September 15, 2021
Financial technology is all around us, from the everyday apps that store our credit card information to payment platforms like Venmo and PayPal, and banking apps that enable deposits, withdrawals, and late-night budget checks. Even though most consumers are already accustomed to the concept of financial technology, the term “fintech” represents a whole new — and somewhat intimidating — category. That means fintech marketing campaigns have to assuage those concerns and educate consumers about the unicorn apps that herald the future of money.
In 2019, even before the COVID-19 pandemic pushed consumers’ lives online, Ernst & Young reported that fintech adoption was up to 64% globally. It’s expected that 65% of Americans will use digital banking tools by 2022. As consumers become more and more familiar with the ease and convenience that fintech provides, the floodgates will continue to open for challenger banks and disruptive apps that aim to upend the financial status quo.
In this article, we’ll explore three of the best fintech marketing campaigns of all time. Studying each company to carve out their niche in the fintech market will remind us of how brands can win even the most uphill battles.
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Canadian online investment management company Wealthsimple has poured significant investment into its content marketing strategy. For example, Wealthsimple Magazine, the fintech’s digital publication, covers global financial topics from cryptocurrency news to NFT releases, offers advice in an “Ask Lizzy” column, and provides helpful step-by-step explainers in a series called “Finance for Humans”.
One of the most important ingredients in this marketing recipe is relatability; from the magazine to the newly-launched podcast, all of Wealthsimple’s marketing content is focused on revealing personal stories that spotlight the profound humanity inherent in most people’s relationships with money. “Money is weird!”, Wealthsimple seems to say, clearly implying, “and we can help you with that.”
Wealthsimple’s “Money Diaries” campaign series features interviews with successful creative folks about their journeys with money and investing. Back in 2018, Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris directed a series of documentary-style Money Diaries videos in which actors including Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, and Brian Tyree Henry reveal the low points and tough times that paved the way to their big breaks.
They also discuss their fraught relationships with money, how their families taught them (or didn’t) about managing their finances, and what has changed for them since they started earning big bucks. Wealthsimple uses the campaign to further humanize common concerns among its millennial audience, normalizing the experience by suggesting that successful people share the same worries and habits as they do.
Want to learn more about the unique challenges of fintech? Check out Fintech Marketing: The Ultimate Guide.
Swedish fintech Klarna offers a mobile app that allows consumers to split payment for any number of purchases into four interest-free installments. One of the driving forces behind the company’s marketing strategy is its influencer and celebrity partnerships. Many of Klarna’s campaigns are targeted for the Swedish audience, including an MTV Cribs-style series of local Swedish stars showing off their homes. But others strike a perfect balance between celebrity caché and out-there branding.
When Snoop Dogg joined Klarna as a minor shareholder, the company launched a fintech marketing campaign for the ages. With Klarna’s blessing (and on-brand pink veneer), Snoop Dogg realized his transformation into Smoooth Dogg and became the face of the company’s “Smoooth” payments campaign. Beauty influencer Bretman Rock showed off the gender-bending attitude that made him famous in a saucy Klarna holiday campaign, and Celeste Barber put her trademark comedy spin on a talk show theme for the “I wish I’d bought it with Klarna” campaign.
Perhaps the most outstanding celebrity appearance in a Klarna campaign goes to Maya Rudolph in the company’s 2021 Super Bowl ad. In the appropriately titled “The Four Quarter-Sized Cowboys” campaign, four tiny Rudolphs ride four tiny horses through a dusty old West town toward a sparkly pair of pink cowboy boots. They share the cost of the boots between them, and each tiny Rudolph whips out a mobile phone to make one of four tiny payments. The concept is wild, the imagery is weird, but the campaign is a successful — and somewhat literal — demonstration of Klarna’s buy-now-pay-later offering. Through its many celebrity-filled campaign successes, Klarna shows that even though influencer marketing can be expensive, when paired with powerful branding principles, the investment pays off.
One of the obvious differentiators for fintech companies is the challenge they pose to traditional banking. Even when it’s not an explicit part of their marketing message, many fintechs position themselves as some kind of anti-bank, or at the very least, a new way to bank. In early 2021, Current, a mobile banking app, made the connection between easily moving money around and the best way to move New Yorkers around: the NYC subway.
For months, Current’s “What Do You Think We Are, A Bank?” campaign was plastered across subway cars with pitch perfect criticisms of traditional banking. “Banks: we’re here for you,” reads one campaign ad. “Also banks: you owe us money for running out of money.” Educating consumers about fintechs may be steep hill to climb, but convincing the general public that traditional banks don’t have their best interests at heart is considerably easier. Current’s campaign highlighted banking’s most frustrating issues with meme-friendly language, pandemic sensitivity, and a healthy dose of shade.
Bringing up the pandemic wasn’t just a marketing ploy either; thanks to its proprietary ledger technology, Current was one of the first fintech services to get 2020 stimulus payments into people’s pockets. Once Current realized that many of its users were part of the newly classified category of essential workers, the company set out to create a fintech marketing campaign that would spotlight its challenger status while giving voice to real working people’s problems.
Wealthsimple, Klarna, and Current are very different companies serving distinct audiences, but they each found unique ways to create memorable fintech marketing campaigns. All three companies combined powerful branding with a unique creative strategy, and paired a deep understanding of consumers’ needs with pertinent product highlights. Their bold, somewhat outrageous ad choices were bolstered by their fundamental understanding of what they offer consumers.
Take inspiration from these campaigns to identify what makes your business one-of-a-kind. MOLOCO can help with everything else — from dynamic ad creative to transparent e-commerce marketing software. Get in touch today to learn how we can take your campaigns to the next level.
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