FinTech Companies Struggle For the Right Message To Market

Published on LinkedIn February 11, 2017

FinTech_map

FinTech is tough – seems everybody wants a share of technology-enabled financial services. In the Atlanta metro-area alone, a 2016 report by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) identified more than 100 established firms, with more start-ups joining this space every year. Here’s a snapshot of Georgia “FinTech Corridor” (a.k.a. Atlanta’s “Transaction Alley”) from the report. That’s a deep pool of marketing dollars, but also a muddy one.

In such a crowded environment, differentiation is more critical than ever. These 100 companies – and more than 1300 worldwide – are competing to capture the same markets using three-pronged marketing strategies: Business-to-Corporation (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Partner (B2P). While the messages to each market and segment within may be quite different, the difference between the many FinTech providers may not be clear to targets. Messages get muddied and mixed.

So what approach should FinTech’s take? It depends, of course. In the B2B space FinTechs may be marketing to businesses ranging in size from giant global corporations down to small neighborhood merchants. So marketing messages might range from “Optimize Regulatory Compliance” to “Simplify Your Business.”

To the point, here’s just a few of FinTech payment players concurrently trying to capture SMB Merchants with the “Simplicity” message:

  • Square – Originator of the simple “one fee-fits-all” message
  • Amazon – “Online transactions made simple and secure”
  • Intuit – “Payment processing the way it should be – fast and easy”
  • Sage – “Simple Payment Processing”
  • Revopay.com – Simple, Secure Online Payment Processing
  • Paysimple.com and Simplepay.com – ‘nuff said

Clearly, deep due diligence is required to:

  • Understand the many market variables
  • Identify key markets/personas
  • Select channels that can reach them
  • Craft messages/value propositions that will resonate
  • Deliver the right message at the right time to the right person

In such a competitive and growing space, FinTech providers have a tough time differentiating their solutions to their markets. Many providers, from start-ups to established global corporations have difficulty seeing out from their own silos. A marketing partner with deep-industry expertise is often required to help them identify and execute on viable go-to-market approaches.

The opportunity cost of not getting it right…not getting a fair share of the pie. Georgia FinTech companies alone report >$72B annually. Obviously FinTech is a massive market, but the waters are often muddy. Our advice to FinTech players old and new: Get your share of revenue by doing deep due diligence with a connected partner who can help you get crystal clear with your marketing.

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So Many Payment Players – Good Graph!

The payments landscape has changed so much since I started covering it in 2011. I’ve seen many graphics with logos in quadrants, and they only represent a moment in time. But this one from BI Intelligence is not bad if you’re trying to understand established players as of mid 2016.

payments ecosystem infographic BI Intel

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Learn to Speak Payments – For a Minute

Published on LinkedIn September 15, 2016

speakingpaymentsThis McKinsey Mobile Payments Comparison is a great cheat sheet for people who speak payments – and those who want to. It’s a simple look at a complicated ecosystem that changes daily!

The highlighted areas represent apps that have the right approach in that category. Too bad one provider hasn’t put it all together yet. But just give them a minute!

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Moving, But Still Marketing

This blog contains years of reflections on my B2B Marketing career and the many changes that have occurred in the discipline. During that time, Marketing moved from art to science, from “arts-and-crafts” to a “seat at the table.” We made it happen, and there has been a lot to discuss in this forum.

Change is a constant. Back in 2011, blogs were it. All the thought leaders had one. Now my extensive LinkedIn network gives me a broader canvas and lots of sharp collaborators. The accumulated learnings we shared will still be here, but please look for my Leading With Content posts on LinkedIn.

Let’s stay in touch – we may be moving, but we’re always Marketing!  Lorena

Killer Content

Killer Content

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Let’s Recap, Then Move Marketing Forward

Over the last four years, we’ve covered a lot of topics in this blog, which is a reflection of the many changes going on in marketing and customer experience. Here are ten of the most popular posts:

  1. More Thoughts on Thought Leadership
  2. When Lightning Strikes – From Service Gaps to Loyalty
  3. When Customers Speak Out, Pay Attention or Watch Out
  4. Becoming a B2B Marketing Digital Native: Part 1 and Part 2
  5. Plotting Your Way To Super Loyalty
  6. The CMO as Change Agent
  7. Ten Steps To Marketing Relevance – Ready to Lead with Content?
  8. Content Marketing Case Studies: Vantiv and Convergys
  9. Transformational Marketing
  10. From CMO to CCO

When we started, many people (including myself) were speaking of Content Marketing, Customer Experience, and Loyalty as separate disciplines. Now they are blending and transforming as Marketers increasingly step up to lead customer engagement.

