Fintech in the UK is transforming financial services, both for consumers and in the B2B space. The sector currently contributes approximately £11bn to the UK economy and more than 76,000 jobs, with the Covid-19 pandemic likely to have accelerated growth in recent years.
With something like financial services, where consumers and businesses alike are understandably sometimes sceptical or resistant to change, adoption can sometimes be slow, so communications and marketing in this space is of huge importance. It’s not just brand and product awareness that marketing aims to increase, there are often key educational factors too, where fintech requires people to actually change how they do some things that may be lifetime habits, and that isn’t always an easy sell!
In this blog, we take a look at examples of fintech marketing trends and campaigns that have made a real impact on their target audience and the fintech market, then explore what we might be able to learn from them.
Starling Bank – Set yourself free/Set your business free
Starling Bank, the fast-growing challenger banking brand, has had several really strong and successful marketing campaigns over the past few years, but we’ll focus on their ‘Set yourself free’ campaign, launched in 2021, and followed by ‘Set your business free’ in 2022.
The reason for choosing these connected campaigns is because they successfully hit both the consumer audience and SMEs, which make up a large proportion of their customer base.
Starling has been using the ‘flying’ analogy since their early days in their marketing and communications, so it’s no surprise to see flying to symbolise ‘freedom’ again in these campaigns, in the context of a common complaint or issue relevant to that specific audience.
The customer standing in a long queue at a bank, signifying wasting time and inconvenience, which are problems that the fintech brand claim to solve.
Then in a small business context, where a painter and decorator, a dog groomer and an entrepreneur are ‘set free’ by award-winning Starling because of their account with no monthly fees and free UK bank transfers.
This mobile-only banking solution might lack the long-established trust built up with high street banks, but as a challenger brand, aiming at both consumer and business customers, their marketing messages do cut through and show why they are different. Small businesses have been underserved by traditional banks for a long time, with monthly charges common, along with fees for carrying out most regular business banking activities. Starling choosing to celebrate their lack of physical branches might be bold, but it seems to be working! By the end of 2022, Starling Bank surpassed half a million business customers, holding an 8.9% market share (up from 5.6% in 2021), which is huge for such a new company (established in 2014) in a sector that is notoriously tough to break into.
ManyPets UK – Pets care for us
Insurance isn’t very exciting for most people, but when you introduce some cute animals into the mix, it instantly lends itself much more to marketing. ManyPets (formerly Bought By Many) is known for being a bit of an interrupter to the pet insurance landscape, by offering digital solutions and assistance for pet owners, including free video vet calls, as well as offering some product features not often found in the sector, such as cover for pre-existing conditions. In the summer of 2022, they launched a campaign across multiple platforms (on and offline) that was all about pets being therapy for us humans.
There was a range of TV ads showing a person on the therapist’s couch and a pet doing very little from their chair (i.e. just being themselves) and still helping make things a little better.
They also surveyed customers to generate data to support the campaign, but wisely (given the small sample size), pitched it as ‘our customers think XXX’ rather than trying to pass it off as strong data.
Giving names, doggy faces and therapeutic attributes to pets also formed part of their marketing activity, such as this Facebook post. Anthropomorphising as a marketing tactic is nothing new, but this plays nicely into what many pet owners already think about their furry friends. Pets are part of the family after all.
This campaigns wasn’t 100% online though. Bus shelter ads and other transport ad types were used to grab attention for those busy commuters going back to the office and missing their pets after so much time spent at home with them in recent years.
This campaign works because it confirms to lots of pet owners what they already know; their lives are richer, mentally as well as physically, for having pets as part of it. A pet insurance brand telling us that they understand this is likely to be very appealing to pet owners when insurance renewal time comes around or if they get a new furry addition to the family. All of this without any talk of product features or benefits – it’s aiming for a heart decision as much as a head decision, which is unusual in financial services.
PensionBee – Believe in the Bee
Pensions aren’t the most exciting subject matter for most people, so PensionBee do have a bit of a challenge on their hands with their marketing strategy. However, the power of the pun is strong when it comes to marketing, which really helps! Whoever named this fintech brand definitely knew what they were doing!
Believe in the Bee was a 2022 campaign that included a cameo from Brentford Football Club (AKA The Bees), that went out across TV and social media. Their ads include a variety of different people at a range of life stages, signifying that their product is for everyone; certainly not just those near retirement age. There is a definite slant towards a younger audience. There is also a significant educational angle to the messaging, because pensions can feel like a daunting topic and PensionBee think that they provide the answer to this with their digital solution.
This campaign does an excellent job at including some of the key information without going overboard, such as mentioning the fossil fuel-free pension option, making it clear that money can’t be withdrawn by the under 55s and stressing the convenience of everything being online. While it doesn’t exactly change the world, it’s a campaign that certainly ticks plenty of boxes in terms of effective communication around what can be a complex subject and that is something essential when it comes to brands in the fintech sector.
Marketing strategies for fintech companies
With the UK fintech industry expected to double in size by 2030, an increasingly crowded marketplace will mean that brands in this space will have to be even more clever when it comes to their content marketing strategies, SEO and Digital PR campaigns.
Video content and TV have featured strongly in these examples and we would expect that to only increase in the future, because videos explain through sound and visuals at the same time, which is important in topics that benefit from being broken down into more manageable chunks of information.
With so much more growth on the horizon for fintech brands in the UK, we’re excited to see where marketing in this industry goes over the coming years.
If you’re a fintech brand looking for digital marketing support to take your business to the next level, our team of proven experts would love to hear from you. Get in touch using the form below.