Updated: Nov 18, 2020
What’s it like to be a fintech marketer? In our “Career walk” series, we’re revealing the career stories of some of the most inspiring and successful marketers in the sector. Subscribe to the Fintech Marketing Monthly Digest here so you don’t miss any of our future stories.
Mimmi Arndt is probably one of the few experienced fintech marketers out there who has actually started her career at a fintech. Inspired and fascinated by iZettle’s simple card payment solution and its application in her mom’s small business, Mimmi applied for an internship at iZettle, which later turned into a full-time position. “I was actually planning to head back to school for my master’s degree, but declined that and continued with a full-time position at iZettle. This is one of my best decisions ever made and I’m forever grateful for the iZettle experience and journey.” Mimmi said.
Currently, Mimmi is a Head of Marketing at Anyfin, where she’s part of the management team and responsible for managing the company’s entire marketing function including PR, Design, Brand and Growth Marketing. Founded in 2018 by Mikael Hussain (CEO), Sven Perkmann (CTO) and Filip Polhem (COO), Anyfin is one of Sweden’s fastest-growing fintech startups, with nearly $45m in total funding to date. By enabling customers to refinance their existing loans, Anyfin is on a mission to improve the overall financial well-being of Europeans and “put them back in control of their finances”.
Last month, Anyfin released its new marketing campaign, “The Budget Bootcamp”. Initially rolled out to the Swedish market, the campaign is developed in collaboration with the professional psychologist Björn Hedensjö and presents a 28-day challenge programme offering 28 unique money-saving hacks that aim to help Swedes get into strong financial shape. According to Mimmi, the Budget Bootcamp is one of Anyfin’s most successful campaigns so far. “The campaign has been far more successful than we could ever imagine.”
Before joining Anyfin, Mimmi also spent 3 years at the leading Swedish creative agency Åkestam Holst, where she was running campaigns for key clients like IKEA and SAS. Moving to the other side of the fence has been instrumental for Mimmi’s further career development in fintech. It allowed her to really understand how branding works and master her long-term brand-building skills.
“Fintech players often prioritise speed but when a company reaches a certain size, you need to start thinking before you just go ahead and execute. Without a long-term plan in place that connects your product roadmap with your marketing activities, it will be hard to continue growing. Sometimes you need to take a step back and understand what problem you are trying to solve, not only today but also in the future.”
So, how can fintechs keep the balance between short-term performance marketing and long-term brand building strategies? Why do fintechs need to look for inspiration and ideas beyond the industry and their own categories? To learn the answers to these questions and take a glimpse into Mimmi’s favourite fintech campaigns, biggest failures and successes and her prediction for the industry next year, read her complete story below.
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Tell us about your career start? How did you end up doing marketing for a fintech?
Growing up with two entrepreneur parents, it became very clear to me how important it is to have your marketing in place. You can have the best or coolest idea, but with no one knowing about it, you won’t go far. Back in the days, my mother was struggling with card payments as all available solutions were both expensive and not adapted for small business owners. iZettle was a key tool for her in those early days, and looking at her struggle and how easily iZettle solved a lot of her problems, I applied for an internship at iZettle in 2013. I was actually planning to head back to school for my master’s degree, but eventually decided not to do it and continued with a full-time position at iZettle instead. This is one of my best decisions ever made and I’m forever grateful for the iZettle experience and journey.
What’s unique about marketing a fintech?
Definitely working with products that historically are known for being boring and complicated. The whole fintech space has been disrupting traditional financial services - developing products that are all of a sudden easy to use and understand. However, it is obvious that the old perceptions about financial services are still there; low trust, loyalty and engagement - so only adding technology to the mix won’t do the trick. Here marketing plays a crucial role - everything you do needs to add some sort of value - show how you are different. I believe that this is a fairly unique challenge for the fintech space.
What is actually “fintech marketing”? Can you define the term in a few words?
I would say that fintech marketing generally tends to be very tactical and believe that the fintech industry would gain a lot from daring to talk more about why we exist and sometimes less about what the products do. Going forward, I believe people will tap less into functional aspects of a brand's proposition, and rather look at its long-term visions and values. This is also an important competitive advantage - which is hard for your competitors to replicate. They can develop the same products and functionalities but can't copy the feelings a group has towards a brand. Probably no company in the world can steal the community that Apple has built during the last 20 years.
What’s the biggest challenge for fintech marketers nowadays?
Combining data with creativity - and finding the right balance between sales-activation and long-term brand-building. A lot of the fintech players prioritise short-term sales heavily, but we need to keep in mind that once brands reach a certain size, continued growth means reaching far beyond the lowest hanging fruits. This means converting people that are loyal to competitors or bringing different people into the market, tasks that usually can’t be done with sales-activation. To continue growing you need wider reach, richer creatives and media that holds attention - brand-building. Geofferey Moore talks about this in his book Crossing the Chasm and I think that is some real food for thought - especially when marketing fintech products.
