Market like a fintech: What is a “Fractional CMO”? with Andrea Linehan

Updated: Oct 11

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.

Market Like a Fintech: Episode 5 with Andrea of CurrencyFair

In this episode, Araminta is speaking with Andrea Linehan, CMO at CurrencyFair. Andrea worked for 10 years in the Middle East for the Omani government, and then worked as the CMO of a fintech startup called GRID Finance. At CurrencyFair, she’s been leading the build of their lead generation and sales enablement infrastructure, as well as establishing the international payments technology brand.

Andrea sits on the board of the Irish International Business Network, is an advisory board member of the CMO Council, and until 2020, she was an advisory council member of the Small Firms Association in Ireland, a position she held since 2016. Andrea is a regular speaker at conferences, summits and universities, and covers topics like fintech marketing, financial inclusion, social entrepreneurship and much more. Earlier this year, Andrea was also recognised as one of the top 30 most influential fintech marketers of 2021 on our annual honorary list.

What is CurrencyFair? It’s a global payment company specialising in FX for both consumers and businesses. They’re based in Dublin, Ireland and have raised a total of $24.5M throughout all their rounds. They recently acquired payments company Assembly in Australia, as they look to expand their suite of products.

What is a “Fractional CMO”? How can marketers learn to speak CEO and CFO’s language, and explain the value of brand? Listen to the show below to find out.

Podcast summary:

“[When] you have that finance background, you can kind of help explain and justify the investment, which is probably what a lot of marketers struggled with. Why are we spending so much money on that TV ad brand awareness? You have to have a view, [and be able to] explain that right in with numbers. And if you take brand awareness conversation and link it to brand value, brand equity, and what that means for the valuation of the company as a whole - link it to the reality of when a business is being valued. The brand piece is epically important. And investors of all levels of sophistication are going to be looking at that."

"The moment you steer that conversation to there, all of a sudden, all of those brand awareness TV commercials make complete sense….It is up to us as marketers to find those ways to present what we're doing that makes sense not just to the bottom line, but also the bigger picture of what the business is trying to achieve. And, brand valuation is an ISO-certified activity now. So, we have the statistics and the certification to back these things up. And we need to lean on those a lot more.”

“People tend to bring on a marketing person, as an advisor on the board or just an advisor in general. This is good, but you need somebody who's able to help the business follow through on execution, and help follow through on the day-to-day bits. Because strategy is easy. It's the execution that is the real challenging part. And I think this is really important."

"That's what a Fractional CMO can do. It can help the business set the strategy and follow up right through to execution, and the measurement and all of those things that the CEO and the rest of the leadership team needs to be able to see it. Because the reality is even the marketing team that might already be in place, they're only as good as the most senior person that they have in their marketing function. And, it's not feasible or fair to lean on the CEO or the other leadership team members to try and bring the training and the education of the marketing piece up because they don't have it themselves. So, if you really want to level up and bring that level of expertise into your business, you're gonna have to bring it in. And [a Fractional CMO] is just an affordable way to do that. “

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“We have a responsibility as marketers to help meet the CEO or CFO halfway, and try and speak their language. Now, it's not feasible for everybody to go out and do chartered management, accountant qualification. But, there are many free and accessible ways that we as marketers can use the language that CEOs and CFOs can really understand so that they can start attributing what marketing does to the fundamental investment side of the business and not just as an expense.”

“[On the value of marketing] If we have those discussions with CEOs and CFOs, and say: Well look, in order to make sure that there isn't major volatility around the revenue line, we don't want that because why it scares investors, it increases our risk profile, it increases our impacts our credit profile, which then as I see a good CFO, and obviously, a very basic level understand that that obviously means that in terms of debt negotiation, capital requirements, all of this gets impacted. All of a sudden, then the CEO and CFO are looking at revenue and marketing's direct influence over that from a different lens. And these are simple concepts that I think if marketers took the time to really understand puts us in a very powerful position.”