Financial technology, also known as fintech, is changing the way the financial world conducts business. The term fintech is used to describe two different types of companies; startups that are re-imaging financial services from the bottom up in a new and innovative way and firms that sell technology to traditional financial services firms, the incumbents, to help them transform and remain competitive.
For the first time, banking customers are being lured away by new non-banking entities in the market. These new competitors are entering the market from the tech and retail markets and understand the strategic importance of digital technologies and the culture that develops from using these technologies. They may not have banking experience but they can buy the experience they need from fledgling banks.
The perfect storm exists for disruption. There are new entrants in the market that are leapfrogging incumbents using technology. Incumbents know they need to transform but they are not sure of how to get there. Fintech vendors are bringing innovation to market that can help incumbents remain competitive but are having a hard time getting to the decision makers.
Incumbents now realize that the “we will do it in house” decision requires significantly more investment and takes considerably more time they previously planned. They now understand that they need to partner with fintech innovators. Start-ups that are re-imagining financial services are realizing the compliance and regulation complexity is more way more complicated than they had imagined and now understand they need to partner with established financial firms to help them navigate in this newly emerging world.
Partnering is the only way forward. The dance has begun.
You may have amazing technology but the way you position your firm and communicate with the industry could mean the difference between success and failure. Here are eight communication strategies that you need to use during this disruption.
- Speak the language – Financial services has their own language, culture and processes that are very different than the technology industry. Banks foster a formal corporate culture where every customer-facing employee is wearing a suit whereas technology companies foster a more casual environment where even the executives are wearing jeans and tee shirts. Fintech teams need a blend of people including those with banking and large corporate experience can help because they better understand business context as well as the cultural context of the technology they are providing.
- Know who is making and influencing the decisions – This can prove to be quite challenging. There is no one set of titles in every bank influencing the digital transformation. The decision maker could be part of the IT, operations, marketing, or even in the line of business. Spend the time to develop detailed personas of everyone that may need to see or influence your solution.
- Use public relations as a foundation – Earned media is considered the most trustworthy and the most impactful form of media at all stages of the customer journey. It demonstrates leadership and can take the form of news coverage, customer reviews, bylined articles, executive interviews, word-of-mouth references, and social media “likes,” shares, mentions, replies, and commentary. It is the quickest way to establish credibility and validate your solution.
- Connect with industry analysts and consultants – This is often overlooked and under appreciated by emerging fintech companies. But analyst firms like Gartner make most of their money through IT consulting engagements for large enterprises, include financial service companies. They work with vendors to understand how technology is evolving so that they can make educated recommendations to their enterprise clients.
- Win Awards – Winning awards is critical to establishing credibility. Submit for all types of awards including those sponsored by leading banking publications as well as technology innovation awards.
- Establish a social footprint – Many companies, particularly firms that are run by technologists, underestimate the power of social media. It takes a while to establish a social footprint but it will pay off as you use it to engage with your customers and amplify your message.
- Be visible: Engage in speaking and in-person events – Executives are always surprised at the response they get from speaking on leadership topics at events. In many cases, the speakers will be swarmed by potential customers and partners after they have completed their talk.
- Educate your market with content marketing – The biggest challenge within the financial services market is the lack of broad understand of technology. Fintech companies are the experts and need to take a leadership role in educating their target markets. This is accomplished by connecting with prospects at each stage of the customer journey with relevant and educational content. Blog posts, white papers, eBooks, videos, and graphics are used to educate your audience using social media channels, email and paid media tactics reach your audience.
Invest now in your communications and marketing strategies. It can make the difference between success and failure. If you need help and want more information, click below and someone will give you a call.