The top 7 most successful fintech marketing tactics (incl. real-life examples)

Updated: Apr 28

Fintech Marketing Strategies

What is fintech marketing?

Fintech marketing is a new marketing category that includes all tactics and tools used by fintech organisations to drive demand, customer loyalty and business growth.

"Fintech marketing is built on the same fundamentals that other industry-specific marketing is; it’s not about how you market a fintech, it’s about how and where your customer wants to be marketed to. What is true for traditional financial institutions is true for fintech; trust, credibility and reliability come first. Even the most ambitious early adopters will expect these attributes to be true before moving their money to or through a fintech. That’s why ‘transparency’ is more than just a marketing trend amongst fintechs. The banks will catch-up technologically, fintechs cannot continue to lead with that as their value proposition. What I love about the collective positioning of transparency amongst fintechs is that it will eventually become the industry norm. Traditional financial institutions will have no choice but to follow suit, because the market will demand it." Andrea Linehan, CMO at CurrencyFair

Fintech is one of the fastest-growing industries with a record-breaking $112 billion investments raised in 2018. According to CBI Insights, there’s currently more than 90 fintech “unicorns” or startups valued over $1 billion.

This makes the industry very attractive to newcomers. Industry watchers and analysts are expecting another wave of companies in the next few years as we continue to see early fintech startup employees move on to start their own businesses.

In addition to new fintech startups, many established finance players and incumbents have also started catching up with new technologies and are becoming part of the growing fintech ecosystem. The majority of them do this through either partnering with startups, creating their own accelerators or incubators, or digitally transforming and repositioning their existing models.

Hence, the fintech sector is becoming increasingly competitive. Along with the tough competition, fintech companies face numerous other specific challenges that can further affect the effectiveness and success of their marketing efforts. These are lack of trust and credibility, complexity, increasing regulation, low budgets and limited access to funding, data privacy risks and cybersecurity, changing consumer needs and behaviour.

Nonetheless, there are a few players who have managed to cut through the noise and

been leading the way by taking some rather unconventional, even daring approaches

to marketing.

In this article, we take a look at 7 of the most common and successful fintech marketing tactics and strategies:

1) Gamification

2) Referral, affiliate or influencer marketing

3) Experiential marketing

4) Partnership marketing

5) Community marketing

6) Branding

7) Content marketing

Strategy No. 1: Gamification

Gamification is simply the process of applying gameplay principles and game design elements in a non-game environment. So, how is that applied to marketing? There several ways to do that, but the most popular are to:

  • Hold contests and give prizes

  • Reward points for referrals and completed purchases/transactions, for example.

  • Create quizzes, puzzles and visual games to make ‘boring’ content more appealing and shareable

In fintech, gamification is mostly used in pre-launch campaigns to generate buzz, awareness and new users.

Monzo, for example, one of the most successful retail challenger banks in the UK, introduced a waiting list along with a referral scheme for the launch of their banking app. When users downloaded the app they were added to a waiting list, and the only way to move down the queue was to refer a friend to the product.

Waiting lists are found to be particularly effective as they tap into people’s competitive nature, thirst for exclusivity and curiosity.

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Strategy No. 2: Referral, affiliate or influencer marketing

Referral, affiliate, or influencer marketing all refer to the traditional marketing principle of establishing partnerships with third-party ‘marketers’ or ‘influencers’ and incentivising them to promote your products or services by offering them a commission for each conversion they generate. Affiliates can be professional marketers and media owners (i.e comparison sites) or industry bloggers and influencers.

In fintech, affiliate programmes are a common growth tactic usually used at launch as part of a go-to-market strategy and are one of the best ways to get quick and direct access to your target market and earn consumers' trust.

A great example here is the US fintech Coinbase that introduced an affiliate or referral programme to encourage users to promote their product to their networks.

Coinbase referral

So, for each referral that successfully converted to a client and initiated a buy or sell of minimum $100 USD in the first 180 days of opening an account, Coinbase was paying a $10 USD bonus/commission to both the referee and referrer. The hefty commission attracted many industry bloggers and influencers who started spreading the word and promoting Coinbase through their channels. At some point, after raising $75m in a major funding round, Coinbase even increased the referral commission from $10 to $75 for a limited period, which attracted even larger affiliate interest.

Strategy No. 3: Experiential marketing

That’s yet another marketing buzzword. Experiential or experience marketing is connecting or engaging with your target audience in a physical way, by providing them with some sort of a unique physical experience with your brand.

Experiential marketing is a very commonly used tactic in the consumer space, think of a popular ice cream brand creating a pop-up workshop where you can create your custom ice cream. But, we’ve also seen many services companies, in both tech and finance industries, who’ve successfully applied it to generate buzz and boost sales.

Zettle (formerly iZettle), for example, the leading Swedish fintech start-up, used it to launch their product to the UK market. So, as part of their UK launch strategy, they hosted a press briefing for local journalists and influencers that featured a physical pop-up market aiming to replicate the type of business environment where Zettle can be used.

The market brought together a number of small businesses which were trading at the event, accepting card payments through their smartphone or tablet and providing instant feedback about Zettle’s product to the media.

The pop-up concept attracted 70 journalists and stakeholders, ranging from the BBC to HM Treasury. The launch proved to be a real success generating more than 80 articles in local press and media including BBC News Online, The Financial Times, The Sun and ShortList, and increasing sales by 425%, with 17,000 products sold following the event.

In addition, Zettle’s website saw a massive surge in traffic in the week of the launch event, and its app was named as one of Apple’s App Store Best apps of 2012.

So, creating a physical pop-up experience can be a very effective, affordable tactic to engage with your target audience and bring life to your brand story by physically showcasing your product or service.

Strategy No. 4: Partnership marketing

Partnership marketing is the broader concept of collaboration marketing which includes various tactical sub-categories like the earlier mentioned affiliations as well as licensing, co-branding, sponsorships, product placements, joint ventures, content sharing, etc. And it’s all about collaborating with a third party, a business, or a brand, that is associated with a segment of a market you’re interested in selling to.

In fintech, partnership and joint-marketing tactics are often used by businesses at their pre-launch stage to test the market and validate product concepts.

The UK payments startup YoYo Wallet, for example, did a pilot project with Imperial College in London prior to introducing their product to the mass market to test their concept model and identify consumers’ key needs.

The US bitcoin leader Ripple, on the other hand, used partnership marketing techniques to reach and acquire new customers.

Very often new products can be integrated into an existing product or service and, therefore, marketed as an add-on. So, Ripple decided to focus their marketing efforts on approaching and collaborating with established finance and banking players as their settlement and cryptocurrency solutions provided a perfect complementary offering to existing banking and payment services

Thus, they managed to secure partnerships with some of the world’s biggest financial and technology organisations including the US finance giant American Express.

Strategy No. 5: Community marketing

Community marketing is probably one of the most popular strategic marketing tactics in fintech and tech, in general.