With work from home becoming the norm for marketing communications firms during the current public health crisis, I appreciated that MassChallenge FinTech gave me an opportunity to try out this virtual event setup that’s becoming so popular! I was invited to participate in a marketing panel as part of MCFT’s annual Refuel event.
MCFT is an accelerator for fintech startups, so the discussion was oriented toward its 2020 cohort of mostly Seed and Series A fintechs. One thing that resonated clearly in the discussion was no matter what size or stage the company, there are some key principles of marketing that ring true for most fintech, insurtech and proptech companies.
Always Be Thoughtful About Your Messaging
Marketers always need to be aware of current events and how their messaging may be perceived, but the last few weeks have provided a strong reminder of this fact.
In today’s environment, almost anything can be considered tone deaf. Think twice and consider a second or even third opinion before you publish that blog post or shout about a product launch on social media — now may not be the best time. Your audience may not be ready or able to hear it in a way that’s beneficial for you or for them.
In that vein, now is the time to stay as close to your clients as possible. Be highly attuned to what they need from you. Not only can this help you avoid messaging mishaps, but it can inform how you allocate your marketing dollars.
Focus Your Marketing on Telling the Brand’s Story and Accelerating Revenue
Your head of marketing wears many hats. The analogy I like to use is to think of marketing and communications as a puzzle — digital, PR, content, social and internal communications are just a few of the many pieces in the bigger picture.
But focusing too much on one piece means neglecting the many other important pieces at play. To stay focused, remember that, at the end of the day, marketing has two priorities: telling stories externally and internally, and accelerating revenue.
When you make decisions about your marketing and communications efforts through that lens, you’re more likely to remain focused on the marketing strategy rather than chase individual tactics. Plus, this focus allows you to determine the key performance indicators that will help you determine the effectiveness of the tactics — or the individual puzzle pieces — you apply.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Partnerships for Your Fintech
Partnerships are an excellent opportunity for aligning your brand with well-established, well-known players in the fintech ecosystem. These partnerships can be a way to accelerate awareness of your own brand, and it usually makes sense to broadly communicate this good news.
But what about when you’re in a whitelabel situation, when the terms of your partnership prevent you from sharing the name of your partner?
We’ve encountered this situation with several clients over the years. In our experience, these are the times to think creatively about how to tell the story so it shows a benefit to your company, your partner and your clients. Case studies or even conversations with a specific journalist can be ways to navigate with your partner so you both reap the benefits of telling the story — of course make sure these tactics are approved by your partner in advance.
Know When You’re Ready for an External Marketing Communications Partner
You might think that a marketing communications firm like ours would say that hiring an external partner is always the right move. But, in our 10 years of experience working with fintech and financial services companies, we know that there are right times and reasons to bring on an external partner and there are, well, wrong times to do just that.
We often see fintechs lean on external marketing communications partners when they are at the earlier stages of growth. This allows the key business leaders to focus on the business strategy and scaling. Once scale has been achieved at a certain level, that’s when we start to see companies bring on someone to run marketing who then manages PR, social and other agencies as the internal source of truth for all marketing efforts.
No matter what the size, companies look to agencies as an external partner that can offer advice based on what they are seeing in the markets and across other clients in similar spaces. Since agencies work with a number of brands, they provide a good gut-check on how other clients have tackled similar challenges in the past.
Extra Credit: Keep Your Team Engaged With Your Story
A bonus takeaway from the Refuel event came by way of MassChallenge FinTech leading by example: How you communicate with stakeholders within your organization can’t be neglected, especially during times of uncertainty.
MCFT demonstrated flexibility and adaptability in finding an engaging format when shifting their annual event to a virtual format. Keeping your team connected to each other and to your company’s story goes a long way in maintaining morale.
A big thanks to my fellow panelists, Allison MacLeod of Flywire, Josh Walovitch of Ideometry, and our moderator, Sarah Fay of Glasswing Ventures!
If any of these suggestions resonated with you, let’s talk. Send us an email to schedule a 15-minute introduction, so we can learn more about your business.