Last month Sanjay Dholakia, CMO for Marketo, wrote about The Rise of the Marketer. He called out several key trends from their Report on the topic:

  1. Marketing is shifting from a cost center to a revenue generator – and from arts & crafts to art & science
  2. Marketing will become the chief customer advocate in an organization
  3. Marketing is moving from an era of mass marketing to an era of engagement marketing

Sanjay goes on to say that, in order to stay in leadership stance, “Marketers need to embrace technology at a fundamentals level and leverage it to help them scale and talk to their customers with a singular purpose in mind: forming long-term, individualized, durable relationships.”

While looking back and recapping is useful for context, Marketers are more than ever needing to look forward. So let’s continue to transform our profession and lead the way on the customer engagement journey.

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From CMO to CCO

Recently Daniel Newman, contributing writer for Forbes, agreed with me.  That was probably not his intention, but his 1/13/15 op-ed, “CCO: Tying Together Technology, Marketing and Advocacy,” makes many of the same points I made in my “Transformational Marketing” blog last week.

For example, Dan and I agree that, “…the marketing department’s job has shifted from promoting what customers should buy to a much broader role: interacting with customers, engaging them, listening to them, creating better experiences for them, earning their trust, and building a relationship that leads to advocacy.

Dan goes further, saying, “Someone (a Chief Customer Officer) needs to be responsible for making sure that customers and employees are engaged in the organization and connected to communities and areas of the business where the goals of customer satisfaction and retention can be met.”

We diverge on who is best suited for the role of Chief Customer Officer. My belief is that Marketing has been leading the CXP charge, already uses tools that capture the most comprehensive view of customer interactions, and is in the strongest position to affect corporate messages and practices.  In many cases CMO’s are essentially serving as CCOs.  Corporations don’t need another C-level executive – they need to recognize and support the CXP efforts being led by Marketing.  Let that evolution continue!

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Transformational Marketing

As it often does, the New Year holiday and all the corresponding online retrospectives caused me to look back. I realized that my marketing career has coincided with several major waves of innovation.  Marketers started the century discussing one-to-one marketing and lifetime value, then moved to a focus on total customer experience and loyalty.  At the same time, an emphasis on direct marketing migrated into a more general focus on outbound marketing, enabled by the email platforms that were evolving.  Those systems in turn matured into today’s marketing automation systems with capabilities for analytics and nurturing.  The newsletters companies used to blast via email have today expanded into multi-channel, inbound content marketing programs.  And that change list doesn’t even touch on the new channel choices like social media and blogs!

All that change means today’s marketers  have to be well-informed, tech-savvy, and strategic.  No more arts and crafts.  We have to thinking about how all the tools, data and content can work together for optimal customer loyalty and corporate ROI.  At the same time, corporations have to understand and appreciate how all this can come together…adoption and support of new best practices is critical for proof of concept and continued evolution.

Earlier this week I spoke to a leading business outsourcing services firm that is moving to a total customer experience focus.  They see the Marketing function and all its new tools as a natural advocate and caretaker for the customer experience.  I love the concept.  In fact, I’ll take it a step further, and say that Marketing has the potential to become the intersection of customer experience  and corporate identity.  Instead of chest-thumping about market leadership, companies now have the opportunity to build relationships and reputations based on customer interactions.  By focusing on the customer, defining itself as a trusted advisor/partner, and using marketing & sales automation tools as integrated CXP platforms, companies can transform.

Creating that customer/company intersection sounds simple, but it takes vision, commitment – and organizational maturity to dismantle silos and resolve disconnects.  As the external/internal interface, Marketing is in the position to lead the way.  As I look forward fifteen years, I believe we will see many companies strategically adopting Transformational Marketing.  Are you ready?

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Ready to Lead with Content?

If you’re researching how a content marketing program can build your brand, generate demand for your solutions, and equip your sales force for consultative selling, read my 10-part series:

Then take a look at these case studies, which demonstrate how a content marketing program can be structured to take B2B marketing to a new, modern level.

When you’re ready to discuss how it can benefit your business, let’s talk:

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Content Marketing at Vantiv 2011-2014

After developing robust Content Marketing at ADP and Convergys, I developed my most successful thought leadership program for Vantiv.  Like the others, it centered around primary research on customer experience within the industry – in this case payments.  A thought leadership program builds the brand, positions the company as a “value-added” consultative provider, generates substantial inbound leads, and provides the sales team with substantive content for client/prospect conversations.

Vantiv Insights Series 2011-2014
Download Award-Winning Vantiv Insights White Papers 2014

In February 2012 I selected Mercator Advisory Group to help me conduct primary research on customer experience with payments in the U.S. We asked a representative sample of U.S. consumers about how they currently make payment at point of sale and how they expect to do so in the future. Based on this data we developed the Vantiv Insights Series, including quarterly campaigns and tools to help merchants and providers identify areas of opportunity in payments. All this information is available at Vantiv.com/research, with registration required so that Vantiv can nurture, collect and funnel leads to Sales.