In between iZettle and Anyfin, you spent 3 years on the other side of the fence – at a creative agency running campaigns for clients like IKEA and SAS. How is your agency experience helping you in your current fintech marketing role?
To understand and effectively apply long-term strategies and brand-building. Fintech players often prioritise speed, but when a company reaches a certain size, you need to start thinking before you just go ahead and execute. Without a long-term plan in place that connects your product roadmap with your marketing activities, it will be hard to continue growing. Sometimes you need to take a step back and understand what problem you are trying to solve, not only today but also in the future. All your marketing activities should then reflect on this long-term plan and strategy - which of course, needs to contain clear goals that you track your activities against.
Your background is in digital and performance marketing. Now, as a Head of Marketing, how do you manage to keep the balance between short-term performance tactics and long-term brand building marketing strategies?
This is without a doubt the toughest one. I think that one important thing is to set a frame - and agree that you should always stick to that frame - because in this way you can make sure you are always on-brand. That being said, I don’t believe that it has to be so black and white. Performance done right can still drive brand and vice versa. It is all about finding what works for your brand and products. But I’m absolutely sure that there is a sweet spot where this can be done. Once you have found it, it becomes less important how much you spend on each channel. All channels can’t do everything but most of them can do something - it is just to do your audit and understand what is done best and where.
What has had the biggest impact on your career as a fintech marketer so far?
One key learning was when I was working with taxi drivers in the UK. Uber had just launched and the “traditional” drivers were struggling. Similarly, At iZettle we spent a lot of time in London at coffee shops trying to understand how we can serve them best. We were really trying to dig into their daily challenges and headaches with the goal to cater to a product that would solve them. Once we understood them, we could create a great product that fitted their needs and run marketing activities that made sense. From that moment, I really understood the importance of knowing who your target group of key drivers are - otherwise, you don’t know where to start and what job your communication should do.
What has changed about marketing in the fintech industry from your early days at iZettle and your current role at Anyfin?
Well first of all, now fintech is actually a thing. Back then, I don’t think I realised how big this category would become. During the later years, it has been clear that a trend within fintech is to be a challenger. There is always a clear enemy, it could be cash, banks or traditions. Many players point fingers in some direction. I would actually like to see less of this going forward and rather see more fintech companies creating engaging marketing inspired by other categories and trends. It is very easy to get stuck in your own category and only focus on what your competitors are doing - but the truth is that people don't think in categories. Your marketing activities and content compete with all the entertainment your target group consumes. In other words, it needs to be bloody good if someone should care and engage with your brand.
What’s your favourite fintech marketing campaign?
I think the campaign we did for iZettle back in the days was really good, called "15 Seconds of Fame". We gave away TV time to small business owners. This did not only build a stronger community but also helped us talk about our products in a very authentic way.
I also really like our new initiative from Anyfin, "the Budget Bootcamp". Our vision is to improve the financial health of millions of hard-working people and to do this, we launched a challenge wallet programme. A famous Swedish psychologist has created a 28-day programme to get Swedes in financial shape. The campaign has been far more successful than we could ever imagine. This also proves that we need to talk more about finances and financial health!
I’m very impressed with the app Cleo (meetcleo.com), which feels like a kick-ass product that has great tonality and brand in place. The same goes for Credit Karma and their communication on Instagram. Another campaign that I believe is so simple and on-point is Habito's "Hell or Habito". It certainly shows how easy you can talk about something that is very complicated in a fun, distinct and weird way.
What do you consider to be the biggest achievement in your fintech marketing career so far? What about a failure?
I think it is super hard to just pick one achievement and believe that it is the summary of all my experiences (good and bad) that has helped me to get to the position where I'm today. If I would choose one, it would be building the Anyfin marketing team. Being Head of Marketing is surely not a simple position and for that reason, you need a really strong team around that complements you on your strengths and weaknesses. In times where marketing has become a lot more complicated, you cannot expect one single person to know it all - but you can build a kick-ass team and then everything is possible. This is something I believe that we have done right at Anyfin.
Generally, I believe a lot in failures because that's how you learn the most. I have failed so many times with everything from campaigns to PR activities. Today, I’m not afraid of failing and really think it is important that we talk a lot about it. At iZettle, we even had a fuck-up scene where we shared things that did not go well. The biggest failure for me today is when I take on too many things and end up not being able to execute any of them. Good ideas will always just be good ideas and therefore execution is everything. Having loads to do sometimes puts you in a position where you have to take a step back to see clearly, and then set a plan for how to get going. My mother always says; one thing at a time and the most important thing first, and this is something I try to stick to.
What advice would you give to anyone considering starting a career in fintech marketing?
Just do it, get in there and find people that are great at what they do. One important mantra for me has always been to try to find inspiring leaders and then learn as much as possible from them. And don’t just get hooked on the idea of being a part of any fintech company. Do your due diligence and find a company, a product, a culture and people that you think matches well with your own personal beliefs and values. That is when you will grow and succeed the most.
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