Purpose-driven companies tend to perform better over the long-term. On average, they grow 3x faster than competitors and reported higher customer and employee satisfaction.
“Brands that lead with purpose and build around it can achieve continued loyalty, consistency, and relevance in the lives of consumers.” – Deloitte Insights
Especially in industries where consumers see little difference between product offerings, purpose can be a significant deciding factor. When companies align their business and their marketing with things consumers value, it makes a difference. Deloitte cites three findings from consumer studies that move the needle.
- How brands treat people (including their employees)
- How they treat the environment
- How they support communities/stakeholders
While your B2B marketing for financial services is aimed at businesses, never forget that you’re marketing to real people that make these financial decisions for their business.
None of this will register with consumers without authenticity. The worst thing you can do is to create a purpose within marketing that isn’t reflected in reality. The landscape is littered with companies that gave lip service to causes but came off as not being genuine.
If you’re going to proclaim a purpose, you’d better live it.
People today can spot when something’s not authentic and they’re not afraid to call companies on it. With social media, a small misstep can become a big problem.
Inbound Marketing Strategies for Fintech Companies
Each of the above strategies needs to form the foundation for your strategy for inbound marketing for B2B fintech. Your brand purpose, humanity, and authenticity should resonate throughout your content. Talk less about how great you, your fintech, or your app is and focus instead on how it makes a prospect’s life easier, more financially secure, or makes a difference for their company.
Managing the Customer Journey
Another mistake that companies make is to create universal marketing. They design a sales piece or piece of content that tries to appeal to everyone. Yet, potential customers seeing your inbound marketing are at different stages of their customer journey.
In B2C marketing, a first-time homebuyer will have different questions than a seasoned buyer applying for a jumbo loan. Someone interested in fractional share investing has a different mindset than a sophisticated investor. It’s the same thing in B2B marketing for financial services. A business that sells to a small business owner looking for their first loan will look for different information than a Fortune 500 company looking to fund yet another acquisition.
By failing to create inbound marketing that speaks to customers where they are in the customer journey, you risk alienating them.
Prospects follow a predictable path as they journey through the buying funnel. Your inbound marketing strategy should nurture them at each stage.
Stage 1: Awareness
The customer begins at the Awareness stage at the top of the customer journey. Fintech marketing strategies must first build awareness of your brand and establish trust. Trust is crucial to give potential customers the confidence they need to do business with you.
In the awareness phase, your inbound marketing should focus on pain points and why prospects are considering options.
Stage 2: Engagement
In the Engagement phase, your job is to educate consumers and demonstrate the value of your products and services. Here, you want to begin talking about your services and how they can solve customer concerns.
Stage 3: Evaluation
By the time prospects reach the Evaluation stage, consumers have already formed an opinion of your organization. They begin to research you and your competitors. At this stage, it’s important to show potential customers why they should do business with you rather than a competitor.
Stage 4: Conversion
As prospects move into the Conversion phase, they become customers. Inbound marketing should reinforce their purchase decision.
Managing the Customer Lifecycle
One big advantage financial companies have over many other industries is that they can attract long-term customers with plenty of opportunities to upsell or handle evolving financial needs. While your external marketing efforts may focus on attracting new customers, don’t overlook how inbound marketing can help reach customers as they mature.
A teaser interest rate or cash-back offer may get them to sign up but the big upside is in the lifetime customer value. Create content that addresses the customer lifecycle. As they grow, you can, too.
Stage 5: Post-Conversion
People need different financial solutions as they mature. Inbound marketing can nurture customers throughout the lifecycle.
Content Creation and Distribution
We’ve talked so far about the importance of framing marketing for B2B fintech across the customer journey and lifecycle as well as how B2B marketing for financial services is evolving. Now, it’s time to talk about specific strategies to deliver the right message.
Content marketing continues to be one of the biggest weapons in your quiver. B2B buyers now tune out anything that smacks of advertising. They want to do their research before engaging with you.
As in-person meetings and events decreased during 2020, here’s where B2B marketers are spending their time and money these days.
Content Types B2B Marketers Use
Ranked by Usage
- Blog Posts/Short Articles
- Email Newsletters
- Case Studies
- Virtual Events/Webinars
- Infographics & Photos
- White Papers
- Long-Form Content
- Live streaming Video
- Research Reports
B2B marketers that saw the most success attributed it to two critical factors:
- Providing value to prospects and customers
- Providing fresh content to their website
Everything flowed from there. Fresh content helped with SEO and web traffic. Content with value helped build trust.
Another mistake that fintech companies make is thinking that their job ends when they create great content. In fact, the job is just beginning. It doesn’t do any good to invest in creating valuable content if you’re not going to get it in front of B2B buyers.
Organic Distribution Channels B2B Marketers Use
Ranked by Usage
- Social Media
- Virtual Events
- Guest Posts in Third-Party Publications
- Guest on Podcasts or Videos
- Media/Influencer Relations
When it comes to content distribution, a mix of organic and paid marketing is important to reach the right audience. For social, LinkedIn is the preferred channel for B2B sellers.
Marketing for B2B Fintech
There are so many choices for B2B buyers these days. They’re inundated with offers from companies they’ve never heard of and every one of them says they’ve got the solution to their problem. Don’t think your product or service is so special or unique that it will sell itself or that prospects will see the difference.
Create content that provides clear value and drive prospects through the customer journey. Capture their business and nurture them through the entire customer lifecycle. That’s where the real benefit is.