Program Goals:
> Improve Vantiv’s brand awareness
> Position Vantiv as an industry thought leader
> Generate qualified leads and start client conversations that lead to contracts
> Provide the Sales force with high-quality content that becomes integral to the Sales process and corporate messaging

Each January we repeat the consumer research, reiterating some questions and asking about new trends.  In 2013 and 2014 we added additional research, surveying merchants about their payments needs and collecting data on how third-party providers serve them.  We also conduct in-depth qualitative interviews with industry executives to gauge how they interpret changes and trends.  The result is a 360o data-driven view of the payments ecosystem and how it is evolving.  The content developed from this research has proved to be valuable to Vantiv’s target markets, and the program is showing a 1000% ROI.

Key Campaigns:  

Vantiv MontageSelected Results From Vantiv Insights Series (Year 3)

  • Marketing Qualified Leads: 37,195 (biz users)
  • Total Successful Leads: 2,193 (completed form)
  • Newly Acquired: 903 (not invited–found us)
  • Total Opportunities: 1,576 (from MQL)
  • Revenue Pipeline Created: > $6M
  • Plus brand-building impacts from social media, PR and media coverage
  • *Not including all the Sales-generated opportunities in which Vantiv Insights content played a part (>$30M)
  • Average annual program costs = $600k with Revenue =>$6M* = 1000+% ROI

This program is repeatable and can be effective in any B2B industry. If you’re interested in learning more, let’s talk!  

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Content Marketing at Convergys 2007-2010

Content Marketing has been an area of significant focus in my roles since 2005. At ADP, Convergys, and Vantiv I developed successful thought leadership campaigns centered around primary research on customer experience within each industry.  A thought leadership program positions the company as a “value-added” consultative provider, serves as content for multi-channel marketing campaigns, and provides the sales team with substantive content for client/prospect conversations.

Convergys Scorecard Series 2007-2010
Download the award-winning Convergys 2010 Scorecard Series White Papers

At Convergys I led a thought leadership program designed around primary research on customer experience with contact centers.  By triangulating the perspectives of customers, employees, and companies we were able to identify trends and disconnects. Our annual primary research, the Scorecard Series, encompassed:

  • More than 3,000 large-company customers in the U.S. and U.K.
  • More than 1,500 large-company employees
  • More than 125 senior executives in
  • 9 key industries, including Financial Services, Telecom, and Technology

The surveys asked customers about recent experiences with large companies, then asked employees about the customer experiences they provided. Finally, executives were asked to evaluate how well they thought their companies delivered the experiences their customers expected.

Download Convergys 2009 Scorecard Series White Papers

The Convergys Scorecard Series provided decision makers with a unique view of the marketplace, how that marketplace was changing, and how they and their companies could respond. Some of the themes explored in the 2010 Scorecard Series webinars, white papers, and eNewsletters were as follows:

  • The New Recessionary Consumer
  • The Deepening Demographic Divide
  • Executive Perspectives on Customer Experience
  • Employee Perspectives on Customer Service
  • Understanding Loyalty  and Cultivating Super Loyalty

CVG Scorecard Samples

Selected Results From Convergys Scorecard Series (Year 3)

  • Lead Generation – Funneled >1000 qualified leads to the sales force in 2010
  • Revenue – Directly contributed to the signing of Microsoft, United Health Group and Dell contracts worth >$239M (TCV)
  • More than 200 industry-specific presentations of the research findings to clients and prospects, including: AT&T, Barclays, Bank of America, CIGNA, Cisco, Citi, Comcast, Dell, EMC, GE, Home Depot, Honda, Kroger, Lenovo, Microsoft, O2, Orange, Sprint, TWC, T-Mobile, UHG, and Wellpoint
  • More than 30 client-requested presentations of specific topics from the research findings, including:
    • Financial Services (Key Bank, HSBC and BofA)
    • Credit Cards (AmEx, Mastercard, Citi, and BarclayCard UK)
    • Technology (Microsoft, CISCO and Dell)
    • Satellite/Cable TV (C5 Cable Summit, T-Mobile and Comcast)
    • Healthcare (Walgreens)
  • Brand Enhancement – In addition to dozens of articles in national and trade publications, Convergys’ research was featured in prominent textbooks (Kotler) and in the Harvard Business Review.

This program is repeatable and can be effective in any B2B industry. If you’re interested in learning more, let’s talk!  

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Posted in B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Customer Behavior, Customer Experience, Customer Experience Research, Digital Marketing, Thought Leadership, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment