For the past eight years, I’ve had the opportunity to advise FinTech start-ups about packaging their products and solutions in order to sell to financial institutions. One of the key lessons I learned early on is that a company can produce an exceptional product or piece of technology, but if no knows it exists, failure is imminent. Companies that focus exclusively on their product, without seeing the need to increase revenues due to attracting “buzz” and sales, will not have sustainability.
I follow a few basic steps in when partnering with a FinTech to take the company from start-up to maturity. Although, it may appear obvious, an initial step is to ensure the company’s website promotes their products, services and strategy. I had a client with multiple web sites to describe their various products and services but it was difficult for a potential customer to identify both the value proposition and the explanation of their products. The multiple sites lacked focus and clarity. Therefore, we spent time to re-write the content and worked with industry analysts to validate the content. Unfortunately, some FinTech start-ups fail to see the importance a web site can play to market the company.
A second step was to publicize some key accomplishments by contracting an agency to write a press release. One client had saved over $140 million over a five year period by migrating to a new platform. This was newsworthy and a press release was completed and distributed to the media outlets. Since then, I have worked with clients to produce press releases and participated in their distribution to industry contacts and the media. The press release serves multiple purposes, namely to identify the FinTech as a player in the space, the other is to inform potential customers of both the opportunities and synergies.
The web site and press releases is only the foundation in the execution of a marketing strategy. However for the start-up this information along with a company presentation is the foundation. This is not enough to get the recognition required to get the attention of the prospects Building the bridge between FinTech and financial institutions is a role that I have played carefully and strategically since inception of The Walker Group.
So the FinTech is ready to get noticed? What are the industry trade shows? For my clients, they participate and attend the bank conferences, ranging from the NACHA Payment Conference, BAI, Money2020, AFP etc. Arranging meetings for introductions is an important step for companies to get to know the FinTech. This can be accomplished by sending emails to specific attendees and arrange times to meet up. This requires good contacts, persistence and consistency. Communicating the value proposition should be part of the content when setting up meetings.
I suggest the following components to be included in the marketing plan:
Blogging—LinkedIn or a company blog site provides an opportunity to generate relevant content about the FinTech. Topics should lean more towards the product and not self promote. Perhaps providing value information or data could be included in the company blog.
Webinars—I have worked with clients to produce content used on webinars with good results. The first few webinars had only a handful of people. However subsequent webinars had double digits all target to potential prospects. This was a good example in being consistent. What does not work out initially could over time.
Thought Leadership—Is the management team recognized in the industry? Do they speak at conferences or start-up meetings? Have they published a white paper? What companies are following the blogs and what information can be shared with this audience? Here is an opportunity to get noticed and viewed as an industry stakeholder.
Of course some companies feel a huge budget is needed and in many cases funds are needed to maintain cash flow. However, many steps identified can be done in house requiring determination, focus and consistency. However, marketing should not be overlooked but remains a significant component in meeting the FinTech sales goals and targets.
Wayne Brown, the managing partner of The Walker Group, and has several decades of experience in financial services. Before starting The Walker Group, he held product management roles at Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Fidelity Information Services. As managing partner of The Walker Group, Wayne works with FinTech companies to expand both their product and client reach through his extensive senior financial executive network. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org