Market like a fintech: Marketing to Developers: Where do you start?
Updated: Apr 22
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 today’s episode, Araminta’s chatting with Vidya Peters, CMO at Marqeta. Before Marqeta, Vidya served as the CMO of MuleSoft, an enterprise software company focused on APIs and integrations. She helped take MuleSoft public on NYSE in 2017 that got acquired by Salesforce in 2018 for $6.5B. She was also recently nominated as number one on the list of top 25 women in financial technology, and included in our “Top 30 Most Influential Fintech Marketers of 2021” annual list.
Marqeta is a card issuing platform designed for companies that want a simplified and flexible payment program. Marqeta won the “2019 Best Fintech Startup” award by FinTech Breakthrough and the "Best Enterprise Technology Company" at the 2019 LendIt Fintech Industry Awards. Marqeta was valued in 2020 at a $4.3 billion valuation and has well known clients such as Square, Uber, Instacart and Affirm.
How to market a company to developers, why focus on product marketing and how Marqeta manages marketing to both high growth startups such as Uber and more established brands such as JP Morgan Chase. To find out, listen to the show and check out the summary notes below.
What’s different between marketing a private and a public company?
I think the level of risk that you can take is much higher when you're a private company, you can take a lot of chances, you can tell daring stories, you can put the bold claims out there about your company, about your platform, without having the legal team having to scrutinise every data point within the analysis that went behind that. You can take more chances with telling customer stories. And when you go public, just the level of scrutiny on your marketing is significantly more substantial. Everything needs to be approved, pre-approved, at multiple levels with multiple stakeholders. And so, it slows down the marketing process. And it takes a little bit more caution before you can put something out there on the main stage. That said, the platform is so much bigger. And so, you're very instantly rewarded with a much larger audience that is not only paying attention to you at your debut but then again on a quarterly basis every time you're telling your story to the street.
I read an interesting quote by your CEO, Jason Gardner saying that you have like a special ability to craft like compelling narratives about complex enterprise platform products like mule soft and now, Marketa. So, what kind of experience helped you build that specific skill set?
I think I've always had a love for technology because it has just changed lives in such a dramatic way. It's changed the pace of innovation for companies. But I think what has fascinated me, even more, is bringing that complexity to a broader audience. And from the beginning of time, human beings have loved stories. It's how we listen. It's how we absorb information. It's how we engage and are compelled to make a change. And so that's the part that I've loved is distilling that complexity into easy-to-understand stories that then inspire someone or compel someone to make a change.
And would you say that there's a big difference between B2B and B2C? Because obviously, that's true. But one could argue that for B2B sometimes it's a little bit more complicated. So, how do you shift that narrative from B2B and maybe B2C?
For example, I think at the heart of it, it comes down to storytelling…How do you build a story that's about something that is in the backend infrastructure that you can even fathom or engage with. And I think that's what makes it more of a novel concept in B2B. But I think that's where the art lies - how do you tie this complex technology API's, the reinvention of financial technology, the modernization of infrastructure, into something that you and I can understand, and that we could explain to our parents, and they would be able to grok it. Because you were able to draw a connection between what's so deep in the back end or in the cloud, to how their lives are changed every day, because of it. I think that's very important.
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But where do you draw the line between being oversimplified and using the right words?
I think that is a really important question because, in B2B, your audience is very fragmented. As an example, Marqeta sells to the C-suite on the business value proposition. But we have to win the hearts of developers because developers are who build on our platform. And, you know, developers really resonate with the beauty of technology, the simplicity of APIs, with SDKs, the documentation, they just want to know how things work. And they mostly want you to get out of the way. And by you, I mean, marketing. And so how do you ensure that you are telling a compelling story to the C-suite? How do you ensure that consumers, You and I are families, people who may want to work at the company, people who may want to invest at the company understand what the company does? Yet, you don't lose the credibility and trust of the people that will use your platform and live and breathe on it every day.
