Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Hosted by Araminta Robertson, 'Market like a fintech' is the new podcast for fintech marketing professionals and enthusiasts who want to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry, and level up their marketing knowledge. Subscribe here to never miss an episode.
In this episode, Araminta talks to Jasper Martens, Chief Marketing Officer at PensionBee. Jasper has a background in digital marketing and used to manage his own marketing agency in Amsterdam. He loves making boring products interesting and has won several awards for his campaigns. He calls himself a tech-savvy marketer. Jasper is also an avid fintech spokesperson and he was recognised as one of the top 30 most influential fintech marketers in our 2021 honorary list.
PensionBee is a pension provider that combines your old and new pension plans into one. It takes 5 minutes to start, and users can combine, contribute and withdraw at any time online. They have some pretty astounding customers: over 470,000 customers, a 97% retention rate and are managing close to £1bn in pension money. They were recently valued at £365M at their recent IPO in April.
What’s it like to be one of the UK’s most loved brands, how important is branding for fintechs, and how they can use Instagram to generate leads and new customers? Listen to the show below to find out.
"SEO, when I started working in digital marketing, was often seen as a higher up-the-funnel activity. Actually, for us now it's much more mid-funnel or even lower-funnel activity where people genuinely will not search for this particular content, just to check us out before they sign up."
"I think there are two reasons why I think search marketing plays a vital role. So first of all, you've got a trust issue, when it comes to financial services. There's generally distrust and also to be honest will you trust your life savings with a startup, I wouldn't. So why would you? So, I guess people still do research on the topic online but also check our company. I think that's what search marketing is all about. And hopefully, you can build trust. It's not just about searching for combined pensions, but also searching for PensionBee as a brand and see reviews on other sites, not just on ours."
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"What we're seeing is when people actually have taken that control over their retirement and combine those pension pots together, they get hungry for more. What will happen is people will start searching for more things, how much do I need to contribute for retirement? Can I contribute from a limited company? So search might evolve from “Should I combine” to more detailed topics."
"With regards to PensionBee and search marketing, if you would go to our website today and you will visit our blog or our pensions explained center, you will find a whole wealth of content and that will have started from initially "Should I combine", actually now more and more, we go into the nitty-gritty of things and harness the appetite for search. So, I wouldn't necessarily say it will disappear. If people get more educated, they will search for other things. I think you’d still use Google as much as you did a year ago. You just use it for different reasons."
"We knew from our customers that they always felt a sense of relief when they have finally taken control over their pensions, that sense of relief, that has made people pension confidence. And that has been at the heart of our advertising and the way we reach out to customers. It's a good thing, it's not a bad thing, it's something to take control of it makes you, you know, you finally on top of it, you know how much you have saved, often you will realise, oh gosh, I haven't saved enough. But then we can tell you how much you have to be saving in order to get back on track. And people say it's a lost cause. Actually, if we are getting to you on time, it's never too late, but certainly, in most cases, it’s not too late to fix it. And I think that sense of relief, that positivity, that for me it has always been at the heart of building a brand like PensionBee. And that has led us to grow. I would say I think that's one of the key reasons why we've grown so much."
"Lots of brands which I see they will get stuck in the digital marketing channel mix. And they just simply will start pumping more money into it. I sometimes refer to it as drug addiction, you just inject more cash from your phone from your investment rounds, and then you know, we get a return on investment, right? Well, there is a tilting point where I would argue that you ought to be looking at non-digital channels, more brand-led channels, which we've done as well. And then again, you can apply the same principle, like when we started TV in January 2019, we started with £30,000 a month. That is not a lot of money. But because we were able to measure the first five minutes after we've had TV ads, we could see which TV channel works well, what creative works well, what time of the day works well. So you could apply the same principle there."
"I would advise any company in a similar market or position like we are, start with digital start small scale up quickly when you see results, but have the balls then to go above the line and apply the same principle to other channels. Even if the behaviour of those channels is different, apply the same principles. And what you will find is you get direct acquisition from those channels straightaway, which is great news. But you also will see a dampening effect on your acquisition cost across all of your channels, not just your digital channels. So we have seen that line is coming down, the more money we pump it to branch channels, the acquisition cost per customer comes down."
"Our beekeepers who are your personal dedicated Customer Success managers, they speak with customers either through phone or live chat or email, they will have discussions on a particular keyword or topic. And that's collated every week. And then on Monday, we get a temperature check, which is basically a check in terms of how we're doing and then monthly we got more of a pulse. We see what's happening actually what are the conversations our customers have with us, not just with the customer insider manager in the voice of the customer team but actually across the whole business. That drives mostly the product roadmap. "
"We also use our own customers in our advertising. And I think it's really important, again, like and they will tell and be bluntly honest, in what works really well for them and what doesn't work for them. And it's quite unusual forecasted for people to advertise financial brands, speak on behalf of financial brands…"
"Stick to your audience understand what they want, build a product proposition, the market is so big, get a slice of the pie, get a slice of the action and you will be huge. You don't need the whole pie. I think it's actually a bit selfish. So just be really careful in terms of who you're doing it for, understand their needs, and then you will have that fine balance between what you want to tell them and how much you want to tell them and also what you want to tell them."
"When you have a TV ad, let's say, at three o'clock on Channel Four, anybody who visits your website, or download the app between three o'clock and five minutes past free, that is coming in and out in this five-minute time window, you can see them whether these are people signing up, or whether it's just a cookie, or a visit that you can track, you deduct every marketing campaign that has a UTM tracking code. So, all the tracked stuff, all the partner stuff, you deduct everything you're left with, I would say direct natural search traffic. And we've got a six-month average. We know what the six months averages are. And then there's this little, little bit in five minutes. It's very noticeable, those peaks. So yes, can I know exactly who everybody is in that five minutes?"
"I would say Facebook and Instagram were our biggest channels for a long time when we started PensionBee. They're certainly not our biggest channels anymore. So that's definitely changed with the, I would say, more brand-related channels. What's interesting about why this worked really well for us...well, and especially I don't think a lot of people still know, but I think especially a couple of years ago, it was really, really unknown, that you could actually consolidate your pensions very easily. So a lot of people would say, including me when I was hired at PensionBee. I said to the co-founders, I didn't know you could actually do this and my customers didn't. So, Instagram and Facebook ads helped educate people at the right time."
"Every month we calibrate our channel mix. And I think that's how you should be ought to be spending your money as soon as you can. A lot of people think that's very costly. I can only honestly tell you; it actually will save you a lot of money. Because when nobody was on TV, like retire, listen, travel agents’ words on TV advertising because they were closed. So, I jumped into that and got some good, good discounts with networks to fill those gaps. I guess people think it's expensive actually can be quite cheap."
How has PensionBee navigated marketing and customer retention during the pandemic? Listen to Jasper’s complete story below.