We often talk about the ‘digital revolution’ with an innate bias towards media consumption… how people are spending more time online or with mobile devices. What’s sometimes overlooked is the quiet(er) revolution in how other services are provided to consumers. Technology-driven products are beginning to overturn long-established industries, with the potential to complete disrupt entire sectors. This is happening in some areas faster than others, but we do wonder why there isn’t more noise about some of these transformations.
Companies in the Fintech sector, for instance, have the ability to challenge the banking monoliths that so many have come to resent over recent years. A new wave of service providers have emerged, offering completely new ways to manage finances: that actually reflect what consumers want, that exploit what the latest tech developments can offer and that don’t carry the same tarnished reputations as those big bad banks.
Fintech & Challenger Industries: Your revolution should be televised
At this stage, especially for those challengers still in their infancy, gaining any reputation is the first hurdle. Unless actively researching the industry, most consumers haven’t heard of these companies at all. Luddites won’t have had any exposure to their marketing, whilst younger digital natives may not have any particular interest in the subject matter. It’s understandable – the concepts they are based on don’t have obvious brand appeal and can be difficult to communicate. We’re not talking about entertainment, holidays or alcoholic drinks… we’re talking about mortgages, loans and savings apps. It’s not necessarily a very exciting prospect and communications can be further complicated by financial jargon and heavy regulation governing how such services can be explained. And because of that, the concepts involved aren’t readily proliferating on social media and the like. No matter how strong a ‘for the people, by the people’ explanation might be, if it’s not something those people are interested in talking about, then grass roots or community-led marketing efforts may not be particularly impactful.
What’s the solution to this? TV advertising, of course… that’s why we’re discussing it on a TV ad agency’s blog! There are some very clear reasons why this would put some serious momentum behind such brands. First and foremost, to be a challenger, such a company needs to confront its traditional competitor in a fairly upfront manner. It needs to step into the ring if it wants to initiate a challenge effectively. This requires a big brand-awareness push – if the likes of Circle, Monzo or Loot want to eat into the established customer base of Natwest, Lloyds or Barclays; they’ll need to do more than offer a superior service.
They need to get the message out there, to the broadest possible audience and, if they are to stave off other challengers in the same sector, in as short a time frame as possible. TV advertising is an obvious way to do this. We can understand that new, disruptive companies may perceive TV advertising as something for a previous generation – they are hard-wired to focus on the latest tech, and TV isn’t really that. But we’d still expect to see more TV ads for Fintech services. Ultimately, there’s no other way to quickly establish a brand on the scale required.
How Fintech Start-ups Can Establish Themselves As Reputable Brands
TV advertising is also a sensible choice when promoting a service that is delivered via mobile devices. We know from first hand experience that the synergy between DRTV campaigns and install-rates is particularly strong, with very little wastage in terms of ad spend. The target market for fintech is most likely to use multiple devices at the same time – and if there’s a mobile phone to hand when the ad broadcasts, not only is the call-to- action more viable, but the responses can also be very accurately measured. DRTV + mobile is a very good fit, so we’re surprised so few have attempted it on any significant scale. Being finance related, these fintech start-ups will have significant trust barriers to overcome before they can establish themselves as reputable brands. Consumers have been burned by their experiences with banks and lenders over the last few years, so trust is critical… and this is another area in which TV excels. It creates trust, fame and credibility. Digital products/services already require extra marketing efforts to give them a sense of something real and tangible – and that’s something that TV appearances can help consolidate.
Taking the position of ‘challenger’ inevitably puts these smaller companies up against bigger, longer established institutions. And that’s a significant challenge in itself. But compounding the issue further is the sheer number of potential challengers. It’s not just a select few embarking on this revolution – there are many. Some offer significantly different products or services, specialising in a single purpose; others compete on a more general basis, and overlap each other to a significant degree. This means the marketing challenge is to establish a new brand, whilst also achieving sufficient standout to be the one that consumers remember. Again… TV advertising has to be the most effective medium to meet that objective. So from a functional perspective, TV advertising is a sensible solution to the marketing objectives that Fintech challengers must meet. But it’s also important to consider the methodologies at play – Fintech operates in a data-rich environment, many will have to come to expect plentiful data to accompany any ad spend. On a similar note, these are small dynamic businesses who want to affect significant change, fast. Traditionally speaking, TV’s not the obvious solution to those particular issues. However, just as Fintech is challenging banks-of- old; there are also next-gen ad agencies making similar disruptive movements. They have the data, the insight and the agility required to meet Fintech’s needs. So TV campaigns can be measured, analysed and optimised to the same standards digital natives have become accustomed to.
Of course, there are plenty of exceptions. A considerable number of Fintech start-ups have more of a B2B focus – offering infrastructure to existing businesses. Others target niche, hard-to- reach audiences: like Monese’s convenient offering aimed largely at new immigrants to the UK. For these, TV advertising may be a less obvious solution. But for Fintech brands looking to put themselves in direct competition with high street banks, with mainstream audiences in mind, TV has to be where the smart money is.