Generally, people put a lot of burden on a website on the web page or the homepage, and it is a super important part, it is the face of your company. But I think your marketing and your messaging have the benefit of multi channels, it has the benefit of a variety of different assets, whether that is white papers, or customer stories, or videos, or webinars. And you have to take advantage of all of those to reach these broad segments.
The way we approach it at Marqeta, is we ensure that everything that we believe the developers will engage with, such as the developer sections of our platform, or documentation and say the community, we ensure that we mostly get out of the way you shouldn't see anything in there, that looks like marketing, because we want our developers to just get into the technology, and know-how things work and be able to hear from other developers. And where we ensure that we're using our storytelling is, for example, in the press, where you have the broadest audience. And that's when it's everything from investors to candidates to the C-suite, that you want to ensure that they are able to grok what your platform does add a very compelling and simple level, but without too much time or effort. And so, ensuring that you're using these multiple channels in a thoughtful way is what's important, and having that come together in a complete picture.
We always ask the question of where does this content lines the funnel? Is it all the way at the top of the funnel? Is that at the press level? That? Absolutely. That's where you use storytelling? Is it more in midway through the funnel, where you're perhaps publishing a white paper or webinar, then you start to get more technical, it's more about the platform telling me how this works? Tell me the use cases, tell me what other problems that this will exactly solve at a technology level. And then when it actually comes to the absolute bottom of the funnel. And when the developers are rolling up their sleeves, then you really allow the technology to speak for itself and making that as dropped it easy for developers as possible.
It's more of a nuanced approach. But I think in marketing, we really have the benefit of the variety of channels and the variety of assets to bring together to tell a more complete picture and the story of the company.
So how do you market to developers?
I honestly believe that developers don't want to hear from you or the company, they want to hear from each other. They don't want to hear what you have to say about the platform, they want to see it and use it. And they don't want to talk to you or meet with you, they want to meet with each other. And so, the best thing that you can do when you are trying to help and support developers, again, the choice my words, there's meaningful, it's not to market to, but to really help and support developers is to mostly get out of the way. And give them the tools and resources so that they can do what they love, which is throwing themselves into the platform, connecting with each other. And speaking with other developers. And mostly what you're doing then is creating the fertile ground and the resources for them to be able to do that.
It's really about the audience and who you're talking to, and what's top of mind for them. And so, I would almost start with those basics. And at the most fundamental level, you have to remember that human beings in many ways have been marketing…you've been doing it since a kid, I have two kids, I see them marketing to me all day, they're always telling me or convincing me of why I should do something.
You started working for Marqeta in 2019, and you're in charge of PR, demand Gen and a whole lot of other marketing strategies. Which marketing has offered the most traction or which one has been most successful for you at Marqeta?
I think that's a really difficult question because it's a little bit of asking whether you prefer your left to your right hand, and some people may be right-handed, but you need both hands, to effectively do a lot of the work that you do. So the beauty of marketing is that they're almost pillars of a house, and they work in concert together. Your demand Gen will never be effective unless you're bringing in the right top-of-the-funnel awareness. Your product marketing will fall flat unless you've brought in the right demand through the funnel. One has a critical dependence on the other. It's really challenging to say one is more important than the other.
That said, I will say that in B2B fintech, I would give a lot of prominence to the role that product marketing plays in concert with demand Gen. The reason is that you have to spend a lot of time educating the audience on the capabilities of the platform and the problems you solve. Because financial technology is so quickly evolving. A lot of the technologies are disrupting a very agile space, which has been steeped with legacy solutions for a long time. Very often, the adopters of fintech tend to not be payments experts. So this tends to be a Greenfield area for them.
If I were to pick, I would say that product marketing plays a very important role in the education of the audience, regarding the platform, the technology, the problem it solves, and why it solves it better than any legacy solution.
How does Marqeta manage marketing to both startups and incumbents? And different markets? Listen to Vidya’s complete story below.