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Monzo: Turn customers into brand advocates

Have you ever wondered what makes a successful fintech marketing strategy? In our "How they did it" series, we look at how some of the most successful and exciting fintechs in the world have approached marketing in their early days. Here's the go-to-market story of one of the UK’s top challenger banks, Monzo.

Monzo Golden Ticket
Image source: Monzo
Monzo introduced a referral scheme and waiting list for their launch to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

Get the buzz going around your existing network

With significant experience in the UK tech start-up economy and a well-established network, Monzo’s founder Tom Bloomfield and his partners were well-positioned to get the buzz going around the community, even before their product was actually finalised.

So, they started off with simply distributing pre-paid debit cards to a number of influencers and tech enthusiasts, which combined with the strength of their product secured them their

first word-of-mouth referrals.

Use referrals and word of mouth as a way to build a community

To add extra fuel to their word-of-mouth launch strategy, Monzo’s team also introduced a referral scheme a long with a waiting list. 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.

Also known as gamification, this launch trick has been very popular among start-ups, especially in the tech world. Waiting lists are found to be particularly effective as they tap into people’s competitive nature, thirst for exclusivity and curiosity.

“You need to take customers away from being ‘standard customers’ to being advocates who are feeling like they’re part of it” - Tristan Thomas

Involve customers to build trust and loyal, long-lasting relationships

The key to Monzo’s success is undoubtedly their customer-centric business model. According to Tristan Thomas, Monzo’s head of marketing and community, the company’s ultimate goal is “broadly to get to a stage where customers are referring their friends because they love the product and feel like they’re a part of the mission — you need to take customers away from being ‘standard customers’ to being advocates who are feeling like they’re part of it”.

And to achieve this, Monzo are putting their customers at the heart of every strategy they run. For example, when they had to look for a new name after the trademark “Mondo” was challenged by another company, they contacted their 100,000 subscribers and put the word out on social media and press. In 48 hours, their campaign landing page hit 12,000 submissions.

They also often ask their customers to provide feedback on new product launches and fees, allow them to invest in the company through equity crowdfunding rounds and regularly organise community events at their offices or customer-suggested venues. The core idea behind their customer-centric model is that customers would be more loyal and willing to refer others if they have a personal relationship with the company and some sort of stake in it.

In result, 80% of Monzo’s customer acquisitions are generated through their referral programme, with the rest 20% being attributed to a limited amount of paid media on Facebook and Twitter.

Monzo is one of the UK’s top challenger banks, which has acquired more than 4mn customers to date and raised a total of £384.7mn in equity funding over 16 rounds. Launched in 2015, it was originally introduced as a pre-paid debit card (named Mondo). The company received its full banking license in April 2017. Similar to other neo-banks, Monzo provides a digital only, no-fee banking service, with customer-centric, personal approach.


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